Fleetwood Gaining Despite Loss

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | For Tommy Fleetwood, the 22-year-old English player whose name is being mentioned in connection with next year’s Ryder Cup, 2013 marks the end of an era. Back in August, he won his first European Tour event, the Johnnie Walker Championship, before cracking the top 30 on the European Tour’s Order of Merit. On a less happy note, he lost his most loyal golfing companion. Maisie, the bearded collie who had padded round after him all his amateur days, died on the eve of last week’s DP World Tour Championship from a mix of old age and cancer. Text messages – a hundred and more to date – have been pouring in from old friends among fellow golf watchers. From Maisie’s point of view, Tommy’s amateur career represented the better days as the Fleetwood family would visit one glorious British links after another. It was at Turnberry, for instance, that the then-17-year-old Tommy reached the final of the Amateur Championship. The professional tour, with its round-the-world schedule, is no place for a dog. But as luck would have it, that Johnnie Walker triumph was at Gleneagles rather than on the other side of the golfing globe. Maisie still was able to walk a few holes each day and, at the end of the tournament, she was summoned to the photo call on the last green. “I’m so happy I have those photographs,” said her owner. Gleneagles could sire even more in the way of evocative memories were Tommy to make captain Paul McGinley’s side.


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