Tommy Fleetwood reflects on RBC Canadian Open loss: ‘like the Ryder Cup’

Tommy Fleetwood had a front-row seat for Nick Taylor’s epic 72-foot eagle putt that etched his name into Canadian glory.

When that now-famous putt dropped, Taylor became the first Canadian to win his country’s national open in 69 years. He did so on the fourth playoff hole, leaving Fleetwood agonizingly short of his first PGA Tour victory.

But now, one year later, Fleetwood reflected on that moment, an experience he compared to the Ryder Cup.

“I would have loved for it to have gone my way, but it is still very cool to be a part of, and the support that I’ve had from the fans here and the people involved in the tournament has been really, really great, so I do appreciate that,” Fleetwood said Wednesday.

“People are still talking about [last year’s tournament] and probably will do for a long time in the future.”

Canadians across the country rejoiced when that putt dropped, which The Toronto Star declared as the nation’s sports moment of the year.

“It was actually on its way to being a Ryder Cup,” Fleetwood explained further.

Tommy Fleetwood, PGA Tour, RBC Canadian Open

Tommy Fleetwood congratulates Nick Taylor at the 2023 RBC Canadian Open.
Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

“There were a couple of really cool things for me. First, the support for Nick; he had a whole nation behind him, and I think that was amazing. I know what that feels like and it’s great. They weren’t that bad with me, they just definitely didn’t want me to win, which was fine.”

Funny enough, one month later, at Royal Liverpool in England, Fleetwood, who hails only an hour from Hoylake, had the hometown crowd behind him. So yes, if anyone knows what it feels like, Fleetwood certainly does. You may recall the cries of “C’mon Tommy-lad” bellow across Royal Liverpool despite Brian Harman decimating the Open Championship field.

Nevertheless, Fleetwood did not have any fans behind him at Oakdale a year ago, but he did have a few players stick around to cheer him on.

“A bunch of the European players came out to watch the playoffs, and when I saw those guys coming out, I thought that was one of the coolest moments, just having that support from those guys,” Fleetwood said.

“For me, that was a really touching moment, and they would come out and watch me play and support me because they sort of understood what the atmosphere was.”

Fleetwood, who clinched the winning point for Team Europe in Rome last year, could feel the importance of the moment last June.

“I think having tournaments like that and atmospheres like that is, yeah, a huge reason why we do what we do,” Fleetwood said.

Nick Taylor, PGA Tour, RBC Canadian Open

Nick Taylor tosses his putter after holing a 72-foot eagle putt to win the 2023 RBC Canadian Open.
Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

“Those events and those moments live in everybody’s memory as players, really, and they’re very, very cool. It was enjoyable.”

As soon as that putt dropped, Fleetwood knew he had to get out of the way. But he lingered around for 10 or 15 minutes before departing for Los Angeles for the U.S. Open.

“Amazing moment. I missed Adam [Hadwin] getting tackled. That might have made me feel a little bit better watching that one, something else to talk about,” Fleetwood added with a laugh.

“Look, it was a very special occasion, and you don’t get that every day, but I think when you do it just shines a light on the coolest moments that sport and the game can give.”

Of course, one of the funniest moments of the PGA Tour came at Hadwin’s expense. A security guard tackled Hadwin as he rushed the 18th green to join Taylor in celebration. The video of the incident immediately went viral and is still talked about today.

But Fleetwood, all jokes aside, knew the importance of the moment, even in a time of defeat—a testament to who he is as a person and as a competitor.

“It wasn’t my time, it was Nick’s, and the whole of Canada had amazing moments to remember and cherish,” Fleetwood said.

“You play the tournament, and when you’re finished, you get your stuff, and you leave, and you go on to the next one. That’s just how it is. I flew to the U.S. Open and tried to jump into that event as quickly as possible. Obviously, I knew I was playing well, and I wanted to focus on that. But I had an absolutely fantastic time playing.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top