18 Jan 2022

Fleetwood searching for the reset button in Abu Dhabi

Tommy Fleetwood is battling back to form having lost his PGA TOUR card last season, but he knows how to win in the UAE and is looking to pull from some great memories and results to supercharge his confidence levels. For once in a long time the Ryder Cup star and 2017 Race to Dubai Champion can shy away from the spotlight and let McIlroy and Morikawa take centre stage. We caught up with Tommy to find out what was missing from his game last year and why the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship has provided the perfect reset button.

Coming back to Abu Dhabi must always stimulate some fantastic memories for you. How will the event being played at Yas Links effect your preparation and mind set?
It’s going to be a completely different test. I think I’ve played this course once, maybe twice but I remember very little about it. The course is a different test. But I can draw on having had success in the area. Being the first event of the year, you never quite know what to expect. You’re always feel a bit rusty but once I get getting I quickly get into the flow of things. I’ve two days to learn about the course and I’m keen to get going again.


Images and memories like this for Tommy will provide a huge boost this week in Abu Dhabi.

Is it good to hit the ground running after a long break?
No, definitely. I, for one, never feel anywhere near full due to the sheer lack of competitive golf for a long spell off. Though the last few years it has turned out all right, so I should not forget that.

I remember last year I was three-over through 11 holes in the first round, and I felt all right. Suddenly with a few holes under my belt I managed to figure things out – the pressure of competition certainly sharpens the mind.

I think you must start the week with the mindset that you’re going to take the positives from it and build the season from there. Regardless of it being good or bad there are always positives.

The quality field must provide a solid marker to how your game stacks up against some highest ranked players in the world.
Yeah, for sure. The field is very strong this week.  I’ve been saying it for a while, no matter where you play now, the standard of golf now is so high, margin for error is so small, you are you’re not going to get away with playing mediocre golf.

So, there’s not really any sort of easy weeks on Tour. But that’s great. It’s great for the sport and it’s great for this event to have so many world class players here, and I’m always excited to come back. I love playing over here and seeing how popular it has become. The atmosphere is one of the best and it just fires me up. I just cannot wait to get going.


The big names will give Tommy plenty of media space, so he can focus on his game this week.

Is Yas a true links course?
The wind obviously plays a massive part. So that’s going to play very much like a links. You need to control your ball flight and there are run-offs I think you can putt from around the green, so I guess that’s very links-style. So yeah, there’s plenty of elements that are very linksy.

It’s a different test to what we’ve always had at the other golf course but at the same time, I think still, driving and ball-striking were always paramount at Abu Dhabi Golf Club and they are here, As different as the course might look and feel, there’s still a lot of things that you have to do right on a weekly basis.

We want to see Tommy’s confidence back to this epic level .. he should watch the 2018 Ryder Cup before teeing off on Thursday!

How do you assess 2021 and what you felt maybe needed to improve coming into this year?
I didn’t play well enough last year. I was rarely at a tournament where I felt full of confidence with my game and struggled to link all parts of my game together, I just lacked the rhythm.

It’s tough, and I think every week you get to a golf tournament, there are players that are making the game look easy and there are players that are really struggling. In simple terms, you want to be one of the guys making it look easy.

I struggled off the tee last year, which has always been a massive source of confidence and where I’ve broke courses down and built scores in the past. I think when I was missing that and as a result, I found the game particularly hard. When I look back at the year, there was actually parts and areas in my game that were stronger than I thought, which is comforting.

Like I said previously the standard is getting higher all the time and if you drop a little form it feels worse than what it is. There’s no sort of easy courses or easy tournaments these days, so it was tough to build the confidence back up.








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