TOP 30 PLAYERS TO WATCH
No. 12: Tommy Fleetwood
December 19, 2018
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- December 19, 2018
Tommy Fleetwood’s tee shot sets up 4-foot birdie at THE PLAYERS
What stands between Tommy Fleetwood winning for the first time on the PGA TOUR and becoming a bona fide star in 2019?
Not much, and he seems to know it.
There was Fleetwood, all by himself on the practice putting green, before the other 29 players had even shown their faces at the TOUR Championship at East Lake last season. There was Fleetwood, going 4-0 with partner Francesco Molinari at the Ryder Cup in France just a week later, leading the European rout.
Oh, and don’t forget Fleetwood coming within a dimple or two of making birdie at the 18th hole at Shinnecock Hills, a birdie that would have given him a U.S. Open record 62 and tied him with eventual winner Brooks Koepka. (Fleetwood finished second.)
Fleetwood, 27, stands on the precipice of stardom. He’s a four-time winner on the European Tour, has all the physical tools from driving to putting, and is fearless. Birdies? He makes a ton. In addition to his final-round 63 at the U.S. Open, he shot a third-round 62 at the BMW Championship at Aronimink. He had six top-10s in 19 starts and finished 19th in the FedExCup.
Whether or not his terrific Ryder Cup performance fuels a bigger career leap remains to be seen; he finished T7 at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in his only TOUR start of the fall. -- By Cameron Morfit
BY THE NUMBERS
Current 2018-19 position: 82nd
Playoff appearances: 1
TOUR Championship appearances: 1
Best FedExCup result: 19th in the 2017-18 season
SHOTLINK FUN FACT
Tommy Fleetwood led the PGA TOUR in Par 5 Birdie or Better Percentage last season at 56.32 percent (107 of 190).
PGATOUR.COM’s Insiders offer their expert views on what to expect from Tommy Fleetwood in 2019.
TOUR INSIDER: Fleetwood is one of those players who seems to be good at everything. His strength is probably driving, where he was 17th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee last season, but it’s a hard call because he was inside the top 50 in every major Strokes Gained category. A rare disappointment was his final-round 73 and T12 at The Open Championship, his national Open. If Fleetwood can come up with the big shot in the big moment in 2019, the way he did alongside Molinari at the Ryder Cup, it won’t be long before he’s raising his first TOUR trophy. -- By Cameron Morfit
FANTASY INSIDER: It's rare when an international non-member transitions seamlessly onto the PGA TOUR and generates as much value as he did in just 19 starts in 2017-18. It's rarer still that he's done nothing to deter us from investing confidently in every format despite his relative inexperience in the United States. Yet, gamers must continue to respect the Englishman's curtailed schedule due to obligations on his home circuit, but he's the strongest talent with a TOUR card and without a TOUR victory. Go with the flow. -- By Rob Bolton
EQUIPMENT INSIDER: Fleetwood’s irons were the topic of arguably the most interesting equipment story of 2018. Former Nike staffer Fleetwood uses VR Pro Blade irons, but the issue is, it’s the last set of the irons he has. That’s obviously a problem, in case something happens to one of the irons. That being the case, he offered to buy fellow ex-Nike staffer Paul Casey’s VR Pro Blade irons … but Casey wouldn’t give them up. Fleetwood’s irons are still going strong, however. While Fleetwood uses a new TaylorMade M3 driver and a Titleist 917F2 3 wood, he still games a Nike Vapor Fly 5 wood (the one with the blue crown). He fills out his bag with Callaway Mack Daddy wedges and an Odyssey White Hot Pro #3 putter. -- By Andrew Tursky
STYLE INSIDER: Fleetwood is one of the players who is bringing a modern streetwear vibe to the course. Nike’s Roshe shoe is one of the brand’s most iconic streetwear models, and Fleetwood has fully embraced the golf-specific version of the shoe. Expect the Ryder Cup star to lace up the 2019 version of the Roshe G Tour with a cleated outsole and waterproof upper next year. -- By Greg Monteforte