Wednesday, 08 November 2000
It is well known that a week is a long time in politics and it would seem the same can be said when it comes to the game of golf.

Seven days ago, prior to the start of the Volvo Masters at Montecastillo, Sweden’s Pierre Fulke was one of the European Tour’s less celebrated figures, a man who had won twice, at the Trophee Lancome in 1999 and then this year’s Scottish PGA Championship at Gleneagles, but who still had not fulfilled the talent he quite clearly possessed.

That, however, was before Fulke, 29, from Nykoping, led from start to finish to pip Darren Clarke at Montecastillo and become the first Swede ever to win one of the European Tour’s most prestigious events. Now, having won the 575,654 euro first prize, next year’s Ryder Cup awaits. He will start to receive invites both to the Major championships and to World Championship events. A whole new world is suddenly at his feet.

Tomorrow, Fulke will make his debut in the WGC-American Express Championship, teeing up in the company of former Open champion, Justin Leonard, but, in the meantime, he is still coming to terms with his new status.

“I don’t know quite what last week’s win will mean for me,” he said. “I know it will open a lot of doors but, at the moment, it remains to be seen where they will be.”

Irrespective of what he achieves this week, this has already been Fulke’s finest season as a professional and it is all the more impressive because he missed most of the first part of the season with a wrist injury he had sustained soon after last year’s Trophee Lancome.

“To come back after injury like I have and to be 12th on the Order of Merit is great,” he said. “It’s my best year on Tour and I’ve only played 15 tournaments. I don’t know why I’m playing so good. I’ve barely been practising. I’ve just gone out and played, I don’t know what it is, but I hope it stays here a bit longer.”

Fulke is one of eight European Tour members to be making their debut at this week’s WGC-American Express Championship. The others are Gary Orr, Mathias Gronberg, Phillip Price, Andrew Coltart, Paul McGinley, Eduardo Romero and Michael Campbell.

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