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Rose aiming to join British surge

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Iain Carter | 11:10 UK time, Monday, 8 March 2010

It is a fair bet emotions are rather mixed in the Justin Rose household. There will be delight that his form seems to be back but frustration that he can't demonstrate it at Doral this week.

Rose's third place at the Honda Classic was his best result since finishing runner-up to Rory McIlroy in Dubai more than a year ago.

His closing round of 64 equalled the PGA National course record and helped him bank $380,800 in prize money, but it wasn't enough to earn Rose a place in the elite field for this week's WGC CA Championship in the suburbs around Miami airport.

The 29-year-old may have improved his world ranking from 76 to 58, but he must watch on as a group of fellow Englishmen contest the second World Golf Championships event of the 2010 season.

"I'd struggle to make the English Ryder Cup team," Rose admits. "I feel like I'm a pretty good player, so that speaks volumes for how strong English golf is right now."

Rose is a very good player, but has underachieved since claiming the European Tour's Order of Merit with victory at Valderrama in the 2007 Volvo Masters - the same year in which he finished second at the WGC event in Akron - one of three second places he's had in the USA.

Since then, the likes of Ian Poulter, Paul Casey and Martin Laird have registered PGA Tour victories, but for Rose, the cupboard remains bare after 154 attempts.

Justin RoseRose splashes out of sand during the Honda Classic - Pic: Getty

His career has always been a start-stop affair with streaks of excellent results that have provided memorable peaks contrasting with troughs of indifferent play that have left him way short of fulfilling his potential.

Rarely has there been any kind of middle ground consistency, so perhaps this third place will herald a spell of inspired results.

They will have to come quickly to enable Rose to play the first major of the year at the Masters. He needs to climb into the world's top 50 and has the Transitions Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in the coming weeks to earn his place at Augusta.

After his closing 64 on Sunday, which began with four straight birdies and followed a third round 67, Rose said: "The funny thing about golf is that if you try too hard to come out and go low it goes the other way. All weekend I felt really relaxed.

"I kind of hit a little sweet spot in terms of enjoying my golf and just staying nice and composed and I think today probably is the most composed I have been for a long time."

Last May, Rose spoke to this blog ahead of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and was saying how he expected to be recording better results very soon.

There is no more approachable guy on the tour and here he was saying the right things, but you could tell the words were hollow.

He sat uneasily, his back was aching - he pulled out of the tournament the next day - and he couldn't convey the message with conviction. Rose was at his lowest ebb and soon after missed the cut at the US Open, the man who had been as high as number six in the world in 2007 was plummeting down the rankings.

This was the point at which he and his coach Nick Bradley decided to part. Rose was no longer buying in his mentor's unorthodox approach and their working relationship hit the buffers.

Results started to turn; he finished in a share of 13th place at the Open and had two top-five finishes towards the end of the 2009 season on the PGA Tour, but at that stage he would have been happier plying his trade elsewhere.

Rose is a player with the talent to be going deep into the FedEx Cup, not needing to spend his autumns with those sweating on keeping their cards.

So where will he be when the leaves have turned this year?

In 2008, he was playing Ryder Cup, but a second appearance for Europe could not be further from his mind at the moment.

"It's something I don't feel like I can focus on right now," he said. "It's a weird thing. I think for me to get into the Ryder Cup, I need to not worry about the Ryder Cup, if that makes any sense? The Ryder Cup will take care of itself if I play well."

Rose's first target must be to cement his place back in the top 50 in the world, then he can choose the schedule that suits him best.

"I see a really big difference with him mentally now," said his wife Kate. "He's excited about what he is working on. He's very positive and he's been playing really well for sometime."

In a period where there has been no shortage of results for British golf fans to celebrate, Rose has been rather overshadowed. Now it seems he may be ready to become part of this success story once again - after his week as a reluctant spectator.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Great Blog Iain. Which of the Brits is likely to do well at Doral this week?

  • Comment number 2.

    Take your pick, they're all very capable but if I had to pick one maybe Oli Wilson who didn't score as well as he played last week, he is due a big one.

  • Comment number 3.

    I think Oli Wilson is just due one, be it big or small, any win will do! It would be a good place to start though...

    I think a return to form from Ross Fisher would be go to see this week.

  • Comment number 4.

    Looking forward to seeing Justin Rose deliver a result of real substance on the PGA Tour; perhaps last Sunday will kick-start a crucial season for him. A great shame he didn't finish off a couple of events earlier this season which, had he done so, would have wrapped up his Doral and Augusta invitations by now.
    Oli Wilson (among others of course, Rory, Owen, etc) was especially unlucky to have started Friday's Round 2 in almost freezing temp's and gusting winds, which warmed up and died down respectively soon after they'd wrecked his first nine holes.

  • Comment number 5.

  • Comment number 6.

    oms1-

    If your a betting man, you could do worse than have an each way bet on Donald... 2nd in LA, 16th at Pebble and a decent performance at the Matchplay.


    As for Iain with Oli, I feel that this course may stretch him a little. This course offers the bigger hitters a huge advantage. too many power houses in the field this week. also if you look at the last 3 winners, Mickelson, Ogilvy and Woods, It bodes well for a big hitter. Not to mention that they are all major winners.

    Mr Rose will continue to kick on as his new attitude will serve him well. As he said himself he is staying calm on the course and learning to accept what happens out there. His new coach Sean Foley works with Hunter Mahan and Sean O'Hair who are both on great form. Mr Rose is on the right path!

  • Comment number 7.

    oh, forgot to mention that Sean Foley has been longtime coach of Stephen Ames too. Ames won at Disney at the end of the year, O'Hair won twice and Mahan won a few weeks ago... Rose is up next!

  • Comment number 8.

    I think Phil is an obvious choice..............plays well here usually...............

  • Comment number 9.

    Pleased to see Rose doing so well at the weekend, but can't still help thinking that he's just as likely to throw in a 74 as a 64 in one of the 4 rounds. It's difficult to see past Paul Casey this week despite a very strong field of US players;
    My top 5 (not too adventurous!!);
    1. Casey
    2. Mickleson
    3. Kim
    4. Rose
    5. Garcia

  • Comment number 10.

    Meant to say that I reckon the reason Wilson hasn't got across the finishing line is that he's a 'choker'. He almost blew it against McIlroy in the WGC Matchplay and only won when McIlroy couldn't hole out.
    Don't think Wilson will make the cut.

  • Comment number 11.

    I agree, he won't make the cut. There isn't one to make.

  • Comment number 12.

    Good point Ian, well made. OK, I can see you're an Oli fan, so I'm prepared to get behind him too up to a point. He's an excellent player and seems like a genuinely good guy; my point is however that I get the impression that he doesn't really seem to have a tough 'winner' mentality. Not many do; but sufficiently many to make 'getting across the finishing line' increasingly difficult for the likes of Oli.

  • Comment number 13.

    Crocodile-

    How many times did Harrington finish runner, not to mention the tournaments he threw away... Duval was the same. Both went on to be multiple winners. Oh, and Major winners!!!

    Mr Wilson is working on the right things with the right people... Me thinks it is just matter of time.

    Mr Carter, whats the weather like in Miami?

  • Comment number 14.

    sorry crocodile, whats Rose doing in your top 5. hes not in the field.

  • Comment number 15.

    Just a typo! Ross Fisher was my intended for fourth place. If you want to get picky; Harrington won a European Tour event his first year as a pro, so showed pretty well straight away that he has what it takes; Duval won on his second or third season on the PGA Tour; Wilson turned pro in 2003, so your comparison with Harrington and Duval is a bit off the mark.
    I would be well pleased if Wilson proves me wrong. Indeed I hope he does so this week, but I'm not alone in thinking that he won't.
    Looking forward to watching this evening to see how things go. I'm not sure if the BBC has a 'live' presence at the tournament. Maybe Iain Carter is there; if so looking forward to his updates and seeing if his tips come good.

  • Comment number 16.

    Iain
    nice to have a golf blog about golf instead of sh---ing.Also tremendous news that it really sounds like Seve's playing in the pre open game at st. Andrews.
    Thats a proper story(front or back page).Back to you know who-why haven't the USPGA been totally castigated for allowing Tigers apology to be made
    from their HQwhich completely affected the tournament that was happening at the time?

  • Comment number 17.

    Nice to hear a little about Justin, it's funny how the world of competitive sport ebbs and flows. I am sure he will have his time again, it's odd but I think he may just be one of those players who could have a topsy-turvy career yet end up with a major championship win in the cabanet. I can imagine him going low on the final day of a wind-swept Open or just having won of those weeks at USPGA where eveything he touches turns golden. Like Michael Campbell, I think Rose will have extremely lofty highs and scraping-the-barrel lows! Lovely man though and I wish him all the very best (and hope that he proves me wrong and becomes consistently one of the world's top-20 for years to come)..
    ross, at http://golfshorts.wordpress.com

  • Comment number 18.

    Phil McCrackin Sadly watching from afar for Doral, but readying myself for a busy few weeks. Looks like you-know-who is about to re-appear so 4125Nick and co you can guess how the agenda is going to go between now and the Masters. My bet's like most others, Tavistock and then Bay Hill -extraordinary turn around after his "appearance" during the last WGC. By the way his use of PGA Tour HQ didn't exactly go unnoticed.

    Early triple bogey for Oli I see. Ahem. Anyway long way to go.....

  • Comment number 19.

    Where did the info on Tiger coming back for the Tavistock come from?
    I really took it from his Press conference that we may not see him till close to the end of the year.................
    If he's gonna play the Masters then great ............

    By the way, McIlroy has played himself out of the tournament already...........wonder how that injury is??

  • Comment number 20.

    Filma! Its a bit early to say 'I told you so', but with a 78 on day 1 (very tough conditions granted) and lying joint second from last in the field, things are not looking too rosy for Oli Wilson. Had there been a cut Iain, he'd be struggling to make it. Go on Oli! Make me eat my words! As for Woods; you can just imagine the script, which seems set for his next major victory at Augusta; but who knows? Maybe he won't have the same aura as before. Who am I kidding! If he wins more majors this year, then they'll be no living with his ego and the other players will feel even less worthy than prior to his absence. Currently living in Sweden, where you can imagine his antics have attracted even less sympathy than perhaps elsewhere. Mr Woods is unlikely to be welcome in this neck of the woods (excuse the pun) for the foreseeable future.

  • Comment number 21.

    Iain,
    Reference your comment #11;
    Perhaps you could inform the young apprentice who wrote this evening's Round 1 report as he also seems to think Rory McIlroy will be unlikely to miss the cut. Where do you find these people?
    What are your thoughts on the unctuous Ari Fleischer(sp?) advising Woods. You'd think that following Dubya and Mark McGwire he'd've found someone with a bit more street cred. Wouldn't you?
    The US press are going to have a fine old time with this, pretty much as they did with McGwire.

  • Comment number 22.

    Kwini - interesting re Fleischer having blogged that Woods might turn to him. The post crash pr has been bizarre as has been well documented. I sometimes wonder whether anyone can advise Woods on such matters, he seems so determined to do things his own way. Interesting too that mood music is now swinging away a return until the Masters. I've been advised to hold off flights for Orlando (Tavistock & Bay Hill). Woods' silence is doing nothing to win any friends in the media - not that that has ever been one of his priorities.

  • Comment number 23.

    'Morning Iain,
    Fleischer won no friends, and Mark McGwire even fewer, following his recent pr fiasco. Perhaps he can be effective if his client already has good pr, but my sense is that TW has worn media patience thinner than wafer thin.
    Perhaps this episode will teach the media that, if something/one seems too good to be true, it usually is. Just like weapons of mass destruction in a contorted way. But Fleischer got away with that one, didn't he? Oh What A Lovely War . . . .

  • Comment number 24.

    I'm worried about Rory! Not sure he needs to canvas more opinions (see his visit to Jack and Rotella) about how to win. He's done it since he was a kid, he just needs to believe. He doesn't want to go down the route that has led to Ernie's demise ie thinking about it too much!

  • Comment number 25.

    NTV-

    I dont think you can compare winning junior and amateur tournaments to becoming a multiple winner on tour. I think this little lull that is happening to Rors will do him the world of good. You learn far more about yourself when the chips are down than when your riding high. I am however, very surprised that he hasnt been in the winners circle since Dubai. No need to worry about the young man... just a few growing pains.

 

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