Over the final two weeks of 2013, we will be breaking down players that rose and fell over the past 12 months. Check out the entire series here.
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Ranking/movement: +221 (No. 335 to No. 114)
Why the rise? With one year on the European Tour under his belt, Fleetwood learned what it was like to play with the big boys. Fleetwood had only one top 10 in his rookie year, 2012.
Fleetwood, 22, came into the 2013 campaign with a different approach, turning the struggles of the previous year into motivation for the new season.
“The first year on tour is always difficult, and I wasn’t really prepared . . . having the struggles that I did,” Fleetwood said. “It makes you work harder, and it makes you appreciate your good golf a bit more.”
Fleetwood’s first victory on the European Tour came at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in August and brought with it renewed confidence.
Fleetwood also said he benefitted from playing alongside his fellow competitors. Since his victory, he has been paired with Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia among others.
“It does make a massive difference,” Fleetwood said. “These are the guys you’ve got to learn(from), because this is where you want to be and those are the guys that you want to be playing with and playing like. Even if you play bad, you can’t help but improve from playing with those guys.”
On the season, Fleetwood lowered his stroke average from 2012 to ’13 (71.49 to 70.58) and improved his putting average year-over-year (30.55 to 29.85).
Fleetwood says: “It’s a bit weird that you always end up around where your goals are, and eventually I managed to get the win. And then you’ve just got a bit more confidence . . .you’re playing with the better players. . . and it’s all like a spiral going up. That’s just the way it’s been this year for me. This year has definitely been a big step in my career.”