For an illustration of why Tommy Fleetwood will be a player to watch at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth this week you only need to listen to his fellow Englishman Justin Rose.
Rose recently gave Fleetwood a glowing report, saying that he looks to copy him when they play together. Given that Rose is a Major winner and Olympic champion – not to mention 10 years Fleetwood’s senior – compliments don’t come much better than that.
He particularly highlighted how composed Fleetwood remains, how he never gets angry on the course, as qualities that he hoped to emulate. Rose himself is known for his calm demeanour, so that was really saying something.
Rose’s words underline how Fleetwood has developed into one of the most highly regarded players on tour over the last 18 months. He followed up winning the Race To Dubai with a promising start to this season that included defending his title in Abu Dhabi and he returns to home soil off the back of a top 10 finish at The Players Championship.
Fleetwood’s driving ability and aggressive style should see him flourish at Wentworth. It used to be a big hitters’ course but now it’s more about accuracy and plotting your way around. There are still lots of birdie opportunities, though, and players will love it. I drive past it every day and it’s looking out of this world.
It isn’t the first time we’ve said this, but Rory McIlroy could really do with a good week. I thought that his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March would revive his winning habit but he hasn’t really built on that.
I don’t know what’s wrong with Rory. His game is still good but his putting hasn’t been great – he seemed to have fixed it by changing technique, but some issues remain – and he just seems out of sorts. With three of this year’s Majors still to come – the US Open is only three weeks away – he will want to iron out any flaws soon.
Alex Noren is the defending champion this week and he will be hoping that a return to the scene of his victory prompts an improvement in form.
The Swede came from seven strokes behind to win last year but has had a mixed time since, with almost as many missed cuts as top 10 finishes. A player of Noren’s quality should be up there winning and Europe needs him to be ready for the Ryder Cup in September.
Otaegui shows match play credentials
One man making his case for Ryder Cup selection last week was Spain’s Adrian Otaegui, who won the Belgian Knockout tournament, which combined stroke play and match play.
The 25-year-old’s previous win on the European Tour was also a match play competition – last year’s Paul Lawrie-hosted event – and that will not have gone unnoticed by European captain Thomas Bjorn.
Bjorn has so many factors to consider, including the fact that Otaegui’s current ranking outside the world top 50 makes it harder for him to accrue automatic qualifying points, but he has made sure that he will be considered at least.
Wise: beyond his years
Also celebrating on Sunday was Aaron Wise, who landed his maiden PGA Tour title at the age of just 21.
Wise, who was born in South Africa but moved to the United States as a small child, saw off overnight co-leader Marc Leishman to win the AT&T Byron Nelson by three shots.
He took control with a phenomenal run of six birdies in seven holes from the fourth and then parred his way to an amazing victory that will stand him in fantastic stead.