Sunday, 19 November 2017
Tommy Fleetwood  (Getty Images)
Tommy Fleetwood (Getty Images)

Tommy Fleetwood set his sights on becoming the best player in the world after securing the Race to Dubai title at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

The Englishman arrived at Jumeirah Golf Estates for the eighth Rolex Series event of the season in pole position in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex after a season that had seen him claim two wins, three further top threes and five top tens from 24 events.

His victories at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and the Rolex Series HNA Open de France confirmed his European Tour pedigree while finishes of second at the WGC-Mexico Championship and fourth at the US Open propelled him to stardom on the world stage.

The 26 year old has broken into the top 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking in the process but is now aiming for the very top of the game.

"My ultimate goal in life is to be the best player in the world," he said. "That will always be the same. Whether I achieve it or not is another thing but I'll always strive for that.

"I think this year has been a big year in terms of my career. Some of the performances, I have put myself on the world stage a bit more.

"When we sit down after this year we'll make sure that the goals get high and lofty and that I push myself to achieve more.

"I've got a lot of experience in me after the last two, three years. I know that you can go down the wrong path very easily and I think I've got people around me and myself included that know how to stay on the right path, hopefully.

"I'll always have high expectations but we'll see where we can go. Like I said, the ultimate goal - and I think everybody in the profession should have that goal - is to try to be number one in the world.

"I'll always have 2017 Race to Dubai Number One. It's a very big thing to achieve.

"I'm hoping after I sit down this year with everyone, we'll talk about what we do going forward. The big events, they will always be on our minds. There's a lot around Majors. I'd love to have a couple by the time I'm done."

My ultimate goal in life is to be the best player in the world - Tommy Fleetwood

After becoming the youngest ever winner of the Challenge Tour in 2011, Fleetwood needed a good result at the 2012 SA Open Championship to keep his card, finishing sixth that week and 109th in the Race to Dubai.

He has finished in the top 50 in the Rankings every year since but admits there have been some tough times and moments of doubt, none more so than before last season's BMW PGA Championship where he would go on to finish 69th.

"Wentworth 2016 has always been the benchmark that I've always looked at in that I genuinely wanted to pull out because I didn't think I could get it off the first tee," he said. "I was embarrassed how I was hitting it. In all honesty I was scared of what I was going to do.

"So that has always been a benchmark to see where I've been and where I've come from because that was sort of my lowest moment. However long it's been, 18 months, 17 months down the line, I've won a Race to Dubai.

"I can't give the people around me enough credit. I know I am out there hitting the shots but there's a lot of work goes into it that people don't see. Just grateful for everyone around me."

Fleetwood had a 256,737-point advantage over Justin Rose at the start of the week but after an opening 73, he had slipped to second in the projected Rankings.

A 65 on Friday moved him back into top spot and while he repeated the trick on Saturday, Rose was back in the ascendancy on the first tee on Sunday morning.

The 2013 US Open champion looked to be cruising to victory but three bogeys on the back nine left him needing an eagle on the last and when he carded a birdie, Fleetwood was Number One despite a disappointing closing 74.

"The achievement of winning a year-long accomplishment is massive and it holds a lot of respect amongst your peers and the players," said Fleetwood. "It shows the level of consistency and the amount I've improved as a player and as a person.

"I have nothing but respect for him (Rose) and what he's done in his career. He's got one of the best careers going and he's got a hell of a mantelpiece, I'm sure. It's been great.

"I would have preferred it to have been easier but at the same time, it's been absolutely brilliant going head-to-head and a bit of a dogfight with, in my eyes, one of the greatest players in recent times."

A Rolex Series Event

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Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1RAHM, JonESP18-19
T2LOWRY, ShaneIRL18-18
T2APHIBARNRAT, KiradechTHA18-18
T4GARCIA, SergioESP18-17
T4BURMESTER, DeanRSA18-17
T4ROSE, JustinENG18-17

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