When Tommy Fleetwood says he’s eager to spend more time with his family, apparently, he means it.
After skipping the purse-rich FedEx Cup playoffs to spend some quality time with family — which instantly ignited rumors that he was destined to flip to LIV Golf — Fleetwood recently committed to the PGA Tour’s Zozo Championship in Japan, which will take place from October 13 to 16.
And when he finally got back to playing on the DP World Tour, marking his first start since the Open Championship, the Englishman lit up the Wentworth Club in Surrey, England. Fleetwood made eight birdies and no bogeys en route to the early lead after posting 64 Thursday at the BMW PGA Championship.
Paired with Shane Lowry and Justin Rose, Fleetwood took advantage of wet conditions in his first appearance since his mother died in July. Lowry also shined, firing a 66 to sit just two shots off the early lead.
“I was happy to be playing. Happy that I was playing with Shane and Justin,” Fleetwood said. “Sometimes it’s about more than the score. It’s about the people you spend the journey with. It’s weird, really, but it’s nice being back.”
— DP World Tour (@DPWorldTour) September 8, 2022
Fleetwood, who currently sits at 29th in the Official World Golf Ranking, said the lengthy layoff was healthy, but made him feel rusty. However, he looked much like the player who finished T-4 in each of his last two starts, the 150th Open Championship and the Scottish Open.
“Six weeks felt like a really long time. It’s felt like two years. You never quite know how you’re going to come out and play, no matter how well you might have practiced or anything,” he said. “Playing in a tournament is very, very different, and I’m always amazed at Tiger Woods just turning up. When he turns up at the Masters for the first time in however long, he cruises around, making the cut, and I think that’s one of the most impressive things.
“But it was nice to be back.”