Ryder Cup qualification the aim for Matt Fitzpatrick ahead of Dubai defence

14 November 2017 10:24

Matt Fitzpatrick is targeting a second Ryder Cup appearance in Paris next year and already has clear ideas of how to ensure the result will be entirely different.

Fitzpatrick, who will defend his DP World Tour Championship title in Dubai this week, was part of the team beaten 17-11 at Hazeltine in 2016, Europe's first defeat since 2008.

The 23-year-old was one of six rookies in Darren Clarke's side and did not win a point from his two matches, losing in the Saturday foursomes alongside Open champion Henrik Stenson and against two-time major winner Zach Johnson in the singles.

And the world number 31 feels he will need to play more at Le Golf National in 2018 to be able to contribute effectively to Europe's bid to regain the trophy under captain Thomas Bjorn.

"My goal is to make the team, basically. That is my main aim of the year," Fitzpatrick said.

"W ithin that I'll be playing a little bit in the States as well and if I happen to pick up enough points for a (PGA Tour) card, I'll probably take it up the year after. But mainly just focus on Europe, play well over here.

"W ith the new Rolex Series, it's something that's exciting and it's done a great job this year. I think that's the good thing about playing in Europe now, you've got these big events that carry big world ranking points and it's where you want to be."

Speaking about Hazeltine, Fitzpatrick added: " I think the big thing I did learn was that I feel like I've got to play a fourball game. I feel like you've got to play your own ball before you play on Sunday so you have a feeling of what it's like to hole out from five, six foot for the half or for the win, whatever it might be.

" I just think it gives you a bit more confidence playing the golf course. I played one foursomes game last year and you're hitting half the shots, not even that - it didn't really feel like you're hitting any shots at all.

"So there's never any momentum to your game and you turn up Sunday and you almost don't really know what's going on in a way. You almost don't know where you're hitting it because you've never played the golf course other than in practise. We all know practise is nothing like the real thing."

Bjorn feels none of the six rookies at Hazeltine will be "scarred" by the experience and Fitzpatrick, who currently occupies one of the automatic qualifying places following his victory in the Omega European Masters, is in agreement.

"Without being rude, I barely played," he added. " I don't think I played enough to really have made it make an impact on me personally. I don't know about the other guys, but I'd love the chance obviously to make the team and play again next year."

Source: PA