Fleet is on but Tommy deserves to become Europe’s main man
TOMMY FLEETWOOD will relish his duel in the desert with a thorny Rose.
Sitting at the top of the Race to Dubai rankings, the World No19 will be a marked man heading into the season finale at the DP World Tour Championship.
Only Justin Rose and Masters champion Sergio Garcia can catch him in the race to be crowned the European Tour’s top player.
Fleetwood, who backed up a win at the Abu Dhabi in January with another victory at the Open de France in July, is one of the success stories of 2017.
Each year, you’ll hear differing opinions on who Europe’s best player is – but you can’t look past the guy sitting at the top of the money list.
As well as those two wins in the UAE and France, Fleetwood was runner-up behind World No1 Dustin Johnson at the Wgc-mexico and recorded a fourth place finish at the US Open.
Add in seven other top-10s and a further four top-25s and he has been relentless in his efforts to lead the way.
Personally, I would love to see him go on to add his name to a sparkling list of Race to Dubai champions that includes Henrik Stenson, Rory Mcilroy, Luke Donald, Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood.
He has great character, is a fantastic player and he is good for the game. It’s been a pleasure seeing him maximise his full potential this year and becoming Europe’s No1 player would be another golden staging post in that journey.
Has it been a flawless journey though?
No. He has endured a few bumps along the way, including a dip in form that saw him plummet to 188th in the world last year.
I firmly believe that a decision to go back to his old coach Alan Thompson has saved his career.
Like many players before him, Fleetwood was guilty of altering his swing in a bid to improve and it took time to realise he had stumbled down the wrong path. Returning to Thompson, he went back to basics and it has paid off.
His personal life has also changed dramatically. His former agent Clare Craig is now his fiancee and mother to their first child and that has had a positive impact off the course.
A happy golfer is generally a better golfer and the fact close friend Ian Finnis has returned as his caddy has boosted that dynamic.
The simpler you keep things the better and Tommy is a simple lad in the best possible way.
He’s a typical Scouser – a Blue, unfortunately – but it’s important that his light-hearted personality is given room to blossom.
He has the right team around him now and that means he’s teeing it up with a smile on his face. That grin will only get broader if he lifts the Harry Vardon Trophy this Sunday.
Close pal Finnis is boosting Tommy
THUMBTHING SPECIAL Tommy Fleetwood in relaxed mood yesterday ahead of the DP World Tour Championship