After claiming his first win in three years, Tommy Fleetwood will prepare for the ultimate European golf season by running the scholastic race.
The DP World Championship is only a short distance from the Englishman’s new home in Dubai, and Fleetwood can make even the shortest trips to and from the course knowing he is completing a golf season of real progression.
His thrilling win at the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa last week lifted the 31-year-old from Southport to 23 in the world, his highest ranking since March 2021. It was his first victory since winning the same South African tournament in 2019.
“I don’t win anywhere near as much as I’d like to, but I think winning is a nice feeling,” Fleetwood told BBC Sport. “It’s what everyone here is constantly working for.
“That’s the ultimate goal at the end of the week. So it’s been a long wait.”
After his success in Sun City, he tweeted somewhat philosophically “The moment of victory is so beautiful but it’s too short to live it”.
Asked to expand on that, Fleetwood said: “You never win much, even the greatest players of all time don’t win every time they play.
“But if you can go out there and enjoy it and feel like you’re doing everything you can to succeed, that’s all you can really do but you can get out of that very easily.
“I had a lot of times when I wasn’t having fun. I had great results and I wasn’t enjoying myself this week.
“And I’d rather have a great time and feel like I got something in the week, and I feel like I had fun chasing my dreams and that’s what I think everyone should do.”
And Fleetwood is clearly enjoying his change of location, having deported with his wife, son and sons to the UAE from northwest England earlier this year. Now this week’s tournament feels like a home event.
“It was really cool,” said Fleetwood. “It’s always a little daunting when you make a move somewhere but we wanted to give it a try and we’re very happy so far.”
It would be uncommon to play the $10m (£8.4m) event and be able to sleep in his own bed, but Fleetwood is enjoying the change.
“It’s a little bit different,” he said. “I could drive the cart to the golf course all week.”
“It would be great just to play and be able to go home. My dad is here this week, I’m really excited for him and it’s great to see him.
“It’s a bit strange to play a tournament when you’re running school in the morning, but things are going pretty normal.”
And for Fleetwood, what’s refreshing is the fact that good golf and being competitive are once again the norm. This year he achieved his best ever results at the Masters (14th) and the US PGA Championship (5th) as well as a fourth-place finish at the Open Championship.
“Obviously I’ve been doing a lot of good things and then I come back and at the end it’s that level again and it’s been great,” he added.
The CJ Cup (fourth behind Rory McIlroy in South Carolina) has been an amazing week for me.
“I played great there and then won (last week), so I’ve definitely made progress and my world ranking is starting to go up again.
“The consistency of my game is much better. Golf is stress free when you feel like you’re not going to lose the ball and if you feel like you give yourself a chance every week to have a good week.”
Fleetwood finished a shot behind John Rahm in the 2019 Tour Championship here. At the time he was among the top 10 in the world and current evidence suggests he may be on his way back to elite level.
Another big performance this week will certainly help in that regard. It will be fueled by the benefits of the comforts of home.