Tommy Fleetwood only just squeezed into The Players Championship last week. The Englishman’s form has dropped off to such an extent that he went into Sawgrass in 49th spot in the world which is some drop from his career-high of 9th at the end of 2018.
“I haven't played well. I think there's been certain things in my swing, if you like, that I haven't quite understood, and I would say feelings and shots that I have seen haven't quite matched up with what I've always felt and thought like. So then your confidence takes a hit because you're not quite comfortable out on the course. The standard is so, so high and it keeps getting higher, when you're off the pace and you're lacking confidence, the game becomes very, very difficult,” he explained.
“My results haven't been terrible, but I've lacked obviously very good results. And then I think especially from a world ranking standpoint, that makes it very, very difficult. So I've just sort of been gradually declining.”
One of the stand-out takeaways was Fleetwood’s new look, his trademark whispers being a thing of the past, which was a by-product of his loss of form.
“I was in a really bad mood. It was like break some golf clubs or shave my beard, then I went for the beard. It was kind of in a mess, and I was going to shave it. Then I was sort of in a bad enough mood where I couldn't be bothered putting the clipper on, like on number nine, so I just took it. It will grow back.”
Although it might not be to Fleetwood’s wife’s preference and he’ll be growing back the beard he does think that it’s taken years off him.
“It was my 31st birthday in Abu Dhabi this year, and I was playing with Viktor Hovland and Collin Morikawa, and both of them were looking at me like, we had to Google your age. I thought you were 37, 38. That's a pretty harsh comment, to be fair. When I shaved it off, I think it took about 15 years off me. Everyone kind of noticed that I look a lot younger without the beard. That's a positive. As long as I can keep my temper and keep smiling, then I won't have to shave it off again.”