When you’re in the rough the hole is never far away eh Tommy
Tommy had to wait two years for his first professional win to come, at the 2013 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, with many more expected off the back of that maiden triumph.
However, the victories didn’t come, and the 12 months that followed July 2015, when Fleetwood missed the cut at the Open Championship, led him down a path to which he admits he came close to never recovering from.
In a brutally honest and insightful interview earlier this year with HSBC, ahead of the first successful title defense of his career in Abu Dhabi, Fleetwood gave a stark insight into just how much his game, and mental state, had deteriorated.
“I always felt like I would constantly progress, but it turned out that wasn’t the case,” he said.
“Struggling with your game and seeing people play really good golf that you can’t do, was something I hadn’t experienced before. It’s so easy to start trickling off in the wrong direction in this game, and I can actually pinpoint when this started happening for me.
“I shot three under in the first round of The Open in 2015, I love St Andrews, and I thought this is a great chance to really do well in a Major. The second day I turned up and I couldn’t hit it, I was horrendous. And from that day I began the downward slope for a year.”
the Lowest of the lows
After missing the cut at St Andrews, Fleetwood then missed four of his next five on the European Tour, and decided enough was enough.
“I text my dad and said ‘Dad, this is really bad, what do you reckon?' And he just said the only person that knows your swing as well as I do is Thommo (Alan Thompson), who was my old coach. I text him and said can I send you some of the videos of my swing.
“Then I went to work with him on the range where he works where we spent two and a half hours hitting balls. We then went onto the tee, where I took a four iron out and hit six shots in a row right and into a pond. At that point we looked at each other and he said ‘yeah, that’s pretty bad’.
“We had a month or two working together where things weren’t really improving, and he has told me since that he did actually question whether I’d gone too far down the wrong path where I might never come back from.”
Back to basics
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the Highs again?
Thankfully for golf fans around the world, and for Tommy himself, he did come back from those low moments, that now seem a distant memory for the humble Fleetwood.
Tommy is back up to number 10 in the world rankings and showing a consistent run of play in the major events so far. A 17th place in The Masters, 7th in The Players and now the runner up spot in the U.S. Open means for you gamblers out there, The Open Championship could be a delightful each way bet.