Home-field ad­van­tage?

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE -

Few play­ers can claim a home game at a ma­jor, but Tommy Fleet­wood is an ex­cep­tion. But not re­ally. Fleet­wood, who rose to No. 15 in the world with his vic­tory in the French Open, grew up near Royal Birk­dale in South­port. That’s not to sug­gest he knows the links course bet­ter than Phil Mick­el­son, who will be mak­ing his fourth ap­pear­ance at Birk­dale.

“It’s the one course in the area that I’ve prob­a­bly got the least ex­pe­ri­ence on, just be­cause of the ex­clu­siv­ity of it — it’s Royal Birk­dale,” Fleet­wood said. “But I think look­ing at it and peo­ple wish­ing me good luck and peo­ple talk­ing about it, it’s go­ing to be an ex­pe­ri­ence that I’ve never had in my life. And I think very few peo­ple get the chance to have a home crowd that’s mas­sively in your fa­vor.”

He has played at Birk­dale, just not for very long.

Fleet­wood said his fa­ther would walk the dog past the links ev­ery day.

“When I was 7 or 8, we used to sneak on and hit a few shots when no­body was look­ing,” he said.

They’ll be watch­ing now.

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