CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Coming off a spectacular U.S. Open final-round 63, all eyes would have been on Tommy Fleetwood’s British Open arrival.
As the course record holder here, he’s getting far more attention than most who have never registered an Open top 20.
“It is a completely different course,” Fleetwood said of Carnoustie. “I’ve never played it this firm or fast. Shots that you’ve hit have literally no relevance for a lot of it.”
While the rough is thinned out by the lack of rain, Fleetwood still believes the firmness will reward accurate driving.
“It was definitely apparent that the difficulties this week are probably going to be putting it in play and hitting it in the fairways and going from there,” he said.
With Fleetwood’s odds generally around 20-1 despite only one made cut and no top-20s in the Open, his status is built on last year’s course record here and his second-place finish in the U.S. Open. Fleetwood finished one stroke from victory.
“One shy is a quarter of a shot a round, so it’s not really much at the end of the day,” he said.
Fleetwood wanted to ride the U.S. Open momentum but ultimately chose to lay low, hitting Wimbledon last week. He comes in rested as he was the week of the Dunhill when he posted the Carnoustie record. He is not worried about rust.
The 27-year-old is still glowing from last year’s Open at Royal Birkdale where he was the hometown favorite, highlighted by his Saturday pairing with Justin Rose and first Open made cut.
“I didn’t get anywhere near to doing anything special, but it was still my best Open performance,” Fleetwood said. “I bettered myself in every respect.”
Fleetwood is paired Thursday with Henrik Stenson and Jimmy Walker.