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May 22, 2018

Tommy Fleetwood

Surrey, England

NEIL AHERN: I think in your Twitter feed last week, you said home, nothing comes close. Is that a nice thought to take into this week?

TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Well, it's very true, and I have had a great time. I've enjoyed -- for us, it was something new, slightly new style of golf, new faces and he kind of stretched me over the last two or three months and I've enjoyed it.

But I've been excited about coming back for a little bit now. You know, the event, you're returning to Wentworth, which is a massive event and it's our Flagship Event but just coming back home and coming back to the tour where I've spent my life with the same people for the last six, seven years, so I've really looked forward to seeing those people and just getting back around it all, really.

I've been looking forward to it.

NEIL AHERN: You've got mixed results here at Wentworth but you've had a Top-10 and you've played well here. What are your thoughts about this golf course? It's obviously a little different than it has been prior to last year.

TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, I feel comfortable on the course and feel like it suits me. There may be the odd tee shot that don't quite fit my eye and it just so happens that the last couple years, I've had poor performances. One of those years, 2016 was like a bit of a write-off but last year I came in on good form and I didn't quite produce the golf that I wanted to.

But I do, I love the course and I love playing in front of the home crowd that we get here for us, being English and British. I mean, any given week, you never know how you're going to play, but I do, I like the course and I've always felt like it is one of them tournaments that I could do well at.

Q. With all the course changes and the condition of the course this week, is there any strategy that you specifically look to?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Well, I haven't been on the course yet this year. Last year, they had just done the changes. And I mean, honestly, it didn't play that different. The changes are definitely for the better on the golf course but overall, I didn't do anything different with tee shots. Around the greens, there's still certain areas that you don't want to go, and certain holes like 16 is kind of one of the biggest changes around that green.

But again, I'll go out on the course this week and then figure out course management-wise what we'll do but overall, it doesn't play that massively different. They are just changes that make the golf course better.

Q. Daniel is asking, do you have any new clubs in the bag for coming back to Europe?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: No. Nike irons, Nike fairway woods. Callaway wedges and putter and a TaylorMade driver.

But yeah, I had to change. I've got a new set of Nike irons, so they are going to be in the bag for about another two years (laughs). It's difficult. It's very difficult to change when you're so set in your ways. I should branch out eventually probably.

Q. Russell is asking, do you still get nervous before you tee off in tournaments, and if so, how do you deal with those nerves?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, every time. You're kind of better equipped for it the more you do it, and I think honestly in my case, I've had bad nerves where I've felt like I can't keep it on the golf course before.

So now, anything that's not that is fine, and I don't have a problem with it. It's better than feeling like you can't hit it.

You do, you just get used to it and I think you have the acceptance that it kind of never goes away. There's always that excitement and nerves no matter where you play and what tournament you're in, and when you get to a tournament like this, no doubt about it, I'll be nervous on Thursday but it will be in a good way.

Q. You're on from the start of the Rolex Series, and obviously you won one of these events last year. Now that we've had a full year of Rolex events, do you sense from the other players and the setup, and maybe the fans even, that there's a different level to that these Rolex Series Events reach?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: I think these events basically make a massive impact on The Race to Dubai or they make a massive on World Rankings in the year. More so than, say, your regular events just because they have that prestige put on them. They get the fields that I think we're looking for now.

I think it's that. Just at the end of the day, you win one of these Rolex Series Events and it opens up all kind of avenues and you're going to make as big a leap as you possibly can on The Race to Dubai.

I think people do -- it's important not to sort of differentiate it from what you do week-in, week-out, and I think there's -- if you look at the winners of the events last year, they are good players. They are top players in the world that are kind of ready to win big events and I think it has that feel to it that when you're coming down the stretch on Sunday, if you're in contention to win a Rolex Series Event, it's a massive event to win and you've got to be ready for it.

Q. Obviously Thomas Björn is making a big Ryder Cup announcement later today. I just wondered, how difficult is it for you not to look too far ahead and not get too excited about being involved?

Yeah, it's difficult. There's no getting away from it. The Ryder Cup, for any of us, is a dream. I'm desperate to play in The Ryder Cup, but the more you think about it and the more you put too much pressure on yourself to make it; if I was to go out and start on Thursday with a couple of bogeys and you're thinking about the Ryder Cup in September, it's only going to add pressure.

So for me, I'm still massively kind of trying to improve my game in different areas and every day I try and do that, and every week I try and win a golf tournament, and come September, hopefully that all results in me being part of that Ryder Cup Team in what I think is just set for one of the best Ryder Cups ever.

Q. You're playing in the Pro-Am at Pep Guardiola tomorrow. I know you played with him when he clinched the Premier League title. What's it like playing a round with him?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: He's a good character to be around. He's quite an inspiring person to be honest. He's a successful person in his own right, and you know, I get on great with him. We stay in touch now, and he's very competitive, so he'll be right up for it tomorrow.

But yeah, being around people like that can only help you and make you better, whether it's golf or a different sport. If you're hanging around with people that are successful in their sport, it's only going to help you.

Q. And just lastly, obviously the U.S. Open next month and you had a fourth-place finish last year. How confident are you that you can improve on that in New York?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Well, that's the aim of the game is to improve on yourself. So for me, it would be great to improve on that. It would be difficult; there's not that many places to go from fourth, but if I do, then it will be a great week.

I like the U.S. Open as a tournament and as how they set up the courses, but I've yet to play what people would call a true U.S. Open setup. I've played two and they have been Chambers Bay and last year at Erin Hills. I've yet to play like their true U.S. Open venues, so I'm looking forward to that.

Q. Thomas is wondering, what is the best part of your game right now?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Very personal question. (Laughter) statistically, generally, it's always driving. Driver is my strongest club in the bag, really, I'd have to go for that.

Q. Anthony Buss: What area of your game will be most important to scoring well this week?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: That's a good question. I would say from previous years, especially as the course, they let it firm up as the week goes on; if the weather's good, then that's what's going to happen and it becomes ball control with your irons and your short clubs, really. The greens get firm and you have to try and put it in the right spots around the greens and control your pace and your spin. So I would say ball control with your irons.

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