World number one Scottie Scheffler has hit out at a lawsuit being brought against the PGA Tour by several of LIV Golf's leading names. 

With the PGA suspending players who joined the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed circuit, the likes of Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau are among 11 players to back a legal attempt to reverse those measures ahead of the FedEx Cup Playoffs beginning on Thursday.

While reports suggest only three LIV players – Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford – are seeking re-entry to the event, the PGA has accused them of trying "to have their cake and eat it" by attempting to feature at their events.

And Scheffler, who has been a prominent defender of the PGA Tour amid several high-profile players signing up for the LIV circuit, has little sympathy for those fighting suspension.

"I'm definitely curious to see what's going to happen," the 2022 Masters victor told a news conference on Tuesday.

"It's one of those deals where those guys kind of made their decision to go join another tour.

"They broke the rules and regulations of our tour and now they're trying to sue us, which is definitely a bit frustrating.

"I heard that was going to happen and I know some guys aren't surprised to see it, but I definitely am surprised to see some guys now suing us.

"If they win, come out here and play, I mean, that's something that's up to the courts. I can't control what's going to happen in a court case. 

"[I'm] definitely interested, but at the end of the day it has no effect on my preparation for the week."

Should you want proof that golf is a game for life, played in different venues and for all ages, digest what was going on in various corners of the world 15 summers ago.

In the Dallas area, an 11-year-old named Scott Scheffler was crushing the competition on the North Texas PGA Junior Tour. There were victories at Shady Valley, The Links at Water Chase, Lantana GC, and by eight strokes over Vince Whaley at Twin Creeks GC.

Down in Bayou country, another 11-year-old named Sam Burns was shooting 84 in the annual Shreveport (Louisiana) City Amateur. He finished top five.

In Scotland, an 18-year-old mop-haired kid from Northern Ireland, Rory McIlroy, was low amateur in the Open Championship at Carnoustie. Rounds of 68-76-73-72 served notice that this kid might be pretty good.

With rounds of 72-70, a 14-year-old from Kentucky named Justin Thomas finished second in his age group, third overall, at the Evian Masters Junior Cup in France. One perk for winning was that he got to play alongside Juli Inkster in a pro-am before the Evian Masters.

And on the other side of the world, in Hawaii, a 15-year-old Japanese player named Hideki Matsuyama dominated his match against Henry Park, 6 and 5, to help the visitors post a 24.5 to 19.5 win in the Hawaii/Japan Junior Cup.

Those were the stages, of course, played in the shadows. On the stage that mattered, a guy much older, the 31-year-old Tiger Woods, was collecting a fourth US PGA Championship at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Ho-hum as that might have been, given it was his 14th major, what surely resonated was Woods' achievement at the end of that summer. With an overwhelming performance in the inaugural FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour, Woods earned a cool $10million.

What stands out about that 2007 Tour Championship that nailed down the first FedEx Cup were the suffocating numbers. Woods won the season finale by eight strokes, it was his 61st career win and seventh of the season, and he finished the Tour Championship at 23-under 257.

"It has been a phenomenal week," Woods said, then very much at his understated best. He had, after all, also pocketed a cheque for $1.26million for winning the Tour Championship.

"I enjoyed being on a scoring streak, hitting good shot after good shot, and I felt very comfortable with my game. It felt good."

That was then and this is now, and what feels remarkable is how quickly time has passed and how surreal it is to know this: just 15 years after they were playing golf on mostly unheralded stages as kids, the 26-year-old Scheffler (he's Scottie now, unlike in 2007), Burns, 26; McIlroy, 33; Thomas, 29; and Matsuyama, 30, were numbers 1-2-3-4-5 in the FedEx Cup standings when the calendar flipped to July.

The flip side of Woods now being 46 is the fact the game is getting younger and, oh, how the current FedEx Cup standings reflect that. After Scheffler, Burns, McIlroy, Thomas, and Matsuyama, we have Patrick Cantlay, Cameron Smith, Xander Schauffele, Will Zalatoris, and Max Homa.

Average age of those 10 players: 28.5.

That is more than four years younger than the average age in 2007, the first FedEx Cup when seven of the top 10 were 31 or older. This time around, eight of the current top 10 are 30 or younger.

But if this youth parade has many marchers, the warmest spotlight must be shining on the leader, the same kid who 15 years ago was dominating the competition on the North Texas Junior PGA.

All Scheffler has done in this, his third full season on the PGA Tour, is win four times and roar into the penthouse of the Official World Golf Rankings.

Not bad, this number one designation. But some might argue that Burns is number 1A, because all he has done is win three times before, and if you go back to the middle of the 2020-21 season, Burns secured victories in four of his last 29 tournaments.

The screeching noise you heard is the arrival of the Scheffler-Burns express; they are two young men who are great friends and as if to punctuate their new-found grip on the PGA Tour, they had an exclamation point of a Sunday back in May.

Locked in a play-off at the Charles Schwab Challenge, Burns poured in a long-range birdie on the first extra hole to beat his Texas friend.

Even Scheffler flashed a wide smile that day, nodding his approval to Burns, knowing there will be many more opportunities to return the favour. Perhaps even as soon as the upcoming FedEx Cup play-offs. These are the dates that matter: August 11-14 at the FedEx St Jude Classic in Memphis; August 18-21 at the BMW Championship in Wilmington, Delaware; and August 25-28 at the Tour Championship in Atlanta, Georgia.

They are tournaments that showcase the best of the elite, and whereas you might have understandably expected them to put Scheffler in awe as a 24-year-old rookie in August of 2020, it didn't work out that way. In his second round in the play-offs, Scheffler shot 59 at TPC Boston.

He didn't win that week, but a tie for fourth set in motion a nice play-off run – tied 20th at the BMW, fifth at the Tour Championship. The three who finished immediately ahead of him in the FedEx Cup standings in 2020 – Schauffele, Thomas and Jon Rahm – are key contenders for the 2021-22 FedEx Cup as a dynamic era of young and talented performers continues into the 16th edition of this season-long race.

It is amazing, the furious speed with which these kids have progressed from junior golf to the spotlight of a FedEx Cup. Then again, perhaps there are those who saw this coming. Joel Edwards, for instance.

A veteran PGA Tour performer, Edwards was in the twilight of his career when he used to practise at Royal Oaks at Dallas where Scheffler was the brightest of a stable of talented junior players.

Precocious and supremely talented, Scheffler would challenge Edwards and another PGA Tour veteran, Harrison Frazar, to random contests. Frazar confirms he lost sleeves of golf balls to a fourth-grader; Edwards concedes that "he cost me a fortune; I used to carry a bunch of quarters because I knew I'd get my butt beat [in a bid to hit practice-range poles with wedge shots]."

And if there was one thing that stood out about Scheffler back then, even beyond his uncanny golf skills, it was his appearance.

"He always wore pants. He looked like a Tour player at 10," said Edwards.

And at 11, while mowing down the local competition, perhaps Scheffler knew this brand-new FedEx Cup was someday going to be in his future.

Open champion Cameron Smith revealed his third-round slump provided all the incentive he needed to get his act together and claim victory with a stunning 64 at St Andrews on Sunday. 

The leader after 36 holes, it was widely thought Smith had blown his chances with a scruffy 73 on Saturday which left him four shots adrift of leading duo Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland.

However, a run of five birdies in a row after the turn in his final round put Smith in the ascendancy and he never looked back, showing nerves of steel to save par on 17 before making another gain at the last to render playing partner Cameron Young's eagle immaterial. 

The Australian roared to his maiden major after undercutting crowd favourite McIlroy's Sunday score by six strokes, while he was a huge 10 shots better than Hovland across the concluding 18 holes.

Speaking about Saturday's backslide, Smith – who finished on 20 under, a shot ahead of Young – said: "I think I was really frustrated with how the round went.

"I just really put it down to links golf. I think you really have those days on these courses where you get a bit of a weird bounce here and there and puts you in a bad spot.

"So, I shrugged it off pretty good, I think, last night. I really didn't dwell on it too much.

"But to go out there and really stick my head down and keep making birdies and keep making putts, yeah, it was really cool. I think that [Saturday's disappointment] definitely helped."

Smith will have to wait before he can properly celebrate with his close family and friends, as his dad made what proved to be an ill-advised decision not to head over to Fife to see his son in action at the 150th Open Championship.

"I don't have any family here. I've got all my team here," he said. 

"My dad was actually meant to come over, and he pulled out in the last minute basically. I had a quick chat with him before. He's kicking himself now.

"I really wish he was here, too. It would have been such a cool week, even without this, to be at the home of golf. Dad loves his golf as well. It would have been awesome."

The Champion Golfer of the Year – whose score of 268 is a record in an Open at St Andrews – had some warm words of praise for McIlroy, who missed out on a second Claret Jug and first major since 2014.

"He's obviously a great player," said Smith after finishing two strokes clear of the Northern Irishman.

"He's one of those guys that you can't help but stop when he's hitting balls on the range, and he just keeps knocking on doors every week, it seems like.

"He's probably the most consistent player out here.

"He's going to get a major, I'm sure, very soon. He's just really solid. For me, I've played with Rory a few times, and there's really nothing that you can fault."

Asked about the mullet hairstyle that makes him so distinctive and whether he would keep it, the 28-year-old added: "I think it's going to stay, mate!"

Cameron Smith surged to victory at The Open with a stunning final-round 64, edging out Rory McIlroy and Cameron Young to claim his first major.

The Australian started Sunday's round four shots back from leading duo McIlroy and Viktor Hovland but kept his cool to triumph over Young by one stroke on a thrilling day at St Andrews, finishing on 20 under.

He extinguished McIlroy's hopes of ending an eight-year major drought at the 150th edition of golf's oldest major, where record crowds were treated to a memorable tournament, even if they were denied the champion the majority wanted to see lift the Claret Jug.

McIlroy's closing 70, during which he passed up a series of birdie chances, was only enough for third spot as Young eagled the last to take second and Hovland faded to finish six shots off the pace, alongside Tommy Fleetwood.

The focus initially was firmly on the final pairing, who sat on a four-shot advantage, and it was Hovland who blinked first, three-putting for a bogey five on the fourth and McIlroy's lead was two when he birdied the fifth. 

But as Hovland stalled, it was Smith who led the charge of the chasing pack, making gains in five consecutive holes after the turn to move to the summit on 19 under. 

He showed nerves of steel to hole a tricky putt for par on the 17th and then made a birdie at the last after Young had found the hole for an eagle.

That left McIlroy needing a two at the par-four last to force a play-off as fans poured onto the 18th fairway at the home of golf, but he could only manage a par as a new major champion was crowned.

 

Rory McIlroy said he and co-leader Viktor Hovland "fed off each other" in a thrilling third-round pairing at the Open Championship.

The duo each carded 66s on moving day at St Andrews to share the 54-hole lead on 16 under par, four shots ahead of nearest rivals Cameron Smith and Cameron Young.

McIlroy's stunning hole-out eagle from the bunker on 10 was the highlight of his round, though he gave a shot back on 17th after clattering into the wall down the right side of the notoriously tricky Road Hole.

A pair of birdies at the last ensured McIlroy and Hovland will head out on Sunday level pegging in pursuit of the Claret Jug at the landmark 150th edition of golf's oldest major.

"I thought it was really good," the Northern Irishman, who was crowned Champion Golfer of the Year in 2014, said of his round. 

"I missed some opportunities early and Viktor holed a couple of long ones early on.

"But I stayed really patient, got my first birdie of the day on five, and I feel like my patience was rewarded around the turn with a couple of birdies and that hole-out on 10.

"Overall, a really good day. We sort of fed off each other, and navigated the last few holes well. It was tricky coming in there.

"When you're a couple off the lead going into the third day of The Open and you go out and shoot a six under, you're always going to be pleased with that."

McIlroy had magnificent backing from huge crowds on a glorious day on the Fife coast and he was grateful for it, but keen not to get carried away.

"The support that I've gotten this week has been absolutely incredible," said the four-time major winner. 

"I appreciate it and I feel it out there, but at the same time I'm trying my hardest just to stay in my own little world because that's the best way for me to get the best out of myself.

"I try to acknowledge as much as I can, but I'm just trying to stay in my process, stay in my own little bubble and I just have to do that for one more day.

"I just have to just stick to my game plan, stick to the process. The more people bring up the result, the more I'm just going to harp on about process and sticking to my game plan, because that's the only thing I can do, and I've done that well for the last three days.

"It's put me in this position. I just need to do it for one more day."

Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland will form Sunday's final pairing as the 150th Open Championship heads for a thrilling conclusion.

The duo played together on Saturday and both shot third-round 66s to claim a share of the lead on 16 under at St Andrews.

However, it is not quite a two-horse race at the famous Fife links, with Cameron Young and overnight leader Cameron Smith four strokes behind, while Scottie Scheffler and Kim Si-woo are within five.

The highlight of McIlroy's round was a hole-out eagle from the bunker on 10, but he and Hovland were both wayward on their approach shots to 17 as signs of nerves started to show on the notoriously tricky Road Hole.

McIlroy was close up against the stone wall to the right of the green and ended up with a bogey five, while Hovland – whose shot came to rest on the gravel path – recovered to salvage par and restore parity at the summit of the leaderboard.

A pair of birdies at the last kept it that way, setting things up for what promises to be a memorable final day at the home of golf.

Elsewhere in the field on an exciting moving day, Shane Lowry carded back-to-back eagles on the ninth and 10th before the 2019 winner faded on the back nine to sign for a 69.

Patrick Cantlay threatened to join the fun at the sharp end of things when he got to 11 under through 12, but he dropped three shots in the remaining six holes to end up eight off the pace.

SHOT OF THE DAY

McIlroy turned a threat into an opportunity after putting his tee shot into the bunker at the 10th, with rival Hovland having landed safely short of the pin.

A superb bunker shot pitched just shy of the cup and rolled in for an eagle two that piled the pressure on Hovland.

To his credit, the Norwegian got down in two for a birdie that ensured he stayed level with his playing partner.

PLAYER OF THE DAY

On moving day in Fife, it was crowd favourite McIlroy who really clicked into gear.

A pre-tournament favourite, the 33-year-old found his groove to chart a course for his fifth major and first since 2014.

On this form, he will take some stopping on Sunday, even with Hovland for company.

CHIPPING IN

Jordan Spieth: "What's difficult about it is a lot of the pin locations are in these tiny little tucked corners where, if you hit it more than five feet by, it goes 50 feet away."

Shane Lowry: "It wouldn't take Einstein to figure out what went wrong on the back nine. My putting was horrific."

Bryson DeChambeau: "I don't think you ever know how to play this golf course fully. Every day it's different. It showcases a unique golf course each time the wind pops up or doesn't pop up. It's just different."

A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME

- When McIlroy won The Open in 2014, he was 16 under after round three.

- The pairing of McIlroy and Hovland produced just one bogey between them on Saturday.

- Every winner of The Open at St Andrews has been within four shots of the lead heading into the final round.

Tommy Fleetwood is hoping his strong finish to Saturday's round has put him in the mix to challenge for The Open Championship.

Fleetwood made gains at the 14th, 15th and 18th holes to sign for a 66 and get to nine under at St Andrews.

It put him among the chasing pack on a day when conditions on the Fife coast were conducive to low scoring.

And Fleetwood, whose best finish at golf's oldest major was the runner-up spot in 2019, is optimistic he will be among the contenders on Sunday.

"It felt important," he said of his birdie at the last. "I birdied 15, parred 17 and birdied 18, but they all felt really important just being in the position we're in.

"We just can't afford to be dropping back too much and giving away too many chances at this point when you know the leaders are a long way ahead of you and you're trying to catch up.

"I'd have taken it [a 66] at the start of the day, that's for sure. I've just got to sit back and wait and see where we end up.

"It will be nice teeing off [on Sunday] feeling like we have a chance and see if we can get some momentum going on the front nine.

"It would be very cool and very special to be able to have a go again like down the stretch on a Sunday at The Open.

"I'll just wait and see. It's not in my hands. We'll ee what those guys do and if they get too far ahead, I'll be doing my best anyway, but it will be nice to have a chance, that's for sure."

Viktor Hovland sat at the summit through seven holes, the Norwegian getting to 14 under after starting the day on 10 under.

Playing partner Rory McIlroy was two shots back, level with overnight leader Cameron Smith and Cameron Young.

The American trio of Dustin Johnson, Scottie Scheffler and Patrick Cantlay were 10 under.

Scottie Scheffler hailed Tiger Woods' resilience despite the golf great enduring an Open Championship to forget at St Andrews.

Woods carded a disappointing,six-over par 78 in his first round on Thursday, leaving himself with plenty to do to make the weekend.

The 15-time major winner could not muster up a good enough second round, however, with his 75 meaning he missed the cut at nine over. He appeared to be wiping away tears as he received a huge ovation from the crowd on his way to the 18th hole on what could be his last professional visit to the home of golf.

Scheffler had no such issues as the 2022 Masters champion carded 68, meaning he was one shot off the lead when he headed to the clubhouse.

When it was put to Scheffler that Woods might well have made his final Open appearance at St Andrews, the world number one was quick to stress the resilience the 46-year-old has shown across his career, not least to return to top-level golf after sustaining serious injuries in a car crash in February 2021.

Scheffler told reporters: "I don't know if this will be Tiger's last one here. He may have spoken about it a bit.

"But he's a pretty resilient guy and he loves to compete. We'll see what he has in store for us the next few years.

"Any time you can see that guy out on the golf course, especially the Old Course, it's really special. For us as players, to have him around is pretty cool.

"When he got in that car wreck, didn't know if we'd have him back. Just to have him out here playing golf is pretty special for all of us."

Woods was the last player to win both the Masters and The Open in the same year – back in 2005 – though Scheffler is well in the hunt to achieve that feat in 2022.

"No, to be honest with you, I'm just here trying to do my best and put myself in position," the 26-year-old replied when asked if he had thought about such an achievement.

"Thinking about prior wins isn't going to help me play good this week. Just trying to stay in the moment and hit some good shots."

That composure and mentality is something Scheffler is planning to take into his final two rounds.

"For me, just coming in like I usually do and try to do my best, not overthink things and focus on the task at hand," he said.

World number one Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas all missed the cut at the Scottish Open as Matt Fitzpatrick and Xander Schauffele moved into contention behind leader Cameron Tringale.

Masters champion Scheffler followed up a three-over 73 with a 72 for the second round, putting him 12 strokes behind Tringale, who came back down to earth with a 72 following his stunning nine-under 61 in the opening round, failing to recover after a run of five bogeys in six holes.

Morikawa, who will defend his Open title at St Andrews next week, will also miss the weekend following a four-over 74 that took him to five over. He made the turn four over and a further bogey at the second, and a double at the fourth cancelled out three birdies on his back nine.

US PGA champion Thomas endured a nightmare day at The Renaissance Club, carding eight bogeys and a double for his 77, which dropped him to 10 over par.

World number eight Viktor Hovland, Will Zalatoris and Hideki Matsuyama also missed the cut, as did Ian Poulter, playing on the co-sanctioned DP World Tour and PGA Tour event despite his defection to LIV Golf. Poulter finished 10 over.

But U.S. Open champion Fitzpatrick and Schauffele remain firmly in the hunt.

They are each four shots off the pace, though Fitzpatrick's 66 would have been even better if not for successive bogeys on his final two holes.

Schauffele went one better with a 65, his round starting at the 10th with an eagle and ending with a well-executed chip in for birdie at the par-three ninth.

Jordan Smith is also three under after his second round, the Englishman winning himself and his caddie a car with a hole-in-one on the 17th, only to follow it with a closing bogey and card a 69.

Tringale's American compatriots Gary Woodland and Doug Ghim are his closest challengers on four under.

Ghim is in position to secure a place at St Andrews as the highest-placed player not already sure of a place in the field. Kurt Kitayama (three under) and Rafa Cabrera Bello (two under) would also qualify as it stands.

Xander Schauffele was the beneficiary of an 18th-hole double-bogey from leader Sahith Theegala, going on to win the Travelers Championship by two strokes with a birdie at the last.

Schauffele finished the tournament at 19 under with rounds of 63, 63, 67 and finally a 68 on Sunday as wind picked up and the scoring conditions worsened.

The win is the sixth of his PGA Tour career and his first singles win since January 2019, also collecting the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in a team format with Patrick Cantlay in April of this season.

It was Theegala controlling the final stages after he moved to 19 under and the outright lead with birdies at 13, 15 and 17 down the stretch, but after finding the fairway bunker on 18, he muffed his first attempt to get out, requiring another two shots to get to the green, before his bogey putt lipped out.

It meant Schauffele only needed par to claim the championship, and he went one better, finishing in style with a perfect drive, approach and putt for birdie.

Speaking on the 18th green after his winning putt, he said it felt incredible to convert a 54-hole lead for the first time in his career.

"It's incredible," Schauffele said. "I was looking at birdie just to get into a play-off and saw there was a bit of a hiccup with Sahith when I was standing on the tee.

"I knew I had to hit that fairway and hit it anywhere on the green to make par."

Theegala finished tied for second at 17 under along with J.T. Poston, who was one of three players to shoot 64 or better on Sunday (also Chesson Hadley and Scott Stallings).

In outright fourth was Michael Thorbjornsen following a week he will never forget, finishing at 15 under after being the only amateur to make the cut, closing his week with rounds of 65, 66 and 66 to make a statement about his future on the PGA Tour.

Hadley held outright fifth place at 14 under, going bogey-free with four birdies and an eagle for his 64, while Keith Mitchell and Kevin Kisner shared sixth place at 12 under, with Kisner carding a disappointing 71 on Sunday to take himself out of contention.

The round of the day came from Stallings, who went bogey-free with seven birdies for his 63, rounding out the top 10 in a tie for eighth along with Brian Harman, Chez Reavie, William McGirt and Nick Hardy.

A star-studded group finished tied for 13th at 10 under, featuring world number one Scottie Scheffler, number six Cantlay and fellow top-20 American Tony Finau. It was tough work for the stars, with an even par 70 for Scheffler on Sunday, while Cantlay entered the day one stroke off the lead and carded a 76.

Rory McIlroy and recent winner Lee Kyoung-hoon were in the group that completed out the top 20.

Scottie Scheffler has admitted it was "definitely a surprise" to see Brooks Koepka join the breakaway Saudi-backed LIV Golf series as he reaffirmed his commitment to the PGA Tour.

Koepka became the latest big name to join the controversial LIV series this week, following the likes of Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Abraham Ancer to join after its maiden event in London earlier this month.

Those moving have faced significant backlash for their decisions, with Rory McIlroy questioning the approach of the players on Wednesday, and while Scheffler was surprised, he stopped short of direct criticism.

"It was definitely a surprise for me. I was at a function with him last week and that definitely wasn't what we had in mind," he told a news conference.

"We were focused on building the PGA Tour and getting the guys that are staying here together and kind of just having talks and figuring out how we can help benefit the Tour, so to see Brooks leave was definitely a surprise for us.

"With that being said, he's made his decision, I'm not going to knock him for doing that."

The world number one also reaffirmed his own commitment to the PGA Tour and rebuffed any chances of him following in Koepka's footsteps.

"For me, it's not where I see myself heading anytime soon. I grew up wanting to be on the PGA Tour.

"I grew up dreaming of playing in these events, I didn't grow up dreaming of playing the Centurion Club in London or whatever it is. 

"I grew up wanting to play in the Masters, in Austin, at Colonial, the Byron Nelson.

"I wouldn't trade those memories for anything at this moment in time. Those memories to me are invaluable. 

"I would never risk going and losing the opportunity to go back to Augusta every year. 

"There's nothing I would want to do right now that would risk having any sort of effect on the way my life is now."

World number one Scottie Scheffler and fellow U.S. Open runner-up Will Zalatoris paid respect to winner Matt Fitzpatrick after a thrilling final round at The Country Club.

Scheffler started his round with four birdies on his first six holes, going on to shoot a 67 and finish five under for the tournament, one behind Fitzpatrick.

Zalatoris also finished at five under, and had a chance to force a playoff by making a birdie putt on the 18th hole, only for it to narrowly miss wide.

It was a remarkable result for England's Fitzpatrick, who became the first player since fellow Englishman Danny Willett in 2016 to mark his first career PGA Tour win with a major victory.

Scheffler told the media after his round that he was happy with his performance, and highlighted the massive improvements he has seen from Fitzpatrick this season.

"My game is still in a good spot," he said. "I gave myself a chance to win the U.S. Open. 

"Performed really well today under a lot of pressure – I made some key putts there in the beginning to kind of get today going. I just played some quality golf. 

"It just so happened the putts [later in the round] were going around the edge instead of in. That's kind of what it felt like was happening most of the week… a few breaks here or there, and I would be the one holding the trophy.

"Tip of the hat to 'Fitzy'. He's been playing really good golf, and he definitely deserved to win this event. I don't know if you guys noticed, but I feel like he has made some extreme improvements off the tee in a matter of months.

"I played with him in Austin this year, and he was not hitting it nearly as far as he is now. I don't know what he was doing. Maybe he was on the Bryson program or something. 

"He's hitting the ball really well and has been knocking on the door for a long time. He definitely deserves this win."

Zalatoris said he thought his playoff-forcing putt was dropping as he watched it travel, and gave respect to Fitzpatrick for what will go down as a legendary bunker save on the 18th hole.

"I did [think my putt was going in] – with about six feet to go, I thought I had it," he said.

"When he pulled it off [out of the bunker] – tip your cap, well done. Now I have to make birdie and hope he misses.

"I painted that shot right over the flagstick and just hit it a little deep. [Fitzpatrick's] golf shot was one-in-20, at best. To pull it off in that situation is incredible.

"He had to cut it around kind of an island of rough in the middle of that bunker. Probably – I don't know how far he had – I'd say roughly around 160, 170 [yards to the pin]. 

"So he's probably hitting a seven or a six-iron and opening it up, carving it off probably left edge of the green. And to get it to be just past pin-high, like I said, the fact he had a look was just awesome.

"When they show the highlights at future U.S. Opens, that's one that's going to be shown, because that was just incredible."

Matt Fitzpatrick called it a dream come true to win his first major after shooting 68 in Sunday's final round to finish on six under, winning the U.S. Open by one stroke from Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris.

The win is the 27-year-old Englishman's first on the PGA Tour, making him the first player to collect his debut victory in a major since Danny Willett won the 2016 Masters.

It also comes at the same course – The Country Club at Brookline – where Fitzpatrick won the 2013 U.S. Amateur.

Speaking to the media after his stunning triumph, he said this was the culmination of a lifetime of work.

"No words, it’s what you grow up dreaming of," he said. "It’s a day I’ve worked so hard for, for such a long time.

"There was a big monkey on my back trying to win over here, all they ever talked about was that, and to do it as a major for my first win – there’s nothing better."

Fitzpatrick gave himself every chance on Sunday by hitting 17-of-18 greens in regulation, and then produced one of the shots of his life on the 18th hole to work his way out of a bunker for the win.

"I’ve got to give myself credit, I stayed patient today," he said. "I said to [caddie] Billy [Foster] that if I could just hit 18 greens today I’d like to think I’d got a good chance – and I near as damn did it. 

"I got a couple of nice breaks there on 15, took advantage of it and that’s what it took in the end.

"Me and Billy spent quite a while talking about the 18th tee shot, undecided. I hit a three-wood today, into the bunker and if there was one shot that I’ve struggled with that I just do not want, it’s a fairway bunker shot. 

"I don’t know, ability just took over and it’s one of the best shots I’ve hit, of all time. When I saw it leave the sand, I couldn’t have been happier."

Back in 2013 when he won the U.S. Amateur, Fitzpatrick stayed with a host family, and he decided to stay with the same family – the Fultons – this time around.

"It’s meant the world, I’ve won twice now here," he said. "I’m trying to get every Tour event around here now and stay at the Fulton’s. 

"So to have them, or to stay with them this week, has made it so much more relaxing, less pressure – I’ve loved every minute."

He finished his trophy presentation ceremony with a message for Jack Nicklaus.

"I don’t know if Jack’s listening to this, but he gave me a bit of abuse at the start of the year," he said.

"I won the member’s member at his club – the Bears Club – and he said ‘finally, congratulations on winning in the States’. 

"So I can go back to him and say 'Jack, I’ve won a second time this year'."

Scottie Scheffler is enjoying the tricky conditions at this year's U.S. Open, sitting two strokes from co-leaders Will Zalatoris and Matthew Fitzpatrick heading into Sunday's final round.

Despite a strong start, the world number one could only manage a one-over 71 at The Country Club on Saturday, finishing on two-under after 54 holes.

In windy and overcast conditions, only seven players posted scores under par on moving day in Brookline, with nine under par for the tournament after three rounds.

After his round on Saturday, Scheffler was far from bemoaning the difficulties he or the field has faced, insisting it is why he is playing the tournament.

"I think the U.S. Open is very taxing, mentally and physically," he said. "I think that's all part of what this makes this tournament so fun. You're going to get tested all different kinds of ways, whether it be physically, mentally, whatever it is. This golf tournament is going to test you.

"That's why I show up here. I think that's kind of the fun of it. If every golf tournament was like this, it would be in for a long season for all of us. A few times a year I think it's a ton of fun."

After a spectacular eagle on the par-five eighth to go three-under over the front nine, the conditions bit Scheffler hard, posting a double bogey and then three consecutive bogeys between 11 and 14.

A birdie on the 17th was followed up with a massive par save on the final hole after finding the bunker, and the usually stoic 25-year-old let out a rare show of emotion, triumphantly pumping his fist after a tough one-putt.

"It was good because I hit my second shot, and I hit it exactly where I wanted to," Scheffler said. "It got gusted, and it came up short. Where we thought the ball was going to end up was right on top of the bunker where I had no stance.

"So, a hole in which I really thought after a good shot on the second round I was going to walk away with five, to get out of there with four was definitely a big boost.

"I knew how hard the putt was, and that's why I was so frustrated because I had a chance to get it somewhat close, and I didn't hit a great shot."

Will Zalatoris and Matthew Fitzpatrick share the lead coming into the final round at the U.S. Open, finishing a tough Saturday on four-under par at Brookline.

Only nine players at this third major of the year have scores under par after 54 holes at the Country Club, and the tied lead between Zalatoris and Fitzpatrick only came after Jon Rahm's dreadful final hole in overcast and blustery conditions.

The world number two had the outright lead coming into his final hole on moving day, but three consecutive bunker shots and a two-putt led to a double-bogey on the par-four 18th and three-under after 54.

Zalatoris and Fitzpatrick have not won as professionals in the United States, with the former agonisingly finishing second at the 2021 Masters and this year's PGA Championship.

With Zalatoris finishing his round earlier in the day, Rahm finished as the conditions further cooled, placing particular difficulty on the approach to the green with club selection.

A visibly frustrated Rahm was able to compensate with some exceptional putting on the back nine, however, sinking a long birdie putt on the 14th to put him level with the two leaders. Three birdies between 14 and 17 were undone by the last hole, however.

Scottie Scheffler recovered from a double-bogey and three consecutive bogeys between 11 and 14 to finish Saturday on two-under, securing a birdie on the 17th before a massive par save on the last after hitting the bunker.

The usually stoic Scheffler did not hide his emotions with a triumphant fist-pump after the save, which left the world number one tied with Adam Hadwin and Keegan Bradley.

Joel Dahmen and Collin Morikawa fell down the leaderboard after opening Saturday with the lead on five-under. Morikawa's natural left-to-right game particularly suffered, shooting a seven-over 77.

Dahmen is joined on one-under by Sam Burns and Rory McIlroy, who only made seven greens in regulation but stayed in contention with a string of saves on the back nine.

 

Shot of the day

After two birdies and a bogey through his first seven holes, Scheffler really shone on the eighth.

His stunning eagle on the par-five hole saw him leap into a two-shot lead at the summit of the leaderboard.

Player of the day - Will Zalatoris

In a day characterised by survival in blustery conditions at Brookline, Will Zalatoris was one of the few on Saturday who thrived.

His ball-striking shone on an overcast day, scoring only one bogey as the rest of the field struggled to find the green.

 

Chipping in

Zalatoris: "Yeah, that was brutal. When I made a mistake, I made sure I was on the fat side of the green or having room where I could maybe at least chip one up there from eight to 10 feet."

Scheffler: "There's a lot of trees on this golf course, and it's gusty as well. So it's definitely unpredictable. I think that's what happens when you get these foresty golf courses, and then with the gusts, I mean, that little golf ball is just getting thrown around all over the place." 

 

A little birdie told me...

- Victory on Sunday would see Fitzpatrick emulate Jack Nicklaus, winning the U.S. Open at the same course he won the U.S. Amateur, after beating Oliver Goss at the Country Club in 2013.

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