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.