Rose chases Open childhood dream
Justin Rose might be a Major Championship winner, but he spent his formative years just like every other golfer across the world.
“Oh for sure,” the 2013 US Open champion laughed ahead of the first round on Thursday. “In the quiet moments on the practice putting green at my home course, when I was a kid, telling myself this was this putt to win The Open.”
The difference between the 34-year-old Englishman and almost every young golfer is that aged just 17 he very nearly found himself in position to turn the dream into reality, famously finishing fourth at the 1998 Open at Royal Birkdale when still an amateur.
Remarkably for a player so accomplished that remains his highest finish in The Open, but he's not unduly worried about his links golf form.
“I've not put my finger on why it's still my best effort. I can play links golf. I won last year's Scottish Open on the links at Royal Aberdeen, I've won here on the Old Course at St Andrews in both the amateur Links Trophy and the 2002 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
“My record in The Open doesn't suggest I've come close, but at Turnberry in 2009, and even at Muirfield in 2002, I was closer than my finishing position indicates. But I've had less chances than I would have liked, of course.”
Rose is aware that weather conditions can impact on anyone's chances at The Open.
“The way it looks this week I may not have the best side of the draw. It's been like that for five or six years so I hope I get some lady luck. The draw is a funny thing.”
Unlike last year, when he completed that Scottish Open victory prior to arriving at Royal Liverpool, this week Rose's preparations were halted when he missed the cut in Gullane, but he's not concerned.
“I've gone into Major Championships in hot form and it's not worked out for me in the past. The result last week was unproductive, but I learned a lot about my game.”
Rose will play the first two rounds with Sir Nick Faldo, whose final Open Championship appearance this will be. It could be an emotional two days, but not for the younger Englishman.
“In his heyday Nick was very focussed and he'd expect the same of me. It's a huge honour to play with him. It's not a distraction.”