Ryder Cup rookie Matt Fitzpatrick used to look for teammates' autographs

Ryder Cup rookie Matt Fitzpatrick used to look for teammates' autographs

Rookie Matt Fitzpatrick has gone from hunting down the autographs of golf's top stars to being a team-mate in the space of a few short years.

The 22-year-old from Sheffield is the youngest player on either side in this year's Ryder Cup and two years younger than fellow debutant Thomas Pieters.

Fitzpatrick is ranked 44th in the world but still shows a degree of reverence to the stellar names, twice saying he was "lucky" to spend time in Rory McIlroy's company, even though he is sharing a team room with them.

"I've watched all the guys two years ago and four years ago playing the Ryder Cup," said the player who only turned professional two years ago.

"These are the guys that I've looked up to since I was young pretty much, to sort of looking for autographs when I've been to tournaments as a fan.

"I know Sergio this year signed a golf ball for me when I played with him in Qatar.

"He was giving one out to a little kid and I was like 'I'll have one of those if you've got one to spare'.

"Now I'm playing in the same team with them. For me, it's pretty cool to be doing that.

"I was lucky enough to have a drink with Rory on Sunday night after he had won (the Tour Championship) just at the hotel here. That was pretty cool for me.

"I was lucky enough to play with Rory at the Masters in 2014 and he signed my yardage book, so that's a pretty special one."

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