Fleet is on but Tommy de­serves to be­come Europe’s main man

Irish Daily Mirror - - SPORTS -

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

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