BMW PGA Championship: How Tommy can benefit from a Pep talk
Ralph Ellis reckons a bit of Manchester City magic can rub off on Tommy Fleetwood at Wentworth this week.
"Just as Manchester City ground their way through all-comers in the Premier League, keeping standards high week-in and week-out, so Fleetwood has got this year off to a similar standard, only three times finishing outside the top 20 in 11 events."
If nothing else, Tommy Fleetwood seems to be able to pick his partners. Two rounds with Tiger Woods at Augusta, and then playing with Pep Guardiola on the day that Manchester City clinched the Premier League title. How star-studded is that?
Fleetwood is with Pep again today in the Pro-Am at Wentworth, before he gets down to the serious business of the BMW PGA Championship, and it's hard not to think there's a good reason why they have become such friends: winners attract winners.
Fleetwood [15.0] is second favourite this week behind Rory McIlroy [9.6] in the Winner's market and I think that's well worth a punt with [2.56] a top ten finish to cover the stake.
No doubting the credentials of both Woods and Guardiola when it comes to winning, of course. But you still think of 27-year-old Fleetwood as very much the new boy. It's only a year ago he was getting ready to play the Open at Royal Birkdale billed as the man who'd come from nowhere.
But just as that was a fallacy because his "overnight success" was based on several years of hard work and steady progression, so his status now as number 12 in the World Golf Rankings hasn't happened by accident either.
Picking Pep's brains
Behind his scruffy long hair and relaxed demeanour, Fleetwood is as dedicated as they come. And while as an Everton fan he might have a conversation or two about football with Pep while they are playing their friendly rounds of golf, you can be sure he is also picking the brains of a serial winner.
He's admitted as much. "Whether it is performance based or psychology or whatever part of sport, we can have those conversations for four hours while we play," he said recently.
What Tommy and Pep have got in common is a love of consistency, of not following one amazing performance with a shocker.
I get that Steve Rawlings doesn't fancy him because of his poor course form, but that is the record of a developing player where the current model has found a new level.
Just as Manchester City ground their way through all-comers in the Premier League, keeping standards high week-in and week-out, so Fleetwood has got this year off to a similar standard.
He wants to stretch himself
He arrived at the West Course with a phenomenal record from his debut as a PGA tour member, only three times finishing outside the top 20 in 11 events.
There's one missed cut - when he struggled at the Wells Fargo Championship in early May - but otherwise he's ended every tournament with a score under par, and of course there was the highlight of that third round 66 at Augusta.
There's a lot to like about Fleetwood's attitude. I love that he's still using Nike irons even though the American sportswear giant stopped making clubs two years ago. With his current status he could doubtless collect a fortune for changing, but why compromise his game for a few quid?
I like too that after winning the Race to Dubai on the European Tour last year he's stretching himself by taking up his option for PGA membership. Like Pep he's always looking to improve.
You fancy another round with the Manchester City manager might just provide a bit of inspiration.