This was originally just going to be an item in sips -- coming up! But went long, because let us celebrate incoming Northwestern freshman Matthew Fitzpatrick at the British Open!
I mentioned Matt Fitzpatrick, the incoming Northwestern freshman who was playing at the British Open. He wasn't the first NU golfer to play at a major, but he had the best performance one can imagine. No, he didn't win -- he finished 13 strokes off of Phil Mickelson's 13-under -- but at 10-over, he took the honors for best amateur, winning the Silver Medal. They only give out the Silver Medal if an amateur makes the cut, which Fitzpatrick did as the cut line moved from 4-over when he entered the clubhouse to 8-over as everybody sucked, good enough to keep his 7-over in play. And he closed strong, parring the difficult 17th and 18th holes after recording three bogeys and two double bogeys on those two holes alone in his first three rounds, allowing him to beat fellow amateur Jimmy Mullen by five strokes. He joins Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Justin Rose -- three of the top five ranked golfers in the world -- as winners of the Silver Medal.
Simply put, this kid is a stud, and he had the coolest week ever. He started out being mistaken for Tiger Woods' ballboy, and ended up taking photo ops with Phil Mickelson. He had Fred Couples, his partner in his last round, talking up his game (also in that story: he ate fish and chips the night before the final round, because Britain) and had random pros helping him look for his ball in the waist-high rough, so that's awesome.
Sure, it's nice that he'll get free Northwestern tuition, but, man, 44th place at the British Open pays out $28,000. Why is this kid coming to be cold amongst Americans in Chicago again? Just do that a few more times! You'll make money! On the plus side, he gets to be a guy with a British accent at an American university, which is like fishing with dynamite.
And we also get way more media coverage than for any Northwestern incoming athlete in a non-varsity sport -- or maybe even in a varsity sport -- ever. We have British newspapers trying to figure out the American college system -- here is North Western University, from The Express, and NorthWestern University, from the Telegraph, both of which seem to note that Northwestern is in Chicago and therefore CHICAGO'S BIG TEN TEAM WOO. There are the requisite comments about education being important and him wanting to be like Luke Donald (who finished 10-over... but in two rounds, which isn't quite as good, as he didn't make the cut.)
He got a bunch of shoutouts on ESPN, which NUSports compiled.
And we also have far more photos of Fitzpatrick than we will ever, ever use in our photo editor:
Photo credit: Stuart Franklin, Getty Images
Wrong shade, but, yo, he's got the purple Under Armour thing down.
Photo credit: Matthew Lewis, Getty Images
Hard not to look dramatic gesturing at stuff through fescue. I basically just wanna play golf with a caddy, just once in my life.
Photo credit: Andrew Redington, Getty Images
Also dramatic: placing balls on greens.
And, seriously, we have like 40 more photos of him looking super-British and being on a golf course.
But anyway, damn. Kid is 18. I'm 23, and I'm not very good at golf at all. The summer before my freshman year of college, I was working at a day camp and spent my nights being bad at drinking. I think Fitz 2.0 wins.
Northwestern is going to have a damn good golf team next year, between Fitzpatrick and Jack Perry, who was an All-American after winning two tournaments last year. Don't be surprised if they pull out a Big Ten title, or maybe something cooler, with one of the best amateur golf players in the world and one of the best amateur golfers in the United States.
More from Sippin' On Purple:
- Northwestern has the best special teams in college football
- Keeping it Real with EA Sports: Venric Mark, Kain Colter, and the option
- Northwestern basketball summer update: John Shurna on the Bucks, Alex Olah in Romania
- Wednesday Sips, ft. MARKNADO, Ron Zook banking, and deathfights
- Dan Vitale, Northwestern Wildcats football, No. 40