Justin Rose looking to make up for lost time
When Justin Rose pitched in from 50 yards at the 72nd hole to finish T4 at The Open at Royal Birkdale in 1998 it seemed that the 17-year-old amateur was destined to win the most coveted trophy in the game. In his own words, he had given us a “glimpse of his potential”.
In almost 20 years, however, the Englishman has yet to improve on that week’s stunning performance. He has indeed gone on to become one of the world’s best players – a regular in the world’s top ten and the winner of the 2013 US Open – and this week is quite rightly regarded as one of the favourites to lift the Claret Jug come Sunday evening. Just three months ago he finished runner-up to Sergio Garcia at the Masters Tournament.
“To do it here at Royal Birkdale would obviously be a full-circle moment based upon what I did in 1998,” he said. “It surprises me after all these years that that is still (my) best finish. And, yeah, because of that, (it’s) unfinished business, for sure.”
Much to Rose’s amusement, and that of his children, the shot he played to the last in 1998 has been made into a short video animation using Lego and can be viewed on YouTube. “N ow it's a Lego scene that's how you know it was a cool achievement,” he said, laughing.
Over the years, Rose has often been on the wrong side of the draw in terms of the weather. Now, though, he says he will take whatever the weather gods throw at him. “This week I’ll just embrace whatever side of the draw I happen to be on and just compete to the best of my abilities,” he added.
On Sunday he attended the men’s Wimbledon final and hopes to draw inspiration from Roger Federer’s performance in winning the singles title for a record eighth time.
“Roger is the sporting athlete I look up to and can try and model,” he said. “Everything he does is pretty much spot on. The way he handles himself and the grace in which he plays the sport is incredible. Mentally how he doesn't give much away I think is a style that's well suited to golf, too.
“Yes, I'm watching the tennis, but I'm watching him more than anything and seeing what I can pick up. There are a few tricks here and there that you can apply to golf. I've always found it a bit easier to learn from other sportsmen than I have from golfers. You're trying to beat your competition here, whereas I can be completely and impressed and awed by him because I never have to face him.”