Tommy Fleetwood Europe’s new hero
EUROPE’S jubilant golfers celebrated with their wives and girlfriends yesterday after they routed the US in the Ryder Cup.
Huge cheers broke out from 60 000 spectators in Paris as they reclaimed the trophy they lost to the Americans two years ago.
British heroes including Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter were mobbed by fans and teammates as US veteran Phil Mickelson conceded the game 17½ to 10½.
The players were joined on the fairway by their partners, with Spanish stalwart Sergio Garcia in tears as he embraced wife Angela and Italian Francesco Molinari kissing his wife, Valentina.
Among those being carried away on fans’ shoulders in Paris was golf’s newest hero – 27-year-old Briton Tommy Fleetwood. The long-haired Merseysider started the tournament a relative unknown. That all changed when he became the competition’s first debutant to win his first four matches.
He said: “I’m a little bit emotional right now. I’m just glad we’ve done our job for the team. We’ve had a great time.”
But as he embraced his wife, Clare Craig, one-year-old son Frankie, stepsons Oscar and Mo, 10 and 11, and father Peter and mother Sue, he was completing a remarkable turnaround.
Two years ago Fleetwood was struggling, having fallen out of golf ’s top 180 in the midst of a long losing streak he said was “killing my game off”.
He credits his wife with saving his career. He met the sports manager, who is in her 40s, as he was struggling to make his mark on the game and in 2015 she started to represent him.
He is now ranked 12th in the world and the couple live in a £1million (R18m) home in the Cheshire countryside.
They married in the Bahamas in December while Fleetwood competed in the Hero World Challenge, hosted by his own golfing hero, Tiger Woods.
Speaking recently about their professional relationship, he said: “It works very well. I do as I’m told when needed to. Luckily for us, we get on so well.”
Despite his newfound success, friends and neighbours where he grew up in Southport believe Fleetwood won’t lose touch with his roots.
One, who asked not to be named, said: “Tommy is a really nice lad just like his parents and he’ll still play a round of golf with anyone despite his fame.”
His father, Pete, drinks in The Harbour Bar, near the family home.
Landlord Ged Brannan said: “The family are really down-to-earth with no airs and graces.”
Fleetwood’s first coach, Norman Marshall, who taught him from the age of six to 11, has tipped him to reach the very top.
Marshall, 49, who still teaches at Formby Hall golf course, said: “His technique is perfection.
“He has nerves of steel and doesn’t hit many wayward shots. I think he’s ready to win a major.”
Marshall said Fleetwood still turned up at Formby Hall and helped train youngsters.
“We have a major star who will join in with all the classes and kids’ games. It’s unbelievable.” – Daily Mail
Tommy Fleetwood of England plays a shot on the 1st tee during the Ryder Cup 2018 at The Golf National in Guyancourt, near Paris, France, last week.