The Masters 2014: Matt Fitzpatrick aiming to make the cut at Augusta but could miss out on his beloved Sheffield United's FA Cup semi-final
Fitzpatrick has been invited to Wembley for the final by US Open winner Justin Rose should the Blades make the FA Cup final
Wednesday 09 April 2014
Sheffield United fan Matt Fitzpatrick will be gutted to miss his team's FA Cup semi-final if he makes the cut on his US Masters debut this weekend.
But the 19-year-old can console himself with a trip to Wembley for the final if the Blades beat Hull on Sunday, all thanks to one of his new group of world-famous friends.
"I've been kindly invited, if they make it to the final, by Justin Rose," Fitzpatrick told his pre-tournament press conference. "Hopefully I'll be able to take him up on that, but we'll see."
Fitzpatrick insists he has not been looking up flight schedules for Saturday morning in case he does miss the cut - "My dad's done it as a joke" he said - and is focusing on making the most of an amazing experience.
As well as playing with US Open champion Rose 10 days ago, the teenager was invited to practice with former world number one Rory McIlroy on Tuesday and, as US Amateur champion, will partner defending champion Adam Scott and US PGA champion Jason Dufner in the first two rounds.
"I don't think there is anything more amazing," said Fitzpatrick, who was the leading amateur in the Open at Muirfield last year before becoming the first English winner of the US Amateur since 1911 a month later. "The course and the place itself is just fantastic. There's nowhere in the world like it.
"Playing with Rory at 9:15 in the morning the crowd was massive, that was something new in a practice round for me, and to play with one of the best golfers in the world is incredible.
"He was such a nice guy, I couldn't speak more highly about him. He was really helpful and would answer any questions I would ask him. His caddie asked if I want to play with him and it was a "yes" straightaway.
"The main thing he said to me was make sure you enjoy it. He said it's tough not to get too caught up in everything, but you've just got to look around and put things into perspective and see where you actually are and just enjoy your time. For me, this could be once-in-a-lifetime so I've got to enjoy it while I can.
"Certainly I can't say I'm looking to feel like I can win it, not playing with the guys I played with today, anyway! My aim is to just make the cut and push on from there really."
Playing partner Scott has loftier ambitions as he looks to become only the fourth player to win back-to-back Masters titles, but the Australian can still remember being in Fitzpatrick's shoes.
"For me, I got to play my first two rounds ever with Fuzzy Zoeller in the tournament, so he was whistling (walking) off the first tee," Scott joked. "I wasn't quite sure what to make of it, but it was certainly a little more light-hearted than I thought.
"Unfortunately for Matthew, I'm not going to be whistling off the first tee so he'll have to find another way to calm down. I think he's just got to enjoy the experience and hopefully it inspires him to keep working hard and come back many, many times."
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