Tony spoke to former Reuters golf correspondent Tony Jimenez to discuss Tommy Fleetwood’s victory at the Nedbank Challenge and his own plans to relaunch the Jacklin Design Group:
“Being in contention for the last few holes of a tournament is like walking a tightrope for a golfer because one step out of place and everything can go crashing to the ground.
There’s nothing quite like it. You need to be super focused, super sharp and if all comes off, boy, it’s such a special feeling. We all play to win and when you manage to prevail, it gives you such a massive high.
There’s no high quite like it. No drug can ever take you to that place, not that I’ve ever taken drugs, but it’s a wonderful experience.
Tommy Fleetwood was lucky enough to go through that experience on Sunday and, after ending a 22-month wait for a victory and picking up a first prize of almost two million pounds, you can rest assured that he’ll always a soft spot for South Africa in the future.
His confidence will be sky high for this week’s season-ending European Tour event in Dubai and, in golf, 70 per cent of this game is about confidence and self belief.
Take the example of Francesco Molinari. He enjoyed a remarkable season last year, winning The Open and taking five points out of five at the Ryder Cup.
But he’s had a long barren spell this season since he let slip a great chance to win The Masters in April and he has recently admitted that he lost a lot of confidence as a result of what happened to him at Augusta.
We all anticipated great things from Tommy a couple of years ago and he hasn’t quite delivered in the big tournaments, the Majors. The first round will be important for him in Dubai. If he can make a good start by posting a low number and getting engaged towards the top of the leaderboard, he’ll be one of the title favourites, for sure.
On some personal news, I have decided to relaunch the Jacklin Design Group after my remodelling of the local golf club here in Bradenton was so well received.
We finished our work on the course last year, the club picked up 75 new full members and were very happy with the outcome. From my point of view, it’s heartening to know that the knowledge and experience I have accumulated in 58 years spent travelling the world playing this great game of ours can be put to good use.
Our experiences at Bradenton have given us the opportunity to do something similar at another golf club in the area. Because of the heat in Florida, all the courses in this neck of the woods need attention every 10 or 12 years.
There aren’t many new courses being built anywhere in the world these days. In fact, look at England and Scotland, courses are being closed down there left, right and centre. Renovating and remodelling seems to be the way to go and from the point of view of the clubs, it’s all about attracting new members.
Bradenton Country Club, for example, is the centre of the community here, so anything we can do to make courses more attractive to golfers has got to be a good thing.”