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Tommy Fleetwood – interview

NEIL AHERN: Many congratulations on the birth of your son. Tell us about your experience in the last week or two?

TOMMY FLEETWOOD: I could talk about it for a year I think if you really wanted me to.

Yeah, it’s just, I mean, anybody that has been through it will tell you it’s surreal and it’s amazing. It shouldn’t be beautiful but it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen in your life. Yeah, I think Clare was amazing, and you know, to have them both healthy, it’s kind of a little wake-up — everything has gone all right but I’ve loved it, I really have.

NEIL AHERN: Can you tell us about the name, Franklin Fleetwood?

TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, it was Clare that picked it, really. She picked Frankie. I moved it to Franklin because I like that. He will be called Frankie. But she picked Frankie. When people started asking, my Mum and Dad said — I wanted to call you Frankie, and that was it. It was settled. It will be Frankie. I think he looks like a Frankie.

RORY McILROY: I always enjoy this tournament, and yeah, I think it’s always a bit more expectation on this event because I’ve played well in the past. And I do, I love the course of St. Andrews. It’s my favourite course in the world but I think that might have evened itself out after six weeks off and what just happened.

I’m looking forward to playing, and it’s a great tournament to come back to.

Q. You said you were in the hospital for a week?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Well, Tuesday night, we went in Tuesday night, and then come out Saturday night. So nearly. Not far off. It not a week; it’s four days, five days. Felt like a year.

Q. Is that a new challenge? Is that a good challenge for you to come back after that time off and see where your game is? Doesn’t appear to have changed too much? TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, particularly now this part of the year, it’s a massively important time to sort of play well if you can, massive events. We all kind of know what’s on the line, sort of thing.

I would love to win The Race to Dubai, absolutely love it. I can’t get away from it. I can’t say, I won’t think about it and I’ll try and do — just go through my processes because that’s the goal now.

And we kind of — I think the nice thing is we don’t really get an off-season these days, so that six, seven weeks, has kind of been that a little bit for me. Sometimes it freshens you up. Sometimes you come back really rusty. I was saying before, wig big weeks coming up, and I might as well put the hours in. So I’m looking forward to working hard and playing again and seeing how it goes.

Q. Are you missing the little one or have you got him up with you?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: I’m missing him really. I keep showing people videos of him really. He’s not doing and I think it’s amazing, and people kind of look and think he’s not doing much, but I think he’s running a marathon. I just keep looking at pictures and videos of him. Obviously Clare, FaceTime, she calls me up. He don’t want me, anyway, when he’s awake; he wants his Mum at the moment. It’s all so new at the moment still, but you’ve got to work, haven’t you.

Q. Were you keeping one eye on the leaderboard, The Race to Dubai leaderboard, while you were off?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: No, I can honestly say I didn’t watch that much. I watched the FedEx. I watched THE TOUR Championship because I genuinely enjoy the event and I watched The European Tour because I like watching golf and I like watching some of the guys do well. Thought last week was a great event. I actually sat with Frankie in my arms watching Paul win. I watched everything — (laughter).

But yeah, I’ve been watching it and keeping up-to-date. If you can’t — it’s obviously been more important things going on and I can’t control anything as it is. I didn’t watch what was going on. I just enjoyed watching golf, really.

Q. What’s happened to your team?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: They will be all right. They will be fine. They are just bedding in. Tough, isn’t it. Tough league, really. You get on the wrong side of results, doesn’t quite go your way, but I’m a strong believer.

Q. Danny Willett won the Masters a week after his missus gave birth. That give you any inspiration that can be done here?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, I can’t believe after going through that you can win the Masters the next week actually. It’s an unbelievable couple of weeks. I mean, we’ll see. I think it would be — yeah, those kind of things do happen. When you’re on a high, I think when you’re mind not be fully on golf, it might work in your favour.

I don’t know how I’m going to feel tomorrow when I tee off. I might feel great and be really into it and I might turn up and be thinking about other things. But my game felt good, and I was always looking forward to coming to this week. I played with the same partner for a few years, so I enjoy coming and playing with Ogden and I enjoy the event as a whole. We’ll see.

If I play well, there’s no reason why at the end — I like the venues and everything, but yeah, if other people win when they have just had a baby, why not me.

Q. Was there any sense that you weren’t going to come or did Clare say, get back to work?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, she wants rid of me now. She’s had me for a while. No, I was always going to try and play. I had stayed entered into the British Masters until sort of the last — I think I pulled out on the Monday. It was Monday I pulled out of British Masters. I kind of wanted to play because it’s a great event and I wanted to play because it was Lee hosting the event, and it just didn’t work out.

But yeah, it’s time to come back. As much as I would love to stay at home ask do all them lovely family things, I’m a golfer, so had to come back.

Q. Obviously the next seven weeks, you have a juggling act. What are you planning to play?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: I think it will go on how I play. I’m definitely playing this week, Italy. Spain is a week I want to take at home and spend with the family, and then we’ll see what happens over them last few events.

Yeah, we’ll just see how it goes. I’ll enter every event and see how I play and how things are going and how we feel. Yeah, it is a bit of a juggling act like you say, so it’s still stuff that I’m trying to get used to and figure out in my head.

Q. Could we have some stats? Talking about the baby’s height and weight.
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: I don’t know how high he is actually. His head was 35 centimetres because I was holding him when they measured his head. I know that bit. And he was seven pounds, six ounces, born at 12.33 on Thursday the 29th — 28th? 29th? I’ve forgotten his date of birth already. (Laughter)

NEIL AHERN: Tommy, thank you very much. Have a great week.