Tommy Fleetwood will have his eye on capturing a first tour win in two years, when he won the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa back in November 2019.
The Southport golfer has regained form after a decent finish on the Fire Course last week and poses a solid record around this course with T10 (2020), 2nd (2019), T16 (2018) and T21 (2017).
A Fleetwood victory would not only be a welcoming prospect on Merseyside, but would be fairly popular among golf fans due to his personality and character, along with the respect many have for his game.
Fleetwood ranks 1st in Strokes Gained Total during the 2021 European Tour season and possesses and all-round, high-level standard game with no real weakness.
(See Tommy’s best bits from round 2 of the AVIV Dubai Championship. Video courtesy of The European Tour. European Tour – YouTube)
If there is a weakness though, it’s consistency, which is something that most golfers lack in abundance.
Despite the long drought, it seems the 30-year-old’s game is finally starting to sharpen up after a frustrating spell in his career.
“I think I’m in good shape generally right now,” Fleetwood told Golf Digest.
“My game is in a better place. In life and sport there are always people who are doing great and others who are struggling.
“I’ve been one who has struggled for a bit. But in the second half of this year, I’ve played much better.”
In previous years, Fleetwood has been in touching distance of claiming the crown in Jumeirah, but often falls away either on Saturday or Sunday.
With a little more confidence in his swing and avoiding the over-par rounds, there is no reason why the former English Amateur champion can’t become the 2nd Englishman in a row to be crowned Race to Dubai champion.
The rest of the field
The tournament has taken a massive hit this week, with world number 1 Jon Rahm deciding to opt out of playing duties to spend time with his family.
The withdrawal sees the Spaniard giving up a significant opportunity to take home the crown for the second time in 3 years having won the competition back in 2019.
The 27-year-old is placed 3rd in the RTD rankings behind American duo Billy Horschel and Open champion Collin Morikawa.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy is the tournament favourite after coming off a win at the CJ Cup in the Nevada desert back in October and has his eyes set on a fourth Race to Dubai title at the Earth Club.
The field will be without Englishman and reigning champion, Lee Westwood, whose poor form seems to have continued last week after finishing second last at the Housten Open.
Meanwhile, youngster Matt Fitzpatrick is seemingly playing some of the best golf in his career.
The Sheffield-born is coming off an impressive win at the daunting Real Club Valderrama course in last month’s Andalucía Masters and won the 72-hole Strokeplay at last year’s DP World Championship.
“I’ll be honest and say I really fancy my chances having won here last year and having played well around here,” Fitzpatrick told The Telegraph.
“I could probably play it blindfolded. The big thing for me is the greens are just so pure. They get really fast; they get firm and that’s how I like them.”
A Shake Up on Tour
The European Tour will officially become ‘The DP World Tour’ after the final round of the DP World Championship on Sunday, which will see the winner pocket a mouth-watering £2.2 million in prize money.
The transition will see a new era for European golf in an attempt to prevent upcoming stars from the continent jumping ship to play on the PGA Tour.
(Featured image courtesy of tommyfleetwood.com)