UAE has a strong place in the world of golf: Tommy Fleetwood

Dubai-based British pro says winning is very hard and you are judged by the tournaments you win

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Leslie Wilson Jr

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Tommy Fleetwood of England tees off on the 7th hole during the final round of Dubai Invitational golf tournament. — AP
Tommy Fleetwood of England tees off on the 7th hole during the final round of Dubai Invitational golf tournament. — AP

Published: Tue 16 Jan 2024, 6:17 PM

Tommy Fleetwood is not the UAE’s ambassador for golf but he could well be given the high esteem in which he holds the country’s golfing industry and his love for Dubai, his home away from home.

Speaking at the Emirates Golf Club on Tuesday as he bids to complete back-to-back victories in Dubai this week, Fleetwood stressed on how important the UAE is to the future of professional golf.

"It's very important,” said the golfer who hails from Merseyside in the North West of England.

“I think it's held a place in the world of golf for a long time, and it should do for a long time in the future. I think everybody has great things to say about here (Dubai).

“You have iconic golf courses. People watch tournaments played on these courses year-in, year-out and I think people are very, very passionate about the game,” Fleetwood added.

“I don't know what the numbers are, but there's definitely a strong ratio for people playing the game. I think more golf courses will be built. I think more people will take up the game and I think it will keep growing here.

“So it definitely has a strong place in the world of golf.”

Fleetwood, who became a seven-time winner on the DP World Tour after beating off Rory McIlroy to win last week’s $2.5 million Dubai Invitational at the Dubai Creek Resort, said he always had Dubai in his sights long before he became a resident three years ago.

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Fleetwood, who lives close to his Tommy Fleetwood Academy (TFA) at the DP World Golf Performance Centre at Jumeirah Golf Estates, commented: “I think it's been a big part of (my life) I grew up dreaming of playing on the DP World Tour.

“A lot of my heroes are on this tour and the Middle East has been a big part of that for a long time. Living here, I always get to see a lot here and play a role in the development of young golfers out here and how big the game is for the nation.

“The kids go to school here, so it's obviously got a really nice homey vibe, and I see a lot of faces that I know very well week-in, week-out, and that's always nice,” he added. “I think Dubai and the Middle East has such a strong place in the Tour's calendar.

“Everybody just associates the Middle East with both the start of the year and the end of the year, and I think everybody feels very at home here, very comfortable. They are always excited about coming back, it's got a lovely feeling to it always.”

Looking ahead to the challenges he will have to face in the Hero Dubai Desert Classic which tees off on Thursday.

Fleetwood felt it was important to play the par 5s well at the Majlis course.

“There's definitely scoring holes out on this golf course, and I think they are big separator holes,” said the cool-looking 32-year-old who is as famous for his shaggy hairstyle and trendy beard as he is for his skills with his putter.

“If I play those well, and then you go through a tough stretch on the middle of that front nine. You have to just hang in there.

“The course can play tough. If you don't drive it well, it's going to be hard to score. You'll need your wedge game to be on and your putting.

“If there’s a chance to get on a roll, stay patient, and see if you find yourself up there at the end of the week.”

Fleetwood cited the 18th as a great finishing hole because he associates it with so many great moments.

“I think that hole is one of the holes that I get excited to play the most,” he said while acknowledging that winning was not easy.

“Winning is very hard and everybody judges you on the tournaments you've won,” he said. “So you have to play to a high standard, keep practising to a high standard, putting yourself in those positions all the time, and then you get a chance of winning.”


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