Tommy Fleetwood aims to transform 'low five out of 10' season in Dubai final
But, as he prepared to go into battle in the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, the Englishman admitted he’s facing a tough task against two of the game’s “superstars”.
Fleetwood, who is bidding to repeat his 2017 success, sits second in the standings, sandwiched between American duo Patrick Reed and Collin Morikawa as they bid to create history by becoming the first US player to claim the crown.
It’s been a solid, rather than spectacular season, for Fleetwood, who finished second in both the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open but didn’t manage to produce his best stuff in the majors.
“It would be a low five,” he replied to being asked what mark out of 10 he’d give himself. “I feel like I might be being a bit harsh, but, as golfers and as sports people and as competitors, you always look at what you could have done better.
“I don't feel like I've done anything like I would have liked to this year. I've had a couple of seconds and a third on the European Tour, but those events where I played well, I feel like I had a good chance of, especially Portugal and Scotland (where he lost to Aaron Rai in a play-off).
“My consistency levels have not been up to what I would like them to be and I felt like there's certain things I've struggled with this year about my game. But, at the same time, I feel positive about this week and going into next year.”
Fleetwood boasts a splendid record on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Estates, breaking par in 16 of the 24 rounds he’s played there, including a 65 in the final round last year as he finished second to Jon Rahm.
The Spaniard is not defending his title, with Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry also deciding to skip the season-ending event, but, for Fleetwood, it’s a big chance to sign off the year on a high.
“My season might be low five at the moment, but this week could easily ramp it up,” he added. “Last year, I had a strong finish to the year, and it made the year very, very different. My game feels good.”
While Reed, the 2018 Masters winner, has played in a number of regular European Tour events in recent years, current US PGA champion Morikawa is making his debut on the circuit this week.
“I think whoever wins the Race to Dubai will be a worthy winner,” insisted Fleetwood. “Patrick has won a World Golf Championship this year, he's been one of the most consistent players on the planet.
“Collin is a major winner, and I don't think it will do any harm whatsoever to have their names on the trophy, though I’m obviously planning on that not to happen.
“It's good for the Tour that there's Americans and superstars that are coming over and they are trying to win the Race to Dubai, no matter how many events they have played.”
A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.