Northern Irishman to carry for Fitzpatrick

The English teenager’s regular caddie had to step down because Augusta officials refused to let him wear sandals

 Amateur Matthew Fitzpatrick of England (left) and Rory McIlroy  walk together during a practice round prior to the start of the 2014 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Photograph: Harry How/Getty Images

Amateur Matthew Fitzpatrick of England (left) and Rory McIlroy walk together during a practice round prior to the start of the 2014 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Photograph: Harry How/Getty Images

Wed, Apr 9, 2014, 13:54

English amateur Matt Fitzpatrick has played down having to replace his caddie shortly before making his US Masters debut tomorrow.

Fitzpatrick, who earned a place at Augusta by winning the US Amateur title last year, was due to have the experienced caddie Lorne Duncan on his bag for the year’s first major championship.

However, Duncan, who also worked for Fitzpatrick when he finished leading amateur in the British Open at Muirfield, usually wears sandals due to a foot problem and was told by tournament officials that would not be allowed at Augusta.

Lee Westwood’s caddie Billy Foster helped Fitzpatrick find a replacement in former Ireland Boys and Youths international and Portrush native Ricky Elliott, who quickly proved his worth by securing the 19-year-old from Sheffield a practice round with Rory McIlroy yesterday.

Elliott was a contemporary of Michael Hoey and Colm Moriarty and played on the Ireland team that competed in the European Youths Championship in the late 1990s. He caddied for former British Open champion Ben Curtis when the American won the Texas Open in 2012.

“It doesn’t bother me,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’m very happy to be here and look forward to the week with an experienced caddie on the bag.”

Duncan was less diplomatic on Twitter, claiming he told the tournament director he was “pathetic” and that “apparently aesthetics are more important than people.”

As tradition dictates, Fitzpatrick has been paired with defending champion Adam Scott and US PGA champion Jason Dufner for the first two rounds, teeing off at 3:41pm Irish time on tomorrow.

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