Skip to main content
The 151st Open

Fleetwood daring to dream


"I've visualised winning this a million times"

Tommy Fleetwood signs an autograph for a spectator during a practice round at The 151st Open, Royal Liverpool

Tommy Fleetwood is daring to dream as he looks to turn his visions of an Open triumph on home soil into reality at Royal Liverpool.

The 32-year-old grew up in nearby Southport and will not lack for local support this week as he bids to become the first Englishman to lift the Claret Jug in England since Tony Jacklin in 1969.

Fleetwood has come close to Open glory in recent years, sharing fourth at St Andrews 12 months ago and finishing second behind Shane Lowry at Royal Portrush in 2019.

That experience allowed him to witness the other side of a home crowd willing one of their own over the line and he is determined to feel those emotions himself in the coming days.

“I’ve imagined it about a million times,” he said. “Winning a major is a dream and winning The Open is a huge dream, no matter where it is.

“Having the opportunity to do it so close to where you grew up is very unique and very special. I’ve visualised it a lot, the next thing is doing it.

“It was nice playing yesterday, I had a lot of people out supporting on a damp day.

“No matter where it is, I’ve had great support at The Open and every few years in particular it feels very close to home.”

Fleetwood made his Open debut at Royal Liverpool in 2014 but admits he never got out of first gear when missing the cut on that occasion.

The world number 21 is a different proposition these days and his game is not the only thing that has changed, with the venue itself having undergone numerous alterations since last hosting golf’s original major.

Tommy Fleetwood during a practice round ahead of The 151st Open

“I don't know the course that well,” said Fleetwood, who joins world number one Scottie Scheffler and Adam Scott in a feature group from 9:47am local time on Thursday morning.

“I haven't played it as many times as I would like, but I do know it better than most.

“Obviously I've played here as a junior, but then I haven't played it at all since the last Open.

“When it's an event that is so close to home, obviously it comes with its own mental challenges, with your own expectations, and with everybody else's.

“But it would be silly and daft to look at or try and find negative elements to do with that. It's an amazing feeling playing in front of so much support and having that, it's very special.

“It would be silly to not go out with the aim to enjoy it and embrace it and see what you can do out there.

“No matter what happens, it's going to be a week that you remember. I still remember the first Open I played that was here.

“I didn't play very well and I was so nervous and so inexperienced but it was still so special to play in front of a home crowd. The same at Birkdale.

“Of course I have the ultimate goal of trying to win The Open, and I would like to play well.

“I'll be disappointed and I'll be upset if I don't, but you also have to realise that there's certain things about the week that are very special, and focus on them, as well.”

Fleetwood is not the only Hoylake home favourite in action and Matthew Jordan, the Royal Liverpool member who will hit the first shot, will be another hoping to use that factor to his advantage.

The experience of nine years ago taught Fleetwood how easy it can be to find such an occasion overwhelming but he believes Jordan has what it takes to seize his opportunity.

“He's a great player,” he said.

“I actually played with him when he was like 16 around here, and I remember coming off and saying, this kid is really, really good.

“I think he'll continue to grow, but this is a great week and opportunity for him.

“Being at your home course, it doesn't always follow. You know the course well, but that doesn't mean loads.

“But it's a great opportunity. He tees off first, so hopefully he'll get a bit of momentum going early doors.

“For him, it’s just to enjoy it, trust himself and see what he can do.”

More From The 151st Open