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A privilege to have such a special event on my doorstep: Fleetwood

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Tommy Fleetwood

Tommy Fleetwood


Tommy Fleetwood

Before this week, the closest Tommy Fleetwood had been to Royal St George’s was playing a junior competition called the Laddie Lucas Spoon at adjacent club Prince’s.

Twenty three years later, Fleetwood’s target is the Claret Jug awarded to the winner of the Open Championship, his favourite tournament in the world and one in which he was runner-up behind Shane Lowry two years ago.

“The Open is just special,” Fleetwood said. “I get excited. For me it’s the most motivating event in the world.

“It’s a home event if you’re British but also for me St Andrews is my favourite course in the world and then you have Open venues like Birkdale, Hoylake or Lytham.

“People go their lives without playing an event that close and it’s the biggest event in the world for me on my doorstep. It’s always going to be up for debate which is the biggest and best event in the world but in my opinion that’s the one.”

Fleetwood finished six shots behind Lowry at Royal Portrush in 2019, but knows it could have been a different story if he had taken full advantage of a shaky start by his playing partner.

After Lowry holed from eight feet for bogey on the first, Fleetwood missed from slightly closer for a birdie and a two-shot swing which would have halved his overnight deficit.

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A bogey on the third and two Lowry birdies quickly left Fleetwood with too much to do and he had to settle for a second runners-up finish in majors following the previous year’s US Open.

“The first thing Padraig Harrington said to me when I walked off was that you have to learn to lose them before you can win them,” Fleetwood added. “It didn’t feel particularly great at the time but it makes complete sense.

“I was stood there on the first tee on Sunday and I played that whole day in the final group. You can’t buy that, you can’t practice that, and when you do get there again you’re that little bit more comfortable and you’ve got that knowledge of what it was like.

“I’d like to be there all the time and if you put yourself in those positions often enough, law of averages says you should knock at least one off.

“Portrush might be the closest I ever get.

"It would be disappointing in one sense but, at the same time, I would look back at it as one of the fondest moments of my career.”

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