Tommy Fleetwood is unequivocal. The Open is the one golf tournament he wants to win above all others – and this year would the perfect time to do it.
Ever since he cheekily hopped over the fence by Royal Birkdale’s fifth tee as a seven-year-old and watched his heroes practice for the 1998 Championship, Fleetwood’s mind has been focused on the Claret Jug.
He can reel off every winner going back to John Daly’s St Andrews triumph in 1995. Tiger’s 2000 masterclass, Muirfield’s four-way play-off, Padraig’s double, Stenson’s record and Shane Lowry’s Portrush party are all burned in his mind - especially Lowry’s.
Although he is yet to get his hands on golf’s most prestigious prize, Fleetwood’s Open career has been one of exponential growth.
The world number 33 missed the cut at his first three attempts: Royal Liverpool 2014, St Andrews 2015 and Royal Troon 2016.
But just weeks after he finished fourth at the U.S. Open in 2017, he returned to Royal Birkdale and the town he grew up in to make the cut by one and eventually finish an impressive tied-27th.
At Carnoustie a year later, he was just one stroke back at the halfway point but faded slightly at the weekend. He finished tied-12th, on the outside looking in as Molinari, Woods, Spieth and McIlroy went at it on a crazy Sunday. Still, another year, another step closer.
Then came 2019. Fleetwood calls it a privilege to have played alongside his great friend Lowry as the Irishman ripped up Royal Portrush to the tune of just 63 strokes and basked in the limelight as thousands of locals chanted his name. A day later, Lowry became Champion Golfer of the Year and Fleetwood finished six shots back in second.
Read More: Courtesy TheOpen.com