Matt Fitzpatrick channeled Jack Nicklaus with change to irons
Matt Fitzpatrick appears to be picking up right where he left off last year.
The 2022 PGA Tour season was the most successful of his career. Not only did Fitzpatrick win his first major at the U.S. Open, he also posted 10 total top-10 finishes and banked more than $7 million in winnings.
And at this week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Maui, Fitzpatrick is tied for second through three rounds at 18 under par. Should he finish solo second on Sunday afternoon, he’ll come away with a cool $1.5 million.
After firing a third-round 66 on Saturday, Fitzpatrick talked about an intriguing change he made to his gear — a distinction he now shares with golf’s GOAT, Jack Nicklaus.
“I think my changes to my irons has been a positive one,” Fitzpatrick said. “We kind of put weights in the grip to make them a little bit more fade biased, which has felt a little bit more comfortable out there.”
Fitzpatrick estimated that he added about eight grams, and possibly a bit more, to his irons — a move condoned by Nicklaus himself.
“I actually spoke to Mr. Nicklaus about it because someone told me he did it,” Fitzpatrick said. “I asked him and, yeah, we sort of had a quick chat about it on why he did it and stuff.”
Fitzpatrick, a native of England who now calls Jupiter, Fla., home, revealed that he’s enjoyed plenty of face time with Nicklaus over the past year.
“I spent a lot of time with [Nicklaus]. Particularly January of last year,” Fitzpatrick said. “I had the whole of January off so I was practicing at the Bear’s Club. I ended up having lunch with him three or four occasions and we were just chatting about life and golf and stuff. For me growing up it’s a dream to be able to talk to someone like that, let alone one of the greatest if not the greatest to play the game.”
As for the reasoning behind the iron modifications, Fitzpatrick said that Nicklaus offered words of wisdom on that front, too.
“[Nicklaus] just said that he did it because it just stopped his hands over rotating it,” Fitzpatrick said. “It obviously kept them, in my terms I guess it would be felt more held off. So I think that’s obviously what suited him.”
Sounds like the change is suiting Fitzpatrick too. He tees off in the final pairing at the Sentry Tournament of Champions on Sunday alongside Collin Morikawa at 3:40 p.m. ET.