The past 12 months haven’t been great for sport. Footballers were playing to empty stadiums, F1 racers streaming past eerie, empty stands and most sportsmen were stuck just trying to keep in shape without leaving the house. For British golf star Tommy Fleetwood however, it’s all pretty much back to normal already.
“When we started playing again (after lockdown), I realised that as golfers, we are lucky to be able do our job again! We are playing a tournament and living in relative normalcy and carrying on. In a sense, there might be no crowds, but we are on a golf course playing like we have always done. A lot of people don’t have that opportunity at the moment and I think knowing how lucky we are is so important. To appreciate that and to know what your real life is at times, I think is really important. Golf is my work, it’s my daily job and I play golf to earn a living, but it’s also my passion, my dream and my enjoyment.”
Like pretty much every recognisable sportsman out there, Fleetwood’s found himself with a sponsor for his wrist, none other than TAG Heuer. Sure, Rolex might dominate most of the clocks in tournament golf along with guest spots from the likes of Omega, but TAG Heuer at least have more synergy than their collectors liking a few rounds on the links: their connected golf watch.
“I love wearing this watch both on and off the course,” lauds Fleetwood. “The features are really well thought out, making the game more precise and I can’t think of a golfer whose game wouldn’t benefit from it. I really enjoy the distance shot feature, I see how my drive is performing on the golf course considering the real conditions I am playing in, the timing of this has worked perfectly for me as I’ve been testing my new clubs. It has played a big part in my recent practices and tests.”
For Fleetwood, that practice is perhaps more important this year than ever before. Not that he’s not one of the best names in the sport, it’s just that for whatever reason his skill has yet to translate into a major win, to the point where he’s generated parody songs on the subject. If you’re a golf fan, look up Sam Harrop.
“Like anybody, I have my frustrations when things are not going my way or when I feel like I could be doing better. But I have had a few years of really consistent golf and I think consistency is key to winning. If I can keep that baseline of my consistent golf and keep playing well and keep pushing, then the extra wins will come. I feel like consistency is my thing.”
Most golf pundits are pretty much in agreement with Fleetwood there. Given his past games, it seems just a matter of time before he nabs an overdue major – particularly if his performance in the last Ryder Cup is anything to go by.
“We were the last group out in the morning session at the Ryder Cup Europe had already lost the first three matches and there was me and Francesco out on the course with all square with three to play and I think I birdied 15 and 16, and 16 was one of my most memorable putts in my career. I was very unexperienced, it was my first Ryder Cup, but I remember thinking ‘thank goodness I pulled through’ – and I pulled through and managed to help those two putts. This was an amazing moment for me.”
So, for those of us with a few quid earmarked for the betting office, when exactly does Fleetwood think he will win his first major? “Hopefully my next ten years will be my biggest ten years with many more Ryder Cups because that is such a special event. I am at a very good spot in my life now. My son Franklin is three and a half, I am married, I am well settled in so many ways off the course. I have got 11 years of experience under my belt, so hopefully these will actually help achieve the things that I have dreamed of and the things I expect for myself.
You never know what is going to happen, so I just take it as it comes. The Open is always the one that brings the most joy to me because it is the one tournament I could choose to win and feel very comfortable with the conditions. I am not saying that is my best chance but that is definitely the one I would choose. I always feel like when Majors come around, it brings the best out of me.”
The Open Championship will be teeing off on Thursday 15th July at Royal St. George’s Golf Course. For more information and to book tickets, visit The Open.