Tommy Fleetwood’s memorable return at the BMW PGA Championship

Tommy Fleetwood, BMW PGA Championship,(Photo by Oisin Keniry/Getty Images)
Tommy Fleetwood, BMW PGA Championship,(Photo by Oisin Keniry/Getty Images) /

This week’s BMV PGA Championship at Wentworth has had its early share of headlines, with both the PGA and LIV Tour golfers competing on the same stage for the first time since the Open Championship.

Despite plenty of tension surrounding the event leading up to it, it all seemed to subside once the first round began. However, before the cut was even made, play was suspended due to the passing of The Queen. During all this drama, one feel-good story emerged: Tommy Fleetwood at one point sat atop of the leaderboard at -8, alongside both Viktor Hovland and Andy Sullivan.

What makes this story so appealing is that this was Fleetwood’s first event since his T-4 finish at the Open Championship almost 2 months ago. Why is that? The Englishman’s life was turned upside down when his mother suddenly and sadly passed away.

Tommy Fleetwood takes some time away from the game.

Obviously distraught, Tommy Fleetwood stepped away from the game to be with his family, forfeiting his place in this season’s FedEx Cup Playoffs.

Fleetwood was quietly enjoying a strong season, ranked 64th in FedEx Cup Standings and 29th in the Official World Golf Rankings. This thanks to his five Top-5 finishes this season and impressive short-game stats (Tommy ranked 5th in Strokes Gained Around the Green).

However, as the playoffs were set to begin, Fleetwood made the choice to prioritize his family, something many can agree with. After his break, It seemed rather easy for Fleetwood to regain his feel for the game.

"“After a bit of time away I got into the rhythm of the round pretty quickly. Which was nice. Even though I’ve not been playing tournaments, I have been playing and practicing. But you never quite know what to expect. It was nice to be out there and get on a run near the end.”"

Tommy Fleetwood, BMW PGA Championship, DP World Tour, Wentworth, 2022 BMW Championship, Viktor Hovland, Shane Lowry
Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, BMW PGA Championship, (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images) /

The 31-year-old Fleetwood fired a bogey-free 64 to claim the early lead this week while playing alongside close friends Shane Lowry and Justin Rose. The entire group succeeded, with Lowry shooting a 66 and Rose a 73. Playing within such a comfortable group made it much easier to ease back into play for Fleetwood.

"“Shane Lowry was playing great. And Justin Rose battled to shoot one over. I have massive respect for how he went about things. Anyone can learn a lot from watching that. So, it was a good group to be in. The company certainly helped me.”"

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Play resumed on Saturday as Tommy Fleetwood looked to continue building upon his successful start in his much-anticipated return.

The BMW PGA Championship is now a 54-hole event, meaning less chance for the field to climb back. With much drama surrounding the event, it is rather refreshing to have something to root for as the week continues.