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AUSTIN, Texas — Don’t expect to see a Matt Fitzpatrick training montage with the world’s 15th-ranked golfer pulling a sled, chopping wood, or climbing the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in anticipation of a bout with golf’s most prolific weightlifter. At least not any time soon.
In fact, five months after Fitzpatrick made comments on how Bryson DeChambeau’s body transformation and commitment to length was making a “mockery” of the game, the two have apparently patched things up. On Monday, Fitzpatrick, who’s in Austin for this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, tweeted out a picture of himself with DeChambeau with the note “Getting some tips.”
When asked about the picture in advance of Wednesday’s opening round, the English golfer (and current Florida resident) said the two have communicated on numerous occasions and there’s no bad blood.
“We hate each other. It’s a really nasty thing between us,” Fitzpatrick joked about his relationship with DeChambeau. “No, it’s fine. Listen, we spoke a few times since the whole thing anyway and I made my comments, and that was my opinion at the time. I think they were definitely taken out of context, there’s no doubt about that. We talked about it since, we talked about it (Monday), and there’s no problems between us. It’s obviously just a bit of a media thing that kind of people want it to turn into something.
“But, yeah, I wouldn’t fancy my chances in a fight, anyway.”
That’s in contrast to Fitzpatrick’s October comments, in which he called out DeChambeau’s distance gains, insisting that anyone can add muscle mass or add length to their driver.
“I could put another two inches on my driver. I could gain that, but the skill in my opinion is to hit the ball straight. That’s the skill, he’s just taking the skill out of it in my opinion. I’m sure lots will disagree. It’s just daft,” Fitzpatrick said in October.
Those comments came soon after DeChambeau won his first major — the U.S. Open at Winged Foot. DeChambeau, who has since dropped 10 pounds, was also victorious at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick — who has played well himself, finishing no worse than tied for 11th in four PGA Tour starts this calendar year — is hoping a little extra distance off the tee could be the key ingredient to taking his game to the next level. His driving distance currently ranks 183rd on the PGA Tour, although he’s in the top 50 in driving accuracy percentage.
Who better to ask for some tips than DeChambeau, who has maintained his accuracy through his distance gains?
“I was just asking him about his clubs and his speed training and stuff and I’ve been doing something similar and looking into it anyways before my comments that I made last year, so it’s nothing too new to me,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s just quite interesting just to hear his thoughts and how he’s going about things to improve his swing speed and get longer.”
Fitzpatrick is making his fifth appearance at the Dell Match Play at Austin Country Club, but he hasn’t fared as well as he’d like. Coming on the heels of a top-10 finish at the Players Championship, however, he thinks the timing could be right for a breakthrough. He opens round-robin play on Wednesday with Jordan Spieth (12:42 p.m. ET), and then will square off with Corey Conners on Thursday.
“I’m looking forward to the week. I have not really had too much success here, unfortunately. It’s a strange golf course; the front nine’s very different to the back nine. And it can get windy here, so it can be quite tough. So yeah, it’s going to be an interesting week,” Fitzpatrick said.
“I feel like I’ve been playing well recently, so hopefully, I’ll just bring it to this course and improve on previous years’ finishes.”