As nice as it is to have a Christmas break, when you have just enjoyed a good year you can spend the holidays itching to get back out on to the course to pick up where you left off.
To the delight of European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn, no doubt, that’s exactly what Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm – three of the leading candidates for his team – did in style this week, all continuing their fine 2017 form with their first wins of this year.
On his return to the Middle East, Race To Dubai winner Fleetwood looked as good as I’ve ever seen him play as he successfully defended his Abu Dhabi Championship title on Sunday.
Topping the European order of merit last season seems to have transformed Fleetwood, 27. While he was hanging on to the No1 spot a little towards the end of that campaign, here he looked much more in control. His 30 on Sunday’s back nine was extraordinary and at times his golf was nothing short of perfect.
I felt sorry for Ross Fisher, who had shared the overnight lead, while Rory McIlroy played some glorious shots in what was a very positive week for him, but they both came up against someone playing better and it is always good to see the winner take the title with great golf.
For Fleetwood, it’s a flying start to the season which not only puts him back at the top of the Race To Dubai leaderboard but also virtually guarantees his place in Bjorn’s Ryder Cup team.
Another man all but certain to be representing Europe in Paris later this year is Masters champion Garcia.
The Spaniard, who pushed Fleetwood hard in the Race To Dubai, signalled his intention to rival him again by winning by five strokes on his first outing of 2018, at the Singapore Open on Sunday.
Completing a perfect week for Bjorn was Garcia’s fellow countryman Rahm, who was magnificent on his way to winning the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour.
Rahm’s win only came after a four-hole play-off with Andrew Landry, but the prodigious 23-year-old had been knocking flags out all day.
This was another display to emphasise what we have all been saying about him for a while now. He is now up to No2 in the world, it is a matter of time before he becomes No1 – and all this from a player less than two years into his professional career.
Only Tiger Woods has had a more meteoric rise than Rahm and the pair will be in the same field this week when the 14-time Major winner plays his first event of the year at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Seeing defending champion Rahm take on Tiger, a seven-time winner bidding to make a comeback, could be billed as the future versus the past. Either way, these are great times for golf viewers – especially European ones.