Tommy Fleetwood insists he will relish the “grind” of a traditional US Open as he looks to win a first major title at Shinnecock Hills.
Fleetwood was fourth last year at Erin Hills and 27th on his tournament debut in 2015 at Chambers Bay, two courses which were far removed from the tight, tree-lined venues usually chosen to stage the year’s second major championship.
Normal service will be resumed at Shinnecock Hills, which hosted the second US Open in 1896 and most recently in 2004, when winner Retief Goosen and runner-up Phil Mickelson were the only two players to finish under par.
“It’s exciting for me,” Fleetwood said. “I’ve enjoyed those two US Opens and I think it’s an amazing event, but they have not been classic US Opens.
“But I enjoy a test where it’s just grinding away at you all day, you never get to switch off. I do like those type of events. I don’t know how they will set it up. I know they have said the fairways are a bit wider. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
“I think the good thing is that it’s at a different course to last year. A lot of times when you’ve played well the year before at a tournament or at a course and you come back and the expectations are so high, if you don’t quite start or play the way you want to it can get frustrating.
“So different courses, different tests, but it’s my best major finish and it is a tournament that I love. So hopefully I can improve on that.”
Fleetwood followed his fourth place at Erin Hills with a tie for sixth in the BMW International Open seven days later and a week after that won the French Open at Le Golf National, venue for this year’s Ryder Cup.
And the 27-year-old went on to end the year as European number one for the first time, finishing just 58,821 points ahead of Justin Rose on the Race to Dubai.
“Mexico [the WGC-Mexico Championship] was massive last year but I was never trying to win,” Fleetwood added. “I was playing for third spot and ended up sneaking second.
“In the US Open, literally from the first nine holes to the end of the tournament I was in contention for all that period of time; that’s a long time.
“I felt very comfortable doing it and my game was obviously very good that week, but it’s going to be if you’re in contention and when you get there, you need to know that you can stay in a good mental place. So that was huge for me.
“I came out of that with a lot of confidence and then two weeks later, I won again.”