‘Second isn’t failure’: says Tommy Fleetwood ahead of the Open Championship as he pays tribute to England players after Euro 2020 final defeat
- Tommy Fleetwood finished runner up at the 2019 Open and 2018 US open
- Fleetwood insists he can emphasise with how the England team are feeling
- The 30-year-old says finishing runner up again would be a ‘great performance’
Tommy Fleetwood knows all about the fine line between triumph and what can be perceived as the disaster of coming second.
So the runner-up of the 2019 Open — the last time it was held — did not find the events of Sunday night difficult to put into context, even though he is an ardent football fan. The 30-year-old Lancastrian was Shane Lowry’s closest challenger two years ago at Royal Portrush. As with the England team at the Euros, he does not see it as a simple case of having failed.
‘I know what it feels like to come very, very close to your dream and not achieve it, so I sort of can relate to what the guys are feeling,’ said Fleetwood, who also came second at the 2018 US Open.
Tommy Fleetwood admitted he can relate to what the England football team are going through
Fleetwood finished runner up at the Open in 2019 and the US open the previous year
‘I understand that people would see it as I didn’t win, so it was a failure. At the same time, this was our (football team’s) best result in a major tournament in however many years. I find it hard to admit that it is a failure. I think it’s progress, and I think they all did great.’
He was asked to consider how he would feel if, a week on from last Sunday, England again finished second in the form of a golfer on the links at Royal St George’s.
‘Runner-up at the Open would equal my best finish in a major,’ he said. ‘The last time I did it, it hurt. I’d be disappointed like the guys are, but sport is very difficult if you’re playing at the elite end. Using the word ‘failure’ is sometimes a bit harsh. It’s not what you would want, it’s not what I want.
‘I think it should still be acknowledged that they did absolutely amazing. And like myself out of 155 other guys, it would still be a great performance. If that’s failure, then I would have failed. It wouldn’t be a bad performance, though.’
Fleetwood says England have made progress despite their defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final
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