U.S. Am champ Fitzpatrick leaves Northwestern
Northwestern freshman Matt Fitzpatrick, the top-ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, called head coach Pat Goss on New Year’s Day to explain that he will not return to Northwestern this spring in order to pursue a full-time amateur golf career.
PHOTOS: Matthew Fitzpatrick, U.S. Am champ
Matt Fitzpatrick will face Oliver Goss in the U. S. Amateur finals. View images of Matt Fitzpatrick during the week of match play at the U. S. Amateur.
“I very much enjoyed my experience at Northwestern,” Fitzpatrick said in a release issued by the university. “The people, the school and the great city of Chicago all exceeded my expectations. I want to thank (head coach) Pat (Goss), (assistant coach) David (Inglis) and my teammates for everything they did for me.
“Based on the opportunities I have right now from a golf perspective, I feel it is important to dedicate 100 percent of my time to the game and have decided to withdraw from university in the U.S.”
This came as a complete shock to Goss as he only received great feedback from Fitzpatrick and his family that he loved Northwestern.
“How much he loved the golf program, the courses, Evanston and Northwestern,” Goss said. “It caught me completely off guard.”
In five starts this fall, Fitzpatrick twice finished in the top 10 and tied teammate Jack Perry for the Rod Myers Invitational title. He was second on the team in scoring, behind Perry.
Fitzpatrick won the U.S. Amateur in the summer, and played for Great Britain & Ireland in the Walker Cup.
By virtue of his U.S. Am victory, Fitzpatrick is exempt into the Masters, the U.S. Open and the Open Championship.
Goss said he and Fitzpatrick were working on a schedule for the spring that would allow him to play both college golf and take advantage of his exemptions as the U.S. Amateur champion.
“I just think once he got home, to his golf support system, and tried to map out his schedule and the opportunities as the U.S. Am champ, school didn’t make sense any more,” Goss said.
The only other tournament on Fitzpatrick’s schedule, according to Goss, was the RBC Heritage, April 17-20 in Hilton Head, S.C. at Harbour Town Golf Links.
Goss believes his Wildcats will move forward and continue to achieve their goals they set at the beginning of the year.
“I think we are going to be very successful,” Goss added. “They will go out and show some strong resolve and show the world they can play golf.”