After most major tournaments, it's the caddie who's first to congratulate or comfort the golfer. In this instance, it was the other way around.
When Matt Fitzpatrick won the 2022 U.S. Open on Sunday, his caddie Billy Foster pulled his hat over his face to hide the emotion that comes with being on the bag for a major winner for the first time after 40 years of caddying.
The 27-year-old Fitzpatrick, having just claimed his first major victory, threw his arm around Foster, leading to the two sharing a laugh and a hug.
Having previously caddied for notable golfers including Seve Ballesteros, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and even a stint with Tiger Woods, Foster has had close calls but never been able to secure that elusive major.
"I've probably had six or seven really close calls, a couple heartbreaking losses," Foster said after the win, per Golf Digest. "It was tough to stomach sometimes."
A potential close call became a thrilling victory on Sunday, capped with Foster giving the flag on the 18th hole a celebratory kiss.
"Well, normally people have a monkey on their back, but I had a gorilla on my back," Foster told Michael Collins. "Can't even think about me not being excited, I'm just like 'Phewww. What a relief.' After all these years he's finally kicked one over the line."
It didn't come easy on Sunday for Foster and Fitzpatrick, who paired up in 2018 after Foster's run with Westwood ended. A potential playoff loomed after Fitzpatrick, nursing a one-stroke lead, sent his tee shot on 18 into a fairway bunker. He recovered with a shot Fitzpatrick called "one of the best shots I’ve hit of all time" and saved par. Foster and Fitzpatrick stood beside one another as Will Zalatoris lined up for a 15-foot birdie putt needed to force a playoff. The putt narrowly missed the cup, leading to Foster's emotional reaction and Fitzpatrick's embrace.
"[Fitzpatrick's] normally a great putter and he missed quite a few short ones today. I'm like, 'You little bastard,' Foster said with a laugh. "But, unbelievable, 17 out of 18 greens, never missed a shot all day. So, he was great."
That led to a long-awaited celebration for the longtime caddie.
"First and foremost, it was a relief," Foster said. "But let me tell you, tonight and next week I think I'll have a liver like a football. They'll be a big party going on tonight and all next week."