Hello. This is Kevin Donahue with Protiviti, welcoming you to a new edition of Powerful Insights. On our recent live global webinar, Lindsay Dart, Managing Director of Protiviti UK, and David Thomas, Vice President of Protiviti UK Managed Services, had a great chat with Protiviti brand ambassador and PGA Tour member, Matt Fitzpatrick. Matt, a British golfer who just completed his first season on the tour, did exceptionally well qualifying for the FedEx Cup Playoffs and also advanced to the BMW Championship. His record for the year included five Top 10s and he impressively made the cut in 12 of his 15 starts. In this conversation, Matt talks about his game, being a professional athlete during our lockdown, how he prepares for various tournaments, advice for amateur golfers, and why he decided to become a brand ambassador for Protiviti.
He joined a fellow golfer, Jennifer Kupcho, as a brand ambassador for us, representing our values of innovation, inclusion, and integrity. I’m pleased to be joined as emcee today by my colleague, Dave Thomas. I have to confess, Matt, that I promised Dave that I wouldn’t mention he’s actually a professional golfer as well. I think he’s only on the Euro Pro Tour, is that right in the European Tour, Dave?
He has now found his true calling with Protiviti and he leads our Managed Services business in Wales and the southwest.
There you go.
I think going to Protiviti. There you go.
I like it.
Yes. Thank you.
No, thank you. Thanks for having me.
So, Matt, a rather unusual year for all of us.
Just a little bit!
Yes. Professional golf, no different. Can you tell us a little bit about what you did during lockdown?
Not a lot. Yes, not a lot. For me, I came home from the Players Championship on a Monday. I think I flew home Monday after the Players. I was basically home for about four days when all tournaments were cancelled. Everything was done basically and then I was at home for about four days and then UK officially went into full lockdown. So then, it was like, “Right. What do I do from here, really?” I managed to get a net to hit into in the back garden. I already had a mat and balls, obviously, but I got that set up, and away I went. For the first two weeks, it was great because it was new. It was like a novelty and new in hitting shots into in a net. And then after about two weeks, I got fed up. Even though it was only 10 yards away to my back garden to hit balls, sometimes I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was hitting the ball flight two yards. I didn’t know anything really. So yes, it was very, very strange.
From your point of view, what was the best bit about quarantine, would you say? Were the any positives?
The best bit about quarantine was not having to go out and travel, to be honest, after doing it throughout the last five years. Don’t get me wrong. I actually love it, but it was actually a nice break to just not have to go to an airport and everything was kind of a nice reset, to be honest. I feel like I have won. I know I’m very lucky to do what I do, but to have a reset in this way, it’s obviously not ideal, but at the same time, I didn’t feel like it was the end of the world, really.
How much time do you spend away from home on tour?
I think I probably play about 30 – no, probably about 27 to 30 weeks a year. This year, obviously, quite a few less just because of tournaments shut through lockdown, or cancelled, and not so reorganized. I’ll be away for 30 weeks a year playing tournaments and then just a few extra weeks, probably three to four extra weeks away, just either from traveling or various bits and bumps, really.
Yes. I think you returned to the PGA Tour in the middle of June?
What’s it been like back on tour?
It’s been strange. Obviously, having no fans, it’s very unusual. There’s no atmosphere of tournaments. You make a putt of 30 feet and it’s a little bit flat. It has been very strange, but at the same time, it’s just been great to get back playing again. This is actually my first week back on the European Tour since January because mainly, I’ve been playing in States. The setup here is a little bit different. It’s a little bit stricter in terms of what we can and can’t do. I’m fortunate enough to stay on site this week. I can just get up and move. It’s a hotel golf course anyway, but there are some people staying in Edinburgh 45 minutes away and once they get to the hotel, they can’t leave. Yes, it’s not ideal.
Yes. Because I think during the UK Swing, there were some that really struggled with it.
There was, yes. It is understandable. I do get it. From my side, I’m not trying to be rude to those people, but I don’t have a family yet. I’m still pretty young, but I think you kind of know what you signed up for once you enter. I don’t know. I feel like that the guys knew kind of what they were getting into really, but I can understand that it’s very, very strange not being able to leave the hotel room for week after week after week.
Do you think it has changed the result not having crowds?
I think yes. I couldn’t put a finger on what it’s done exactly, but I think some events, it’s gone one of two ways really. It’s either people felt more comfortable, so the scores are a lot lower. It’s a little bit more relaxed, or it’s kind of the other way almost that they’re not gaining the energy off the crowd and not playing as well. I think that’s also something that’s happened I think on the tour.
Matt, we’ve got a question here and I’ll link to that in terms of feeling more or less pressure without the fans there. I know a couple of boys who are playing and they really miss it. They need it to feed off the energy, but what about you? Have you felt more or less pressure without the fans there?
No. Honestly, I wouldn’t say I’ve noticed it. No, that’s a lie. I’ve noticed there’s no fans obviously, but in terms of pressure before, I wouldn’t say I’ve noticed it too much. You’re still so focused on every shot. There’s a lot to be said for that, but for me, I would always rather play in front of crowds, just to have an atmosphere, just to get excited about something. The crowd noise for the football is just awful. I hate it. I like listening to the quiet, but at the same time, it sounds very weird. For me, the sooner we can get crowds back into everything, the better it’ll be. Particularly, once golf comes back, once football comes back, those first few events and games are going to be unbelievable.
There have to be some benefit in someone shouting, “Get in the hole!” though, isn’t it?
Yes. That’s polite. That makes it a lot easier. I know for one, my caddie, Billy Foster, he’s delighted about that. He was getting fed up about that. I don’t know if there are many Americans on this call but it mainly happens in America.
You’re in safe territory. Europe’s been good. [Laughter]
You haven’t heard many mashed potatoes kicking around then, have you?
Not in Scotland. Not in Scotland. [Laughter]
Okay then, we’ve got a couple of questions in the chat. I’m sure we’ll come to the Bryson DeChambeau “bulk” topic, but one question that I did have: Did you take time during break to review any of your equipment? So, you have been using an old TaylorMade driver and you’ve got the Ping irons set up then I think it’s the same putter. Have you made any changes for that? Did you consider making any changes?
No, nothing. Nothing really. The only change I’ve made this year is the three wood that was sort of on the edge. We were getting rid of that anyway. At the start of the season, we were kind of in and out of that anyway, but on the whole, my driver cracked a few weeks ago in Chicago. Fortunately, TaylorMade has some spares. They sent me those. The one they sent me is the exact copy, so no problems there, but everything else hasn’t changed. I’m not someone that likes to change too much really. What’s interesting now is I’m having the same discussion with my trainer, my caddie today. My trainer said, “Oh, you seem to crack clubs all the time.” Actually, I don’t. I’ve cracked two in my entire life. [Laughter] It happened to be in the last 12 months. No, I don’t like to change which I think is kind of risking it a little bit. You’ve got to be confident with the club that you’re using. You’ve got to be confident what it is really.
I’m surprised one of the manufacturers haven’t managed to snuck you out to get the whole bag here. I’m sure they are all queueing up.
TaylorMade tried for a little bit. My problem with TaylorMade is that I’ve only got one club of theirs, so it’s hard to get the whole set in. The closest is Ping. I love the Ping drivers, but this TaylorMade driver is as good as I’ve ever had. So, it’s just stupid to change. I would say Ping is the closest, but yes, I’ve been, what’s the saying? If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Absolutely. Lindsay, over to you.
Yes, thanks. So, Matt, I guess we have a couple of questions when people are registering around. When did you really first realized that you could make it as a professional golfer and I guess, just link to that, how much support did you get from your parents in that.
Yes. For me, the plan was always – well, not say always – from about 16 or 17, I start playing. I was playing for England. I played with the county. I’m playing well. Then, I won the British Boys and then I decided to go to university. The plan really was to do four years, get a degree to fall back on in case golf didn’t work out. IT was a great plan. Then 2013 came around and I was playing awful at the start of the year and then qualified for the Open. I won the Low Amateur at the Open, and then won the US Amateur. And all of a sudden, all these doors opened and I couldn’t really afford to turn them down. I’m playing in PGA Tour events, playing in majors and stuff like that. That changed my opinion big time. My dad sought the advice of Pete Cowen, whether he thought I was ready and he thought I was. He compared me to some players out here that he saw regularly and he said, “He’s completely good enough to compete.” And that was the thing really. So, I came out after I turn pro. I played OK on my starts, nothing special, and then gradually got more comfortable out here. So, I ended up, I guess, establishing myself as a winner and stuff like that. The plan was never to turn pro. From nine years old, it was never, “Oh, he’s going to be a professional golfer.” It was always just work hard and see where I end really and take it from there. Fortunately, so far, it’s gone all right.
You’ve always got Protiviti as a back-up anyway.
Exactly. Now you’re telling me. I’ll tell Joe about that.
Hey, Matt, it works. It works.
I’ll tell Joe that, so that’s fine. I’m sure he’ll laugh with me.
Matt, we’ve got a question here, and quite an interesting one. Who was or is your golfing or sporting hero while you were growing up, or now?
Growing up, I mean it was always Tiger as a golfer. It was always Tiger. I don’t think I probably idolized him as much as some others did necessarily. I wouldn’t really necessarily say I had anyone I really took after and I was like, “Oh, I want to be like them.” I don’t know. That just never was me, really. I kind of wanted to do my own thing and be myself. I had so much respect and admiration for actually my coaches, Pete Cowen and Mike Walker. If anything, I figured if golf didn’t work out, I would try and work for them. Just growing up and working with them, they were two people I looked up to a lot, particularly for advice and obviously getting my golf better, too, and that was a big deal for me.
I’m sorry, go on Lindsay. I’ll fire him a few more questions certainly.
So, I think a couple of people have asked the same question, Matt. Thinking about your game and strengths and maybe areas to develop, what courses suit your game best do you think?
For me, I would say that it’s all tight golf courses, tree-lined. Those are the courses I enjoy playing, for one. It’s interesting. I mean, for what I thought would suit my game, I played on golf courses and never played well around them. I’m trying to give you an example. Dubai is a classic, you hit it offline there, you’re note in great positions. That’s kind of my strength. I’m kind of a straight player. I just never got on with it there. I think that’s probably because 90% of the holes are right to left and I hit it the other way. That is not ideal, but then realized for the last two years, Abu Dhabi, when I first came out on tour and I was hitting it shorter, it definitely didn’t suit me. I wasn’t long enough and I came out this year and I was longer. The year before I played really well enough, either second or third. That also then becomes a golf course that you didn’t think was going to suit you, but now it does.
I think, honestly, it varies year on year. There’s a lot of stats models that say, “Oh, this golf course suits you and this golf course might not.”
I’ve been to them and sort of blown them away. One prime example actually was this year, the golf course at the Travelers TPC River Highlands, I’d never played it before. That was like, according to the stat people that we’re with, that was the number one golf course to suit Matt Fitzpatrick’s game, and I missed the cut. He’s just like, “Well, okay.” It depends on how you play in the day. I can think a golf course is wide as hell, and I’ve had good finishes on them. I really think it kind of just depends. It’s like straight up, if you play well, it doesn’t matter where you play. You’ll play it well.
If you think about your win up in the Swiss Mountains, a bunch of people that have won there previously have been absolute bombers and people like Miguel [Jimenez] that that have won around there. A couple of those short par 4s, nice and tight, you got to plot your way around there. It shows it can work on any stage. One thing I did want to come on to and you’ve mentioned about bombing it. We’ve talked about getting big and hitting longer. So, we’re going towards the “Bryson” bit which is interesting. I’m sure everybody wants to know about that, but I’ve got a couple of questions here, in quite a similar vain from Steve, Caroline, and a couple of others. They have young children, sons and daughters. Steve has Jack turning 10 tomorrow. He’s about to go to his academy. Caroline’s got a 14-year-old interested in golf. What’s the best piece of advice you can potentially give them?
My best piece of advice would be – well, there’s obviously a few best, but I would say that they just got to keep enjoying it. Don’t lose the enjoyment for it. It’s very easy to do that. Yes, you’ve got to keep enjoying it, but at the same time, if you want to make a career out of it, you’ve got to work hard. Nowadays, it’s actually not necessarily about sending them on a range from dawn till dusk and just grinding and making your hands bleed. It’s about actually finding your practice, doing the right things, what you need to work on and figuring it out like that really, but yes, I think if they want to make a career of it, that would be to work hard and just to make sure you keep on enjoying it.
Happy birthday to Jack tomorrow.
Yes, happy birthday.
One from Daphne, and excuse my pronunciation. I think I got it right. What’s the easiest major to win according to you? I’m not sure if there’s an answer to that, but let’s see what you think?
Well, if someone has the answer to that. If they could let me know, that’d be great! I’ll keep that one to myself.
It’ll probably be anything on PlayStation, isn’t it?
Yes, I would say so, yes! I think possibly the hardest one to win – well no. I would say that probably the most random…
The most random I would say would be the Open, purely because you could play the golf of your life and have a morning draw in the first day and that could be the worst weather. You shoot one over. That’s the leader of that group. Put that in the afternoon, it’s dead calm and everyone is shooting three or four under. You see five shots difference. I think the Open is the most random. I would probably say it depends on who you ask because if you say to Tiger Woods what’s the easiest to win, he’s going to say the Masters all day long. That’s for him. The hardest for me would be the US PGA and the same would be Jordan Spieth, for example. That’s the one he’s got to win. There isn’t an easiest one. I can’t say this is the easiest one, just to be honest with that one.
In terms of Open venue, which would be your favorite course?
My favorite one that I’ve not actually played would be Turnberry. I love it. I mean, unfortunately with the person who owns it now, I think we’re never going to go back there, but I would love to. I’d love to play an Open there for sure.
We have a couple of questions ahead of time and probably a good example. You mentioned the Travelers, but actually the Memorial, you shot a 75, a 66, a 74, then a 68. Then the following – actually the BMW, you shot 70, 75, then 68, 67. You had, for you, a bad round – how do you mentally prepare for the next round?
Honestly, that’s a question I’d like to ask everyone else because [laughter] I can’t seem to do that very well at the minute. My problem over the last 18 months really, it’s just been I’ve had poor first rounds and that’s put me out of position. A poor first or second round that’s knocked me back a little bit and stopped me from contending to win. If I look at my results where I’ve played really well, if I’ve had really good finishes, they tend to be the ones where I’ve had four good solid rounds. Me and my team, we’re trying to work out what the reason is really, why I’m struggling to start off well or whatever it is. I’ve always felt that it’s one of those, for me, once I’m in the position, I find it difficult to give it away to someone. I feel like it’s mine and I hold on to it very well. It’s kind of just getting myself more into contention and not playing myself out of it too early, really. So, for me, mentally, I’m not really working on anything in particular. I don’t see a psychologist or anything, but it’s just trying to find a balance of not to play myself out of it really when I’m not having a particularly good day.
On that point around the mental side of the game, there’s been huge coverage on that over the years … and the various psychologists that are out there right now. What advice would you give to dealing with the mental scars of holes or maybe courses you’ve played poorly in the past?
Courses that I’ve played poorly in the past, now, we just don’t play them again. [Laughter] They just get, “No, it’s off the schedule. We won’t do it.”
It’s chopped off the calendar in Britain.
Yes. I think Dubai next year, potentially, we might not play, depending on how the schedule is formed. In terms of golf courses like that, it’s a case of every year, we sit down and look and figure out. We tend to play golf courses – well, we make sure that I play events that I played well in before. I make sure I play at golf courses I played well before and then also just look at what has the best run. So rather than play in one then a week off, then one again, then a week off. It might be better to play, “Okay, let’s play three in a row and then take a week off or two weeks off,” or whatever it is. We kind of make sure we do that. So, at least, you’re sort of gaining some momentum. Golf holes though, well, I mean, I’m very statistical. For me, it’d just be looking at the stats on that particular hole. If I’ve not played it well in particular, why and where am I hitting it? Do I need to pick a better line off the tee? Do I need to play more aggressive, less aggressive? Purely statistical from my side of things. I think I’ve played – it might have been actually here last year – oh no, maybe it was Wentworth. Somewhere anyway. I’ve been given the scores from my stats team on my average that I’ve played certain holes. And one of the holes, for example, I was playing it point six over par, which actually is quite a lot.
You’ve got 2.4 in 2.5 shots (over 4 rounds), your average point there.
You’re picking up 2.5 shots on my previous scores which is a lot coming at the end of the week. So, for me, purely analytical just looking at where I’ve gone wrong previous years when I played the golf courses and yes, just taking it from there, really.
Who would you say are maybe some of the most underrated players that you see, whether that be [in the United States] or here on the European Tour?
Underrated, I would say probably Tyrrell Hatton. He’s kind of coming out this year. I think everyone can see that he’s a very, very good player, but before that, he had good runs and he had never really taken off, but this year, he’s played great. Really, he's a good player, great iron player and a very good putter. I would say Tyrrell is probably my number one. I don’t think he gets talked about enough really.
Is there anyone you would dream of having their swing, apart from maybe Robert Rock?
Adam Scott probably. Yes, I would say Adam Scott. He’s got the best swing on tour. Everyone knows that, and yes, he’s a great golfer.
You mentioned Billy Foster, your caddie. Those on the call who don’t know, Billy used to caddie for Seve [Ballesteros], for Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, and was actually I think I read somewhere voted by the other caddies as the best caddy on tour. So, don’t take this the wrong way, Matt, [Laughter] how did you end up working with Billy?
No, no, no, not at all! So, it’s a strange one. I was kind of in limbo at the end of 2018. I had just parted with my caddie of two years and finding a caddie is basically like picking a new wife or girlfriend, really. It’s like you spend more time with them than you do with anyone. So, yes, there’s a lot of stuff that’s got to fit. I’d known Billy awhile since I came on tour. Obviously, I knew about him because of who he was, who he’s worked for and stuff like that. He’s close to my coaches, Mike Walker and Pete Cowen. He basically put his name in the hat for my job. I was just taking my time, I wanted to make sure whoever it was, it was going to be the person. Obviously, I knew they’d put his name in the hat and there’s a few others as well. Then, he worked for me at the end of the year. I was looking to someone just to do one week and he did the week for me. We got along great, then we came to the end of the year meeting with the team and yes, he’s brilliant, very organized, and very switched on. He goes about his business the right way. Yes, we get along very well as people … we like football, love golf obviously and we’re both from Yorkshire. There were plenty of plusses and he agreed to work for me.
I wasn’t going to mention football, but presumably, they speak as a bit of challenge for you.
No, let’s not. Yes, we can move on. [Laughter]
For those of us who’ve never had a caddie, what difference does a caddie make?
Well, you don’t have to carry your bag. That’s a huge plus. [Laughter] Let me tell you, these bags weigh a ton. So, yes, I mean to me, it really brings a lot of things. It’s quite interesting, I didn’t know this. I kind of knew it the whole time he’s been working for me, but he’s very, very, flat. He’s very, very flat. It doesn’t matter whether winning by 10 or losing by 10. He’s very flat. So, he told me this after the US Open, when we’d just missed the cut. I holed an 8 iron on about the 15th hole and we both just looked at each other. I wasn’t playing well. I’m putting awfully, I was disappointed. I wasn’t contending, so it went in for a two. I was close to the cut mark. I was like, ”You know what? All right. Whatever.” It is what it is. It’s great, great. I holed my second shot. He was saying, “Well done,” a little clap, nothing too exciting. Anyway, we finished and then I three putted the last, I missed by one and then we get in afterwards. Again, he doesn’t – no motion, nothing, odd look, whatever. Then, we were talking that night and he was saying, “I wanted to scream so loud when you made the two on 15.” I was like, “Really? That surprised me. You never said anything.” Then he said, “Then, I wanted to cry when you three putted the last.” I’m like, “Really?” I said, “All right, sorry about that. Sorry about that,” but no. For me, Billy, he carries his yardage books, so he’ll do the yardages. He’ll walk the golf course. He’ll tell me the lines off the tee. He’ll tell me where not to hit it around the greens to certain flags. Well, what else will he do? Help me in my practice. He’ll set up my practice drills, and various little things like that, really.
What about with putting, Matt? Will he help with lines or do you like to do that yourself?
No, very rarely. I’ve got to be struggling, really. If I can’t see it very well at all then I’ll ask him to come in and have a look. Otherwise, I tend to do it all myself.
Matt, today obviously, Tuesday, you start first round Thursday, so you’ve been practicing today…
Yes, I have.
You’ll be practicing tomorrow. Can you just talk us through the sorts of things you do for a tournament week like this?
Yes, sure. I’ll give you a run through of today. Today, I got up this morning, shower, go for breakfast, have breakfast, then I go into the gym to warm up for 10 minutes, stretch, some roller, all these little exercises that my trainer gives me. And then after that, I met my putting coach. I saw him for an hour. We did some work on my stroke. We hit a few putts as well so I did a little test. Then, I went from there to the range and hit balls for an hour, just going through my swing. My coach was watching, just figuring things out. Well, not that there was anything to figure out. He was just sort of keeping an eye on where I’m at, really. From there, I went to play nine holes. I played the front nine. I got to see the golf course, play some chips and putts around the greens, think where the flags are going to be, “Okay, it’s here. You can’t miss it there and do that,” and all that sort of stuff. Then, I came back in, had some lunch and then I have a FlightScope which is like a radar. It tracks how far the ball goes and I can do different challenges on that. It tells me, “Okay, I hit this one 150 yards. This one, 167.
I hit this one 162.” It’s a copy of being on the golf course, effectively. You’re just on the range. I did a couple of those challenges and then that was it. I came back and worked out with my trainer and then I’m here. So, yes, that’s sort of how I tend to go every day. My performance coach, he plans my days for me. We’ll talk about what it is to do. Normally during tournament weeks, it’ll be relevant to what I’ll need for the golf course this week. So, he knows there’s a lot of mid irons this week. Today, I practiced mid irons, tomorrow will be the same, and then just to get ready for Thursday.
Do you have an idea of where pins are going to be on the course during the week?
I think from last year, we might be able to get some details from that, but normally, we play the golf courses multiple times. So, they’re always in roughly the same spots to be able to…
Will they put dots on there? Will they put dots on the greens these days, Matt, or not?
They don’t do on practice days. They do it on Thursday to Friday, Friday to Saturday. That’s normally what they do.
We got a question here which feeds in really nicely, actually. Thinking about strategy … match play compared to stroke play, but maybe we could lead that into your strategy for this week and how you’re going to attack the tournament.
I wouldn’t say in match play or stroke play, I wouldn’t really say there’s much difference, particularly now, seeing it at the pro level. I played in a couple of matches, or match plays, should I say. For me, it’s all about keeping yourself in the tournament. The match play side of it is very different. It depends on who you play. It really is a completely different game as a professional compared to the amateur stuff. You might go out there with a bit of more of a game plan, whereas as a pro, it’s literally just trying to make as many birdies as you can and go with it. You can play aggressive, it doesn’t really matter. Stroke play, it’s about whoever makes the least mistakes. It really is. I would say the majority of the time – I don’t know the statistics on this, but I would say the people who make the least bogeys and doubles for the week tend to be the ones that have the best weeks. I mean, people can probably answer at home. I don’t know. I feel like a lot of amateurs feel like pros go at every flag on the golf course. Actually, I would say I go at a flag twice, once a round if I’m lucky, I would say, just because it’s natural. It’s golf. It’s just the way dispersion is and with golf shots, when you’re on, your dispersion’s tighter, but it’s not arrow straight every shot. It’s just the way it is, so it’s a lot about playing the percentages really.
Matt, you mentioned the US Open and obviously, we’ve got a few questions about Bryson and bulking up in his bomb and gouge approach.
I was disappointed with the setup. I thought the setup was going to be good, but almost the rough wasn’t thick enough, to be honest. It wasn’t penal enough for missing. Don’t get me wrong, it was penal, but I don’t know. I drove the ball fantastically well that week and I didn’t really miss many fairways. I was still going in with, let’s say on average, it was like a six iron, whereas Bryson was going in with a nine iron, for example, but he was from the rough. Well, law of averages, realistically, basically makes it as easy with a nine iron out the rough as it does with a six iron from the fairway. I think the setup was probably … they got it a little bit wrong because they didn’t make the greens firm enough. I don’t know if that was the time of year or what really, but the first day that I watched some of the morning golf and guys are hitting it out of the rough and stopping it on the greens and that just isn’t a regular US Open. That really isn’t and it was a bit disappointing. It’s disappointing for me because I felt like I had a chance because I thought, “Okay, this week’s going to be a premium on accuracy as opposed to length,” and it turns out it wasn’t, really. I didn’t get a full look at the full leaderboard but certainly the top two, two guys that absolutely bomb it, Wolff and Bryson. So, hopefully, that’s not the way the game’s going, but it might be.
What do you think they’ll do? I mean there’s so much speculation as to what needs to happen because there is a limit as to how long you can make a golf course, isn’t it?
Well, I think there’s that and people are talking about climate change now and land available to people. You can’t keep making golf courses 8,000 long … 8,000 yards long, you just can’t. You don’t have the room for it. So, something’s got to be done, whether equipment change, ball change. Honestly, I don’t know. I really don’t know. There’s a lot of talk and nothing’s being done. So, it’s just going to be very interesting, I think, and we’ll have to see what happens.
I think just to put it in context, I think your average is around 294 off the tees, isn’t or something?
Yes, something like that. Yes.
It’s something that I can’t even possibly imagine. So, well move on…
Just of interest, how much is that 294 would be carry?
I think average total roll is about 15 yards, so I would guess 280-ish, 270, 275.
I was going to go back to the question, but the one that I was going to ask, we’re talking about people bulking up … versus when you first came on tour, you’re sending it out there a lot further … how do you see things now in terms of spin rates on these drivers … carry versus roll, how does that play out and what’s the approach moving forward?
Yes. Again, I’m not very anal about that sort of stuff, looking for spin rates and I’ll keep an eye on it, but as long as my driver goes straight, that’s all I’m bothered about, really. I know guys who get really into that. I think there’s a limit. You do need to look at it. You need to get something that fits your eye and … that works well and that you’re getting the distance you want out of it. But at the same time, I think there’s a lot of guys that try and go for too much distance, less control. I’m sure you don’t mind me mentioning, but I played .. in Dubai and the first day they’ve just been doing some driver testing and this thing was just falling out the sky. When he got one and it went in the fairway, it was going miles, but he barely hit any fairways. Then the second day he came out, you could see that he fixed the driver. He got more spin on it, and he drove it way better. I think there’s a lot of guys that chase distance, but too much and sometimes end up getting the bad end of it, I guess.
So, the Masters is going to be in November.
What difference do you think that’s going to make compared to…?
I’ve heard a mix of things. I’ve heard it can be very firm and fast at that time of year. That’s their autumn, so I think it could get quite dry just before the winter there. I’ve definitely heard mixed things. I’ve heard that it could either be dry, firm and fast, or it could just be cold and wet. So, I think it’s going to be cold either way, but…
I was going to say, I’m assuming we’ve provided you with some Protiviti thermals as well as t-shirts.
Of course, yes. I’ll be fully wrapped up. I’ll be fully wrapped up.
This week as well. It looks a bit…
As well. Let me tell you, I brought plenty this week. Yes.
The looks of it.
Yes, I mean it’s going to be interesting to see what it’s like. I’ve seen pictures and it’s yellow right now, but that’s because the summer grass is still there, I think, before it starts growing again.
We’ve got a couple of questions. I’m conscious of time and we want to try and get through everybody’s questions. A couple of individuals have asked who would you have wished to play with or you wish you would’ve played with that maybe isn’t playing now? We’ve got a couple of questions around Ryder Cup partners, so … we can link those two together. So, who do you wish that you’d played that you haven’t and, thinking about you playing in the Ryder Cup, who would you like to partner with?
I wish I’d played with Jack Nicklaus in his prime, definitely. Lee Trevino as well, just because the way he had quite an interesting technique. Then, Ryder Cup partners, I’d love to play with Rory (McIlroy). I think that’d be good, being lucky enough to play with Henrik Stenson in the one that I did play. Yes, so far, I think it’d be good to play with Rory. I think he could just sort of knock it on all the greens and I’ll just hole the putts, so that’d fine.
The right decision, absolutely.
Yes, I would say it was the right decision. I would say it was. No crowds, it was never going to be the same atmosphere. Next year hopefully, crowds will be allowed back and it’ll be great.
Cool. So, I few quick fire questions if that’s all right, Matt.
Favorite course on the European Tour?
It has to be, doesn’t it?
Yes, no doubt.
Yes, it’s good. [Laughter]
It is the one I look at on the TV and think, I wish I could play that course.
Lowest score for 18 holes?
That was in Holland, actually. It’s in Kennemer Golf Course, I think.
Holes in one?
Three years ago, I think?
No, in New York actually. Just playing with a friend.
Choice between the Open and the Masters?
Yes, you get to go back every year. Apart from that … I don’t know, there’s something about it. Yes, it’s amazing.
Have you ever scored double figures on a hole?
Not that I know of. I can’t remember it, maybe as a kid, but not as a pro or as an amateur.
What do you do away from golf to relax?
Try to go on holiday when I can, but regular weeks, just watch football, not that’s its very relaxing to the minute, and catch up with my mates and family, really. It’s not a lot. I’m not really a partyer.
We got a question in the chat: How do you mentally recover from a bad shot? Now, this is an advice I need because…
Yes, that’s advice I need as well, to be honest [laughter]. For me, my coach told me something good the other day … “The most important shot in golf is the next one, and the least important is the one that’s just been hit,” so you can’t do anything about it. You just got to get on with it, as frustrating as it can be. You just get on with it.
I think that’s the difference between pros and amateurs. Pros, the next shot after a bad one is always a good recovery shot.
It’s the good one. Yes.
Matt, if you hit a bad shot, are you a club thrower? Club thrower, break it and throw or no?
I’m not a club thrower or breaker, I just get frustrated at myself.
Apart from Dave, we’ve got a lot of amateurs here. We’ve got a few questions which I won’t ask, things like: I occasionally slice it off the tee, how do I stop?
How do I fix it?
Yes. What’s the one piece of advice – when you see amateurs play, what’s the one thing that you think as a group we ought to focus on?
Everyone tries to swing out the shoes, everyone tries to swing it way too hard. For me, it would just be to slow it down, certainly on the way back. Slow it down on the way back and keep it slow on the way through. Too many people just – I don’t know if it’s excitement, nerves, or what, they just try to take the skin off the ball.
You’re our brand ambassador. What was it that you saw in Protiviti that made you choose us?
For me, I’d met Joe. My manager, Ted, had done a lot of talking to Joe, your CEO. Joe was telling me about the very innovative – the fact that you have global offices all over the world, so it sort of speaks to me, given all the traveling that I do. Obviously, Joe is very much into his golf too, and so we talked a lot about that, but the fact was, for me, that particularly at the start, I felt that we could work together and do some projects that actually we both care about really, as opposed to just going through the motions. That’s one thing that I mentioned earlier about Protiviti helping me – the data team is actually helping me with my stats right now, trying to build me something to help me analyze it a little bit better, and that is huge for me. It’s going to be huge for me and hopefully for Protiviti, as well. I can help almost advertise that and show it off. It felt like a great match and it came at the right time for me and so far it’s been brilliant. We’ve had a great time, done a lot of stuff with the company, and hopefully, it will be great going forward.
So, we got one comment in the chat. I don’t think it’s a question.
It’s from a former colleague of mine. Now, he’s actually in the Cayman Islands, so we won’t feel too sorry for him. He says, “How do you hit a ball 294 yards by slowing down your swing?”
Slow it down on the way back and you can accelerate as much as you want on the way through. [Laughter]
So, Matt, I’m very conscious of time. This has been a lot of fun for us, certainly for Dave and me. We really appreciate you joining us today.
We are properly proud to have you representing us on and off the course. We wish you all the very best.
Thank you very much.
I want to thank everyone else for joining us and for all the questions. Play well, stay safe, and enjoy the rest of the day. Thank you.
Thank you. Thanks guys.
Thank you for listening today. To learn more about Matt and LPGA tour member, Jennifer Kupcho, who also is a Protiviti brand ambassador, visit Protiviti.com/Golf. I also invite you to subscribe to our Powerful Insights podcast series wherever you find your podcast content.