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Front line health workers come first, says Tommy

By Richard Williamson

TOMMY Fleetwood has admitted he would rather see a front-line health worker have a test for coronavirus than himself as he ponders the realities of a golfing return in June.

The PGA Tour is planning to tee off again at the  Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas, but that throws up plenty of issues for the Southport golfer, not least the prospective travel restrictions back and forth.

And he also has his concerns about the prospect of mass testing for sportsmen, while other key areas are left wanting.

“Morally, if they are planning on getting all these tests, I don’t know if I want a test before a front-line worker,” he says.

And while football has tied itself up in knots over pay cuts and furloughing of staff, Fleetwood takes a typically bigger picture view of reduced prize funds in golf.

“I’ll be made up just to be playing golf again,” Fleetwood says. “Questions have been asked about prize funds and [the layout of] players’ lounges, but if we can play golf as a living, that’s absolutely amazing. We are unbelievably lucky to play for the amounts we play for in a job we love. The world is taking a pay cut, if we do then it’s absolutely fine.”

The 29-year-old has made the most of the lockdown to enjoy valuable family time in contrast to his usual heavy workload and travel commitments.

“The time we are getting together is amazing,” he adds, while he has maintained his golfing fitness. “I’ve done some really nice work. My body feels good, I’m rested and I’ve been doing work with my psychologist and I’ve spoken to my coaches. I’ve had time to read and think.”

One of the potential victims of the pandemic is the Ryder Cup, which could take place this year at Whistling Straits without spectators… if it happens at all.

Fleetwood was one of the stars of Europe’s 2018 success in Paris.

“If you played one Ryder Cup and didn’t have any fan interaction at all, I think that would be kind of sad,” he says.

“If you think of getting to the FA Cup final, you scored the winning goal and there was nobody to celebrate in front of? Your life’s dream would turn out very different. That’s a selfish, player’s point of view but it 100% wouldn’t be the same without fans.”

Ian Finnis, Fleetwood’s caddie, has used the time to raise £135,000 for fellow bagmen struggling during the shutdown with a raffle of golfing memorabilia, with Fleetwood among those making donations.