embracing the greatest thing in golf, says Ryder rookie Fleetwood
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[September 25, 2018]
By Mitch Phillips
PARIS (Reuters) - Tommy Fleetwood is
probably the most laid-back man in golf and though he has heard all
the advice about how the Ryder Cup can shred the nerves of the most
stoic, he is determined to enjoy and embrace his first appearance.
After a slow-burn start to his professional career, then a dire loss
of form that left him outside the top 100 two years ago, Fleetwood
has roared back to the top of the European game.
Along the way, he has got married and has a young son who he says
ensures any golfing lows don't last long beyond the scorer's hut.
Now he is not just part of a European Ryder Cup team for the first
time but, ranked number 12 in the world and in hot form, he is one
of the home side's key men.
"The best piece of advice that (Ian) Poulter's given me is that it's
the most special you'll ever feel," Fleetwood told reporters at the
course on Tuesday.
"Whatever nerves you felt up to now, times it by 10, and that's what
you have. But this is what you want and this is what we play for, so
embrace it, take it all in."
Fleetwood is one of five rookies on the European team but, other
than dealing with the razzmatazz of the Ryder Cup, he should feel
comfortable on Le Golf National course where he won the French Open
"I know when this week comes, it makes kind of no difference what
has happened in the past, but it can only be a good thing to have
good memories," he said.
"Whenever you come to a course where you've hit good shots and you
can picture those good shots, it always helps. The last holes here
are tough, but one good thing about the closing stretch is no matter
how nervous you are, there's no bale-out. You have to stand up and
hit a golf shot."
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Team Europe's Tommy Fleetwood during practice REUTERS/Carl Recine
Famously idiosyncratic - by golfing standards at least - the
long-haired "working-class hero" Fleetwood won't stand out for his
shaggy outfits this week as he dons the European uniform.
"Without a doubt, this morning, whatever time I got up and putting
this (European jumper) on, it's the proudest moment of my career.
It's very special," he said.
"The number one thing I've pictured since The Ryder Cup became a
goal is that first tee shot. I've thought about it plenty, but
again, nothing prepares you for the real thing. The grandstand is
"It's something that everybody wants in their career, so as
nerve-racking as it is, and whatever those feelings are, everybody
wants that in their life. So you have to just take it on and let it
"That's what you've got to remember. As daunting as it can be, I
mean, come on, it's not a chore to be playing in The Ryder Cup. It's
the greatest thing you'll ever do in your career."
(Reporting by Mitch Phillips; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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