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July 20, 2018

Tommy Fleetwood

Angus, Scotland, United Kingdom

MIKE WOODCOCK: I'd like to welcome Tommy Fleetwood, who's tied for the clubhouse lead at 5-under.

Tommy, that was an excellent 6-under 65 today. You must be very pleased with how you played.

TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Very. It was just I struggled yesterday tee to green, and it was hard work really to just get in. I mean, it was a good 1-over in the end even though I bogeyed 16 and 17. I had some time on the range last night and came out today and just did a lot better basically. Put it in position all day and holed a few putts in tough conditions at 65 yards. It's a really good round of golf really here in the end.

MIKE WOODCOCK: And a great putt on the last. What a great way to finish.

TOMMY FLEETWOOD: It just helps, doesn't it? I had a great read off of Henrik, and it makes such a nice difference to birdie the last hole with a nice putt, and I did come in with a smile.

Q. Tommy, can you just talk us through the umbrella scenario.
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Everybody seems to want to know about the umbrella.

Q. Did you have to buy one actually?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: No, we stole it. We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We got one given for free, but we don't always carry an umbrella. See, we don't have a sponsor. We don't have a manufacturer sponsor. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship brelly. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.

Q. Tommy, you had six birdies today, all on the holes where you didn't pick up shots yesterday. Was that a strategy thing or was that a conditions thing that's led to that today?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Just a golf thing, I think. Yeah, just -- I only made, what, two birdies, I think, yesterday, but I was never really -- I had the odd chance yesterday, but I was never really that close enough to make them. And just today some of them were nice putts, some of them are really good shots, but overall, I think, it was mostly tee shots that made the difference. Holes like 4, 11, 14, 18. I know I had a great tee shot on 18 yesterday, but I'd hit really good drives in the fairway, didn't leave myself a long way into the green.

So I drove it much better today. You've still got to complete the hole from there, but it makes a big difference if you're not 30 yards in the rough hacking out.

Q. Tommy, you've made the point before, though, it's a very different setup, but was this a much better round given the circumstances?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: No, I don't know. I don't know. I was close. I was close. I think conditions-wise, yeah, it was tough. You're in The Open. It's no course record, but it will do for today. It was a spirited effort today.

Q. Tommy, you've had great success in U.S. majors, especially in the U.S. Open, but with all this increased interest over here, has it taken you some time to become, I guess, accepting all the interest in you doing well in The Open Championship?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: It's nice. I think last year was definitely a bit more difficult than this year in terms of expectation not coming very quickly for me, struggling with my game, and that was a home Open Championship.

But you have to -- you put all the work in, and I've played very well, and I've had some performances that I'm very proud of. Yet at the moment, I've put myself high in the World Rankings, and I've had the U.S. Open just recently, I've had a great result. With that comes expectation, and with that comes you have to learn to manage it and handle it.

You always have expectation on yourself. That's just a given really. But, yeah, it's something that you get used to and something that you have to learn about, but at the same time, it's much nicer than having no eyes on you at all.

Q. Hi, Tommy. What's your frame of mind going to be going into the weekend? Because as you know, this round, obviously, gives you a good chance of winning now, doesn't it?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Well, yeah, but we're only halfway through the tournament unfortunately. Just the same things. I'm going to -- hopefully, the -- I have to say, hopefully the rain dies off, and I'll do some practise later, just to keep things going because I felt like I did some really good work on my swing yesterday.

You're halfway in and you've got 36 holes to go, but there's no point thinking about the end game. Just 36 holes is a long time. It's two days. For me, just keep doing -- just keep doing the same things.

Today's been a round where I've put myself back in the tournament, and I've just got to move on from there really. But just try and keep doing the same things. If I can hit it like I did today, then, obviously, I'm going to have a lot of chances coming in over the weekend, and we'll see where that takes me.

Q. Tommy, a bit of a week of wet winds Wednesday in Lancashire.
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, just like a wet Wednesday.

Q. You've spoken in the past of your affinity with Scotland in general and Carnoustie in particular. You've also spoken about bringing your pooch up here on various occasions. Do you have a pup up here this week?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: No, we have a baby, though. So we've like substituted the dog for the baby. No, we tend not to bring the dog -- it's just a bit odd, I think. I don't think dogs are allowed on the course this week. So, obviously, it would be a bit more difficult.

But it is one -- there's a lot of great things about Scotland. It is a beautiful country, but that's one of the best things, how doggy friendly it is.

Q. Hi, Tommy. It was this round three years ago that went so badly. How proud and how satisfied are you the transformation in those three years?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, I never thought of that. This was a better day than that one. Yeah, I am -- it's something that I've always got to look back on, something that I hope I never do again. But, yeah, I have come a long way as a golfer and as a person. Yeah, this second round was better than three years ago.

But I think last year's second round might have been better than this one. But both are very good. Yeah, I'd best probably think about tomorrow rather than three years ago, but it has been a great transformation in fortunes.

Q. I want to ask you, was there a point today that you felt things were working for you? I know sometimes we like to say, could you tell all along? But could you tell early on that this was going to be a good day for you?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: I mean, I was hitting it a lot better, but I still never felt fully comfortable out there. A lot of the shots were -- I mean, when you play -- normally when you play great, you know where the ball's gone. A lot of the shots, I was just looking up, and I was really happy that they were going straight. I didn't feel fully confident and fully comfortable in my swing. So there's still a bit of work to do there.

I think, yeah, it just seems the course is playing tough today, and it didn't really give you that opportunity to think ahead too much or take your eye off the ball a little bit. There was holes like 12, 13, and then you get to that finish -- 15, 16, 17, 18 -- there's a lot of golf shots to be hit there.

I think the best I played all day was 17, two 2 irons there. The wind picked up, and it was raining quite hard, and I hit two perfect 2 irons, and that was the best hole I played all day.

So it never really -- I never felt at ease all day. But the ball was doing what I wanted it to do.

Q. Tommy, two things: One, obviously, you've been in good form for a couple years now, but did that last round at Shinnecock do anything for your confidence in a major championship?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, well, I was so close, and I've said it before, but a tournament, whether it's a major or not, is 72 holes, and it's where you finish at the end of the 72 holes. The round itself was just something that was very special and very close to being a one and only round on its own.

But to be a part of history was really cool. And just rounds like today, they just show you, when you play well, you're on -- I mean, you are on -- I don't really think you can get a much tougher test than Shinnecock or Carnoustie really, but you're on the toughest test in golf. When you play well, you see them shooting good scores, it's just something that you know that, if you can -- if you can get it going, you can end up shooting a really low score. So to have the ability to do that is something -- well, it's great really.

Q. And just the other thing unrelated to that. In a bigger picture -- I know you're only 36 holes in now, but it's been a long time since an Englishman's won the Jug. Just wonder what it could mean to you. Is that something you think about being the guy to end that long time?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, it would be -- it would be very special. If I could pick -- I can't lie about it. If I could pick one tournament in my life to win, it would be The Open. I've never been anywhere near before. So far for two rounds, I'm up there on the leaderboard.

But, yeah, it would be something to have in my career that would be amazing by the time I'm done with -- whenever that is that I'm playing, The Open is something that I'd like.

Q. Tommy, what was it with your game yesterday that was going haywire? And what did you find on the range to at least get it to this point?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, I -- well, when you're not quite on and you're playing courses like this, it's really difficult to find a swing when you're out on the course, like really difficult, and you end up -- for me, most of the day, I hit it right, and my bad swings are, I get a little bit short, I get underneath it, and I swing in and hit it right. I struggled with that most of the day.

But once you're out there and it's not with you, it's very difficult to find it, whether it's windy or you're in a major or the course is playing firm. So I was happy to get in really.

And then just spent an hour on the range. We counteracted that. I like my stuff getting more neutral, getting the club face more neutral, getting my right hand a little bit more dominant through the swing. Just stronger shots, really, than what I had all day.

And like I said, today it still didn't -- I put some swings on it that were great, but it still didn't feel right where I'd like it to be. So I'll try and do a little bit more work on that later, conditions permitting, but it was a lot closer. Sometimes you need that. Sometimes you just need -- it was late in the evening, and it's just you, your coach, and your caddie there, and you've just got to hit balls and work your way into some good swings. That's what you've got to do.

Q. Tommy, after you'd shot that round, that record 63 at Carnoustie, you said everything felt effortless. You almost didn't even realise how well it was going. Bearing in mind the circumstances going into this round and the fact the setup is even tougher than it was back then, is this a more satisfying round of golf?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD: Yeah, I don't know. I said before, it's not a course record, but it's pretty good. It was -- yeah, it was very, very -- it was a very strong round of golf, and I hit a lot of good golf shots, and probably 6-under -- when you're out there, you hit the shots, and when you come in, you think, yeah, that was really, really good, and it will be like a tough score -- if you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6-under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.

I mean, actually, when we play, it's 7-under. So I'm two shots behind the course record. It's very close. I'm far off, so I don't want to par with each other.

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