Gary Player urges US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick to avoid ‘poison’ of modern-day coaching

Player believes US Open champion Fitzpatrick can learn from the mistakes of recent major winners

Fitzpatrick: I can retire a happy man tomorrow

Nine-time major winner Gary Player has urged new US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick not to change his game in the wake of his major breakthrough as others who have “can’t play any more”.

The outspoken 86-year-old claims there are at least a dozen recent major winners who have no chance of being successful on the biggest stage again as they have been “poisoned” by modern-day coaching methods in an attempt to get to the next level.

Player highlighted Bryson DeChambeau, who has been pushing the boundaries of distance off the tee, winning just once on the PGA Tour since his 2020 US Open victory.

DeChambeau has not been close to contending in a major of late and has subsequently thrown his lot in with the breakaway LIV Golf Series.

There have been 14 different winners of the last 15 majors but of the nine registering maiden victories only one – defending Open champion Collin Morikawa – managed to add a second title.

“We are going through a very interesting stage in golf now,” Player told the PA news agency. “There must be 12 major championship winners that can’t play any more. This never happened in the history of golf.

“The teaching today is the worst it has ever been and yet they have all the technology in the world.

“There are at least 12 guys who won one or two majors and, as soon as they win, for some unknown reason they go and have lessons from people who have never been in the arena and don’t know what they are talking about but are great salesmen.

“Teachers today are very good for members and juniors but when it comes to teaching a player on the tour you have to know what you are doing and most of those who are teaching have flat-ruined careers.”

There must be 12 major championship winners that can't play any more. This never happened in the history of golf

Gary Player on standards in the sport

Player’s advice to Fitzpatrick, who is incredibly self-analytical to the point of taking notes of every shot he plays, was: “Don’t see a soul. Stay away from them, absolutely.

“A lot of what they are teaching players today is such rubbish. The stuff they are teaching is poison, no wonder these guys can’t play any more. It’s very sad to see.”

Over the last 15 majors only Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, last month’s US PGA champion Justin Thomas and Morikawa managed to add to their existing haul.

Fitzpatrick has set himself the target of emulating fellow Englishman Sir Nick Faldo in getting to six but Player thinks that will be a tough ask even in an era lacking what he believes are genuine “superstars”.

“Yes, it’s possible but highly unlikely he will match Nick Faldo’s record but you have to have that dream,” added the South African, who to celebrate next month’s 150th Open Championship at St Andrews is touring schools, golf clubs and HSBC branches with the Claret Jug.

“It’s no more difficult to win nowadays than it was many years ago. You think the players are as good as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Raymond Floyd? No I don’t think they are as good.

“No one who plays today is anywhere near as good as Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan or Sam Snead. There is no one who is dominating and it’s the first time I can remember you can’t pick three players and say: ‘They are the three best players’.

“You get a guy like DeChambeau coming along and getting people excited winning the US Open and then peters off. It’s quite exciting but it shows there is no one who is dominating.”

Gary Player is supporting The 150th Open Championship Claret Jug Tour, in partnership with HSBC UK. For more information visit TheOpen.com and follow @TheOpen and @HSBC_UK. Fans can now enter the ticket ballot for The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool with results announced by the end of September. To enter the ballot fans must be a member of the free-to-join The One Club membership programme

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