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Ryder Cup 2020: Matt Fitzpatrick relishing ‘hostility’ of home crowd at Whistling Straits

Matt Fitzpatrick made his Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine as a 22-year-old in 2016 and is back on Team Europe this year after missing the previous edition; watch the Ryder Cup on Sky Sports, with the Day 1 Foursomes beginning at 1pm on Friday

Last Updated: 20/09/21 2:51pm

Matt Fitzpatrick will be part of Team Europe

Matt Fitzpatrick says the “hostility” of a Ryder Cup crowd on American soil will give him “added motivation” as Team Europe look to retain the trophy at Whistling Straits.

Fitzpatrick will be making his second appearance in the event after being the youngest player on either side five years ago at Hazeltine.

With fans not allowed to travel from Europe to the USA due to Covid-19 restrictions, Fitzpatrick is expecting the support to be partisan, but is relishing the challenge.

“It’s going to be pretty one-sided. It always is, home or away, but it would have been nice to have a few of our own in there.

“But I think that’s what makes it more fun, if I’m honest. You’ve got to put up with that as well and it makes it more exciting, in my opinion. In a way I prefer to play under the hostility. It’s an added pressure, an added motivation to try to play well.”

Six of the last seven Ryder Cups have been won by the home side – with the 2012 ‘Miracle at Medinah’ the sole exception – but Europe’s male players can take heart from the way their female counterparts overcame a similar lack of on-site support to win the Solheim Cup in Toledo earlier this month.

Even though Europe’s players are braced for a hostile atmosphere, Fitzpatrick’s previous experience during the last away contest in 2016 suggests things may not be as bad as expected.

“It was difficult last time,” said Fitzpatrick.

European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington says his team are well prepared for any complications this week

European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington says his team are well prepared for any complications this week

European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington says his team are well prepared for any complications this week

“I only played a foursomes and a singles match. Of course I would have liked to play more, everybody would, and I never really felt like I experienced it in full.

“I was playing with Henrik Stenson, one of the most likeable guys out here, for one. And I didn’t really get too much abuse. I got ‘Did your mum cut your hair?’ and ‘Does your mum cut the crust off your sandwiches?’

Tommy Fleetwood says the European team room is an 'amazing place to be' as he praises the bond between everyone on the team

Tommy Fleetwood says the European team room is an ‘amazing place to be’ as he praises the bond between everyone on the team

Tommy Fleetwood says the European team room is an ‘amazing place to be’ as he praises the bond between everyone on the team

“For me it was fine, but I know for other people it was much worse.”

One spectator was ejected from the course for shouting abuse at Rory McIlroy, while reigning Masters champion Danny Willett was a particular target for the galleries after his brother’s ill-advised magazine article before play got under way labelling them a “baying mob of imbeciles”.

The United States went on to whitewash Europe in the opening morning’s foursomes and, although the visitors won five and a half of the next eight available points, they eventually suffered a comprehensive 17-11 defeat.

Ryder Cup 2020: Matt Fitzpatrick relishing 'hostility' of home crowd at Whistling Straits

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