PGA Championship leader Matt Fitzpatrick takes aim at Bryson DeChambeau: 'He's just taking the skill out of it'
Matt Fitzpatrick of England runs over the fifth green in the second round of the 120th US Open Championship - Getty Images -
Matt Fitzpatrick produced an inspired short-game performance to top the leaderboard here at the BMW PGA Championship halfway before targeting the long-game revolution sparked by Bryson DeChambeau. "It's a bit of a mockery of golf," he said while calling on the game's governing bodies to put regulations in place to ensure the ball doesn't travel that far.
It's fair to say the friendly young Englishman didn't hold back when asked about DeChambeau's over 360-yard drives, which have become a central topic of conversation in sport. At the US Open three weeks ago, the American overpowered Winged Foot to go to his first major, and at this week's PGA Tour event in Las Vegas - the Shiners Open - he almost destroyed the house with a 59 in the Pro am and a 62 on the first round.
In seventh place from 381 yards at TPC Summerlin, the world number 6 was the first player to hit the green in the competition. Unbelievable for some, depressing for others.
"I'm tired of hearing about it, tired of reading it, tired of everyone talking about it," said Fitzpatrick. “I'm biased because I'm not quite the longest, and Winged Foot, fair play for him, won and shot 6-under. But the fairways were tight as hell and I drove them brilliantly ... it's rough and miles wide and only hits wedges everywhere.
"I was looking at ShotTracker yesterday, some of the places it hit it, and it cuts off ... if it's on there's no point, right? It doesn't matter if I do my best, he'll be 50 yards off the tee and you know the only thing I can compete with him is putting. And that's just ridiculous. "
DeChambeau was installed as a favorite for next month's Masters and it will be exciting to see if he re-submits the rest and if the R&A and US Golf Association finally go ahead with their proposal to reset the golf ball.
"I really hope they do," said Fitzpatrick, World No. 20. "In my opinion, it's not a skill to hit the ball far. I could put on 40 pounds and see a biomechanic and I could put on 40 yards. It is a fact. But the ability is to hit the ball straight. That is the ability. It just takes out the ability. I am sure that many will disagree. It's just stupid. "
At 5ft 8lb and 11st, Fitzpatrick stated he wasn't emulating DeChambeau and building himself up because "it's not good for your back". "He's probably going to tell me otherwise ... but your back hasn't been twisted as much as we were," he added. "All of that stuff will take its toll at some point."
The 26-year-old clearly has a beef, but in fairness his mood wasn't improved by a double bogey on his last hole (the eighth) when he found the water with an eight-iron on the eighth. After getting out of the bunker for a birdied on the third and then watching his chip and running for an eagle on the fourth - "I don't think I've had chip-ins since I was ten." - He needed a birdie on this par 4 for a course record of 62.
As it was, Fitzpatrick had to settle for a 65 to sit next to Shane Lowry on 12-under. The Open Champion also shot a 65 and the pair are one shot clear of another Englishman Tyrrell Hatton (67), while Frenchman Victor Perez (66) is two down in fourth place.
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