Posts Tagged 'Fleetwood'

While I was gone…

Yes, I have had my feet up for a week. Finding a week to take some holiday in the middle of the summer is not that easy. This was far from an ideal one either with the European Individual, Boys Home Internationals and the Reid Trophy along with a few other things going on. Considering I had a bit of a birthday to celebrate it was family first in my case though and as I now glance through what happened in the last week I come to realise how much golf is played in very little time.

Does anybody share my feeling that shooting 59 has all of a sudden become much more possible? Perhaps it is the Roger Bannister effect all over again that has more players out there really trying to do it? Stuart Appleby became the 5th player in the PGA Tour history to reach the magic number and as he talks through his round at the press conference he makes it sound like no big deal at all. This could be the start of what to expect from professional golf in the future I suspect. The crowds love to watch players scoring low and making birdies and if you, like golf, are in the entertainment business then of course anything that will attract people’s attention is good. Perhaps we sooner rather than later will end up with the two different types of golf – one game that is played on Championship golf courses for the majors and one that is played anywhere, with the sole purpose to please the crowds. I doubt that the latter will be 72 hole stroke play events every week in the future!

Talking about scheduling by the way… Stuart Appleby played his 11th week in a row when he finished with the 59 to win the Greenbrier Classic. With the Bridgestone tournament and then the PGA Championship he will add up to 13 weeks on the trot. And if you have followed what happened to Tommy Fleetwood in his busy stretch of tournaments you know that he ended up winning the English Amateur, after coming straight off his second place finish in the English Challenge. He followed this up with flying out to Finland for the European Individual, an event where he finished runner up. 2-1-2 over the last three weeks in high quality fields is not that bad is it? It seems like there is something to be said about playing yourself into form… With this Tommy shot to the  number one position in the Scratch Players World Ranking which is a pretty awesome way to finish your amateur career. With the Home Internationals this coming week it will be crucial for Tommy, as for Stuart Appleby, to then recoup and make sure that there is energy there to go the rest of the season as well.

Some not so great news came from the Boys Home Internationals where England were pretty far from defending their title from last year. This is obviously hard on the people involved as they are working incredibly hard to be successful. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from Stuart Appleby here as well as he said his aim had been to play his way out of the bad form he had been in for a month or so. We will of course review the main events this summer carefully, both on the boys’ and men’s side and come back even stronger!

The noble art of preparation

Tommy Fleetwood

For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by the million dollar question of how to best prepare for a golf tournament in order to peak your performance. Athletes in all sports spend hours, days, weeks and months to try to find out what is right for them and it seems like most sports have come a lot further than golf and golfers. A simple excuse that is often used is that golf is so different from other sports as it is much more complex. It is physical in that  you play over four days plus practice days in sometimes exhausting heat, but it is nothing like a marathon or a cross-country ski race. It is psychologically demanding in that every shot takes a more or less difficult decision and successful execution of that decision means sticking to it like there is no tomorrow. But then again, it is probably nothing compared to shooting or archery. Golf is tactical as it most of the time is you against the course but then again, what sport at the highest level is not tactically demanding?

I am sure that many other sports would fall under the same category and be just as complex as golf. Perhaps that is also what makes them so interesting and unpredictable. I do seriously also wonder if there is any other way to properly prepare for those sports than to play the sport itself. The Swedish professional, Daniel Chopra, once played 40 tournaments/weeks in a year. When I asked him why he did that he said:-

“That is why I turned professional. I enjoy playing.”

Tommy Fleetwood, England, Lancashire and Formby Hall, is en route to something similar. His schedule from early June has been more than intense. Starting with the Amateur Championship which is not exactly a normal event with 36 holes of qualifying followed by 36 holes of match play per day for as long as you are in the Championship, he then flew out to France to compete in the qualifying for the French Open (yes, he won that one nicely…). Tommy then came back to England for the Brabazon Trophy after which he returned to France for the French Open. A missed cut there meant he could return to Heathrow to catch up with his mates on the flight out to the European Championships in Sweden. The Europeans is certainly not a normal week either and with Tommy being the leading player on the team it had him playing no less than 180 holes over the seven days of practice and competition.

By now we have made it to the Open Championship week and Tommy actually has a week off. This lead him into the English Challenge at Stoke by Nayland, his first crack at a Challenge Tour event. After four days of competition there Tommy finished second, only to jet off to the English Amateur where he teed it up in the morning the day after for the first of the two qualifying rounds. 6 rounds later Tommy is playing the semi final at Little Aston this afternoon, against fellow European Champion Tom Lewis.

Of course a schedule like this cannot go on forever. The worst case scenario is obviously that it leaves Tommy in burnout, with Glandular Fever or something similar. Having said that though, in any walk of life, if you want to be good at something, the basic rule is to make sure that you do it a lot. If there is any truth to that Tommy has got a bright future!

Follow the final matches of the English Amateur here.

Back on track!

I sure did pick a busy week to take some time off! I had not quite left when Paul Casey holed out at Wentworth to win that fabulous tournament called the PGA Championships. What better thing can there be than to win in the style that Paul did in front of hishome crowd? The win at Wentworth took Paul into 3rd place of the Official World Ranking and of course we are all now starting to wonder what Paul can do in the majors that are still to come this year.

When Paul won he overtook Henrik Stenson who had moved into third position in the ranking after his win at Sawgrass. Henrik has now gone back to 6th place after two quick missed cuts following the TPC. It is quite interesting that I think. Perhaps not that Henrik has missed two cuts in a row after that huge win but the fact that he gave himself the chance to do it. Why fly straight out to Europe after such a massive energy consuming thing likethe TPC must have been for him? Of course the PGA Championship is not a tournament a player like Henrik can miss. He would get into all sorts of trouble if he did. But hand on heart – is it really fair to expect anything but a missed cut after what he did? 

Having said all this, golf is a very individual sport and the only important thing is for each player to find out what is right for him. Perhaps Henrik has tried to play the week after a big win and perhaps he on most of those occasions have benefited from playing as he clearly has been on good form. To proof that my logicdoes not apply at all to him Paul Casey travelled straight out to the US after his win at Wentworth to make it in time to Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth where he teed it up on the following  Thursday morning. How he did? Well, 5th place and another $248,000 in the bank might have been worth the trip!

In Scotland this last week the hunt for places on the Walker Cup Team going to the US in September continued. Tommy Fleetwood did himself a lot of good by winning the Scottish Open Stroke Play Championships and talk about winning in style. Tommy was 8 shots ahead of his nearest compatriot!

For full results from Scotland click here.

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