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Rose looking for return to form

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Iain Carter | 17:19 UK time, Tuesday, 19 May 2009

It should have been the big homecoming for Justin Rose, a chance to show off to the British public his new born son Leo and the golf game that landed Europe's Order of Merit just 18 months ago.

But instead, the likeable Englishman has had to pull out of the PGA Championship at Wentworth with a recurrence of the back injury that has plagued him in recent seasons.

It's a blow to his immediate prospects, but more worrying in the context of his need to reverse a trend that began last year when he followed his Order of Merit-winning campaign by stumbling to 81st in the European standings.

Highlights were few and far between, though he performed with credit at the Ryder Cup where he won three out of four points.

Justin Rose

When we chatted in London at the launch of the Taylor Made R9 driver ahead of the Wentworth event, Rose was constantly stretching his back, clearly struggling to get comfortable - but he seemed more at ease when analysing what he needs to do to turn around his game.

"It's close, really close. I think instinctively you just know that and my head-space is just getting back to the right place," said Rose, who is clearly frustrated by the golf he has been producing.

"I just think with everything going on in my life, with Leo arriving, although I've thought each week I've been ready, I've been a bit flat, something's been missing for whatever reason. I'd be working hard on my putting one week and then the driving would go. My game's been a little bit inconsistent and erratic, just not quite 100%.

"Basically, to cut a long story short, I've just been enjoying being a new dad and that's where my focus has been.

"What works for me is being mentally fresh and I haven't been mentally fresh for quite some time. Because I haven't been having the results I've been spending my time on my weeks off practising and it's a catch 22.

"It's almost like if I play badly I'd actually be better off walking away and going to the beach to get fresh and forget about it. That's a better approach for me and everyone has to learn what works for them.

"I haven't had that freshness of late but I'm starting to feel it again and I feel excited and a bit rejuvenated."

A repeat of the form that brought a runners-up finish to Rory McIlroy in Dubai at the start of the year would be a decent starting point in this flying visit to the UK.

Next week - fitness permitting - Rose will be back in America at the Colonial as he tries to improve on his current position of 111th in the FedEx Cup standings.

"There are tough decisions to be made on scheduling, especially when your game is not quite all there," he said. "When you're playing well it's a lot easier because you are not playing catch up anywhere.

"Due to my second place finish in Dubai and some solid finishes in majors and WGC events I'm doing OK on the Race to Dubai list whereas on the FedEx Cup list I feel I'm just a little bit behind the eight ball.

"So I'm just tailoring my schedule a bit more towards the States right now in order to play catch up a little bit. But good golf will take care of all that."

Let's hope he can physically back up rediscovered confidence. It appears now to be more case of body rather than mind that needs to be on the mend.


  • Comment number 1.

    I wish Justin well but really wish he would update his website a bit more to keep his army of loyal fans up to date on his thoughts, progress, injuries etc. When his game was flying the updates came thick and fast.

  • Comment number 2.

    A bit disingenuous of Justin to talk about his form sliding as if it's coincidental with Leo's birth; he's really been short of a sustained run of form for eighteen months now. The brutal fact at present is that he cannot afford to split his time between two Tours, destined to fall between two stools if you like.

    Justin needs to reassess his priorities and focus on one Tour or the other. (And he's not the only one.)


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