Can 4 grams make that much of a difference? Matt Fitzpatrick thinks so

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — With the weighty issue surrounding his driver solved, Matt Fitzpatrick once again feels good about his game.

Who knew 4 grams could lift such a burden?

Fitzpatrick is an analytical whisperer when it comes to golf, tracking every shot he hits during tournament play. But for much of last year, something felt a bit off when the Jupiter resident pulled out his driver.

He took the club to Titleist five weeks ago to have it shortened. They discovered a 4-gram weight in the grip. That jogged Fitzpatrick’s memory.

“I almost had a heart attack,” he said.

Fitzpatrick added weights to the grips of his irons about a year ago. That felt so good, about a month later he did the same with his driver.

The problem was that he forgot the weight was there, even as his driver started feeling uncomfortable.

“My fault,” Fitzpatrick said when asked if anyone was fired over Weight-gate.

After the discovery, Fitzpatrick felt the weight of the world was lifted … from his driver.

Now …

“I probably had five weeks of it and it’s been a mixed bag,” the 29-year-old said. “But from a feeling standpoint, it’s felt better.”

This week at the Players Championship, that bag is a good mix.

Fitzpatrick shot a 69 Friday, putting him 9-under for the first two rounds, five shots behind leader Wyndham Clark. He ended his second round leading the field in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, and second in driving distance.

So, can 4 grams make that much of a difference?

“Yeah,” he said. “The weight in the grip just made the ball go more right-to-left, basically more club closure.

“More face rotation, more kick from the shift. So left is the popular miss.”

Both days here, Fitzpatrick felt more like the man with two career PGA Tour wins, including the 2022 U.S. Open, at least off the tee.

“Just drove it well, drove it like I feel like I can drive it,” said Fitzpatrick, who also has eight wins on the DP World Tour.

“That obviously puts me in a great position to hit solid golf shots from there. To me, it felt a bit more like my old self, drove the ball well, putted well, and that’s kind of always been the key to when I’ve played well really.”

Of course, Fitzpatrick’s definition of playing well comes with a high standard. Even while being weighted down in 2023, the Englishman had one win, 11 top 25s and was a part of Europe’s dominating win over the U.S. in the Ryder Cup.

Fitzpatrick’s world ranking has hovered between No. 8 to its current No. 11 since winning the RBC Heritage in April.

Now, he’s made the cut at The Players for the first time in three years and is looking for just his second top-10 finish in nine starts at TPC Sawgrass. He tied for ninth in 2021.

While Fitzpatrick is looking to become the eighth to capture The Players while living in our area (Jack Nicklaus has won it three times, Tiger Woods twice), he would be the first Englishman.

Fitzpatrick pointed to the 12 years The Players was held in May for his country’s drought in North Florida, when it was played in warmer weather with firmer fairways and greens. Not exactly the maritime climate England experiences.

Although March is a bit cooler and can be wetter, it’s still not like the conditions when most of your coast is on the North Sea.

“I guess once it’s in March it’s probably a little bit better … It feels probably a little bit more like home with the grass,” he said. “It’s a tough golf course, there’s no two ways about it. Some weeks you have it, some weeks you don’t.”

Fitzpatrick has had it for most of his first two rounds with 12 birdies, and an eagle Thursday on No. 16. He’s carded three bogeys on the Stadium Course, but the one hole he’d like back is the par-4 No. 4 Friday, when his second shot out of the rough didn’t clear the water to the left of the green.

Fitzpatrick hit a nice wedge to 7 feet after his drop but missed his bogey putt. He went from a two-shot lead after a birdie on No. 2 put him at 10-under, to tied for third with the double bogey on No. 4.

“I felt the lie was good enough to kind of hack it onto the right side,” Fitzpatrick said. “It just kind of snagged me and went left. Just couldn’t really work out why it had gone so far left.”

That’s the only thing he hasn’t worked out so far this week.

Tom D’Angelo is a senior sports columnist and golf writer for The Palm Beach Post. He can be reached at

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek