Rose delivers on years of promise with Memorial win

By Rex HoggardJune 7, 2010, 3:46 am
2007 The Memorial TournamentDUBLIN, Ohio – It’s been a good few weeks for phenoms on the PGA Tour. On Sunday at the Memorial Tournament it was a good day for a phenom reclamation project.

From the depths of the professional abyss Justin Rose had carved out an impressive career since those dark post-Royal Birkdale days when he couldn’t make a putt or a cut. He’d won a European Tour Order of Merit, finished inside the top 10 on the PGA Tour 28 times and has a 3-1-0 Ryder Cup record.

But that maiden PGA Tour title had eluded him like sunny days dodge Muirfield Village in June. That what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, or so the worn-out bromide goes, but, in Rose’s case, it had left behind a decade’s worth of mental scar tissue.

“He’s done so much on full talent,” said Dr. Gio Valiante, a sports psychologist who began working with the Englishman about three weeks ago. “I was really surprised how much he really didn’t understand about winning.”
Justin Rose
Justin Rose reacts to his first career PGA Tour victory. (Getty Images)
After 66 deftly played strokes on Sunday at the Memorial Tournament the world now understands the depth of Rose’s talent, and the 29-year-old finally grasps what it takes to win on U.S. soil.

Rose roared from four strokes behind fresh-faced phenom Rickie Fowler on a wind-blown afternoon with birdies at Nos. 7, 8 and 9 to turn just a shot back, scrambled for par at the 10th hole and didn’t look back, to say nothing of looking at a leaderboard.

The new-and-improved Rose, armed with enough psycho-babble clichés to make a Chicago Cubs fan feel good about themselves, is finally a PGA Tour winner, having played his final 20 holes bogey-free for an 18-under 270 total and a three-stroke victory over Fowler.

How good was Rose’s closing 66 in swirling winds compared with, say, Ricky Barnes’ ball-in-hand 62 on Saturday? “With a victory on the line I think it’s the best round of the week,” said Sean O’Hair, who played with Rose on Sunday.

For Rose the victory was equal parts validation and vindication.

“You start to sometimes wonder why you can’t get it done?” said Rose, who had finished runner-up on Tour three times, including a tie for second in 2008 at Muirfield Village.

Even on the eve of his American drought-buster Rose was haunted by the notion that he seemed destined to come up short again as Fowler entered the final turn a field goal clear and cruising. So much so Valiante fired his newest charge a check-list text message to steady the ship. The first item: “Make it a day of patience.”

Those words must have been echoing in his head as he stood on the 16th tee waiting to tee off when the crowd surrounding the par-5 15th green erupted.

“I thought, here we go again,” Rose admitted.

It was an eagle, as Rose had feared, but by the other Ricky, Barnes who holed out his second approach shot of the week from 89 yards for an eagle-3. But Rose still delivered, rifling his tee shot to 12 feet for birdie and a 2-up lead.

The outcome, however, had been all but decided three holes earlier when Fowler, who had led from the outset following an opening 65, blocked his 5-iron tee shot at the demanding 12th hole into a water hazard.

Within 10 minutes the Memorial Tournament went from a potentially epic showdown to simply the Rose show thanks to a few words you don’t normally hear from Tour champions on Sunday: “provisional” (Phil Mickelson at the 15th hole) and “drop zone” (Fowler and Barnes at the 12th).

Like that Jack’s hardware was headed back to Orlando, Fla., and young Fowler was left to mull another near-miss. On the 14th tee box Fowler slumped onto a bench next to his caddie – Donnie Darr, the Ohio State men’s golf coach and one of Fowler’s former coaches at Oklahoma State – and reached an epiphany well beyond his 21 years, “If you told me I’d have taken a lead to within nine holes on a Sunday I’d have been happy,” he told Darr.

Earlier this year in Scottsdale, Ariz., Fowler caught grief for laying up on a par 5 with the tournament on the line. To the mop-headed rookie’s credit he never laid down on Sunday in central Ohio.

It’s a testament to Fowler’s talent that his game, not his colorful garb or his head gear, dominated the conversation for the better part of 65 holes. The rookie set a 36-hole tournament record (131), led by three strokes after the second and third rounds and narrowly missed becoming the most recent member of the “Bomb-and-Gouge Generation” to steal the Tour spotlight.

Earlier on Sunday tournament host Jack Nicklaus offered a bit of foreshadowing to the day’s outcome when he said, “There are two things players need to learn to win, one is in the heart and one is in the head. You need both to win.”

Nicklaus’ sage words also seemed apropos for some of the more experienced members of his field.

The great World Ranking debate remains, well, debated after Woods and Mickelson played army golf at the 10th hole on Saturday, with the current No. 1 hitting out of bounds right and the would-be No. 1 going left into the trees, inbounds but off the grid.

On Saturday, the Rickies – Barnes’ 62 and Fowler’s stranglehold on the lead – silenced the Tour’s hierarchy, and the world Nos. 1 and 2 remained silent after their rounds, declining press interviews. Sunday, however, the duo showed signs of improvement, in their games and their long-term prognosis.

In their final U.S. Open tune-up the game’s alpha and omega had games that would best be described as works in progress, but for both the Memorial was progress.

For Mickelson he remained on the fringes of contention until a poor drive at the 15th hole on Sunday, left into a hazard, of course, and tied for fifth at 11 under, while Woods accomplished his stated goal of playing all four rounds following weeks of MC (Quail Hollow Championship) and WD (Players Championship), struggled with his distance control but otherwise looked as serviceable as he has all year.

“I felt like this week I hit some really good shots, shots that I had been lacking,” said an upbeat Woods following his closing 72 to tie for 19th. “I was still a little one-dimensional.”

For far too long Rose felt the same way, making steady progress since turning pro at the tender age of 17 but flummoxed by the slow track to Tour success. On Sunday he finally shed two titles, he’s no longer a phenom or a reclamation project.
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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm