05 January 2018

The Unforgottable Succesor

Since winning the 2013 US Open, Justin Rose has shaped himself into one of the world’s most consistent golfers, finding himself in contention at most tournaments.  It’s been a successful journey in the professional arena for the 2016 Olympic gold medalist, who is now long removed from an unceremonious start to his career.

At 37 years old, Justin Rose has demonstrated his maturity through his consistent performance. Over the last two months, Rose claimed two titles back-to-back at two prestigious tournaments: the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, which was the first event of the 2017 Race to Dubai. Rose just narrowly missed out on collecting a third title at the last event in the Race to Dubai, the DP World Tour Championship.

Today, amidst the dominance of young players, Rose, along with Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson - who are all over 30 - manage to hold firm in the World’s Top 10. Things haven’t always been so golden for Rose though; after turning pro in 1998 and being declared as England’s long-overdue successor to Nick Faldo, he’s experienced ups and downs.

Rose's journey to his current position has required a lot of patience. When other players of his generation were moving into the top echelon of the game, Rose was still trying to climb the mountain. However, his 2013 win at the US Open marked the beginning of his resurgence. His 14 years as a professional have provided him valuable lessons in how to accomplish his goals. Here’s the short story of the unforgotten Englishman.

How was Rose’s experience of golf as a junior?

At age five, Rose moved from South Africa to England where he then started to play golf at Hartley Wintney GC near his Hampshire home. However, his first ever club swing was at just 11 months old in his back garden when dad, Ken, handed him a plastic club. At 11 years old, he broke 70 for the first time and had a handicap of +1 by age 14. His ability caught the eye of Walker Cup selectors who chose him for the 1997 tournament.

What was his greatest achievement as an amateur?

At the age of 17, Rose won the silver medal for the Lowest Amateur at the 1998 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. He holed a dramatic 50-yard shot from the rough to make birdie on the 18th hole and to finish in tied fourth.

How did his first year as a professional go?

After he made history by tying for fourth at the 1998 British Open as a 17-year-old, Rose turned pro the next day. However, things didn’t go to plan and Rose missed 21 cuts in a row. It was something of a nightmare for such a high-profile young player like Rose.

As his final putt for victory rolled into the hole on the 18th green at the 2013 US Open, Rose blew a kiss to the sky. Why did he do that?

Rose’s father Ken passed away due to leukemia in 2002. “I couldn’t help but look up to the heavens because my dad Ken had something to do with it,” Rose explained, as quoted The Mirror.

By winning the 2013 US Open, what did Rose add to the record books?

He became England's first major winner since 1996 when Nick Faldo claimed the Masters. He was also the first English player to win the US Open since Tony Jacklin grabbed the trophy in 1970.

How was Rose’s relationship with his father?

"My dad had a great understanding of me," Rose once told Golf Digest. "He would just look into my eyes and either leave me alone because I was ready or decide if I needed something from him. I remember he gave me a great talk before I played with Tiger in the first round at the [2002] Open at Muirfield. It was a big deal because Tiger had won the first two majors, and there was a lot of hype. It came at a time when my dad was obviously not healthy, and he just said, 'We've faced far tougher things in our life than this round of golf.' It was sad, but it was also inspiring, and it gave me so much perspective. I played really well and shot 68. I always remember that lesson. After he was gone, there were periods when it felt as if nothing mattered. I'm over that, but I'm sure it affects me in ways I can't explain or fully understand. I just know my father would want me to keep working hard and carry on doing what I love."

What does Justin Rose have in common with Gary Player, David Graham, Hale Irwin, and Bernhard Langer?

They and Rose are the only five players to have won official tournaments on all six continents where golf is played.



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