Rose slowly built team capable of winning U.S. Open

By Rex HoggardJune 18, 2013, 7:36 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – In the case of Justin Rose it has truly taken a village, although anyone in “Camp Rosie” will tell you it was the Englishman, no one else, who made a gutsy par at the 72nd hole on Sunday at Merion to claim his first major.

The blueprint for this champion, however, is born from an eclectic circle of friends and advisors who have slowly helped carve a major champion from an ego that may have not been entirely broken early in his professional career, but it was certainly battered.

Rose’s climb over the last few years has been sure and steady – from his first victories in 2010, to last year’s breakthrough at the World Golf Championship at Doral – and as he hoisted the Open trophy on Sunday at mean Merion it seemed natural, easy almost.

But that scene was in considerable contrast to Rose’s humble beginnings when he missed his first 21 cuts as a professional and toiled for six full years on the PGA Tour before winning.

Photos: Rose through the years

U.S. Open: Articles, videos and photos

From that humble start, Rose slowly built a team around him and a major game.

“Sean Foley, undoubtedly, the best swing coach in the world. Kate (Rose’s wife), Kate is his rock,” said caddie Mark Fulcher on Sunday at Merion. “I think Justin and Kate have been very careful picking the team around him. They have developed a team they are comfortable with.”

As Foley watched Rose set out Sunday at just past 3 p.m. (ET) in search of Open glory, he recalled that it was a phone call at nearly that exact time four years earlier that set the two on the same path.

“I don’t know why I remember that,” Foley said. “He’d played with (Sean, who Foley coached) O’Hair (in Rounds 1 and 2 at the 2009 U.S. Open) and they had been working on the exact opposite things. He had a lot of questions that he didn’t have answers for.”

Two weeks later Rose began working with Foley – a fortunate marriage of science and a soulful appreciation of the golf swing.

Rose, you see, is an analytical type who requires the “why” to dovetail with the “how,” just like Foley. In this case, Rose didn’t want to know that he needed to swing the club more from the outside, he wanted to know why that was necessary.

Improvement was dramatic. The next season Rose enjoyed one of the hottest summer stretches in golf, sandwiching victories at the Memorial and AT&T National around a tie for ninth at the Travelers Championship, where he is playing this week.

“At the end of the day, hitting the golf ball is about geometry,” Foley said. “More than any other Tour player I work with Justin has the best understanding of TrackMan. He can hit balls and call out spin rates and call them within 200 rpm. He understands what is happening to the ball so well.”

The next step was the addition of Orlando, Fla., based sports psychologist Gio Valiante, who began working with Rose four weeks before his victory at the 2010 Memorial.

“His golf swing was fine when Foley called me, but there are mental fundamentals,” Valiante said. “Justin was a young man who was playing for trophies. You don’t play this game for trophies, you have to play for the love of the game.”

In practical terms, Valiante’s work with Rose led to his unique mental approach to last week’s grind at Merion. He envisioned playing in a tunnel with no leaderboards or fans and simply walk from each green to the next tee.

“Look at the way Justin reacted to bad shots, he was a model of composure,” Valiante said. “He really got over the mental hurdle this year.”

The final members of the team were putting guru David Orr, who Rose began working with last summer, and physical trainer Justin Buckthorp, who allowed Rose the flexibility to do the things Foley needed him to do.

And, of course, there was Fulcher, who described his time with the U.S. Open champion as “a long and interesting five years” and who has now caddied his way to four titles in the greater Philadelphia area (twice with Rose and twice with Laura Davies at the LPGA Championship).

“(Fulcher’s) role far outweighs mine,” Foley said.

In modern sports lexicon, the entourage has become a symbol of over-coaching and runaway entitlement. But in the case of Rose, it truly took a village to pave the way to Grand Slam glory.

Before heading out for the final round on Sunday, Rose paused on the practice tee to hug Foley who offered one final bit of advice.

“Accept this is an important day,” Foley told the Englishman, “and remember we are sons of great men and go out with the quality your dad instilled in you.”

Fittingly, Ken Rose, Justin’s father who died in 2002, turned out to be the final piece of the Englishman’s major puzzle.

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The Social: G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T.

By Jason CrookJanuary 23, 2018, 6:00 pm

Tom Brady compares himself to Tiger Woods, who coincidentally is returning to the PGA Tour this week, Jordan Spieth hangs out with some decent company and kids these days ruffle some feathers with their friendships.

All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

Well, it’s finally Farmers Insurance Open week and Woods has been spotted practicing for his official return to the PGA Tour on Thursday.

Some thought this day might never come after a 2017 filled with mostly downs for the 14-time major champ.

But as he has taught the golf world time and time again, you just can't count Tiger out.

So even as Jon Rahm attempts to overtake Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world this week at Torrey Pines, all eyes will be on one of the greatest we've ever seen do it, even if that guy is ranked No. 647 in the world.

Speaking of greatness …

There’s not many who can just offhandedly compare themselves to Tiger, but if anyone gets a pass, it’s Tom Brady.

The 40-year-old New England Patriots quarterback led his team back to the Super Bowl for the second straight year despite playing the AFC title game with a cut on his throwing hand.

When asked about it after the Patriots come-from-behind victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady answered, “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”

So there you have it. A 40-year-old Brady is winning AFC Championships with his C game. Good luck, Eagles; you’re going to need it.

Also, if for some reason you wanted an update on Justin Thomas' life, it's still awesome:

Yeah, that's last year's PGA Tour Player of the Year hanging with Cy Young winner Cory Kluber in a suite at the Patriots game and teasing us with a possible #SB2K18 cameo.

Curtis Strange likes his competitive golf straight up, hold the friendliness.

This, according to Curtis Strange.

The two-time U.S. Open champ took to Twitter during the CareerBuilder Challenge to vent his frustration regarding the constant chit-chat and friendliness between Rahm and Andrew Landry:

This, of course, makes sense in theory. But good luck watching golf – or really any sport – from here on out. Sure there will be a few old school guys who buck the trend here and there, but for the most part, it’s really hard to share a private jet/dinners/vacations/(insert awesome thing here) with someone, and then completely turn off the friendship coming down the stretch of a big tournament.

Damn millennials. They ruin everything.

By now you've all seen that poor Philadelphia Eagles fan who lost his battle with a subway station pillar (from multiple angles), so instead here is a video of a man attempting to stand on an egg. Bet you can't guess how that goes.

Tony's gonna stand on an egg

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Seriously if you haven't seen the video of that Eagles fan, here's your last chance in this column. You'll be glad you did.

Jordan Spieth, Michael Phelps and Bryce Harper walk on to a golf course … there’s no punchline, that actually happened last week in Las Vegas.

Was the whole thing just a big advertisement for Spieth’s new Under Armour shoe? You bet.

But that doesn’t make the optics of three of the biggest superstar athletes on the planet teeing it up for a round any less awesome.

Off to the next. #Spieth2 #TEAMUA

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The trio has three major wins, five All Star Game appearances and 28 Olympic medals between them, and there they were over the weekend just fake laughing for the camera and driving around individual golf carts with their own personalized logos on them.

Just guys being dudes. Nothing better than that.

Matt Kuchar. Still good at golf. Still overly polite. This according to European Tour pro Eddie Pepperell who had the privilege of hitting on the range next to Kuuuuuch in Abu Dhabi last week.

That image is burned into your brain forever now, thanks Eddie. From now on when you think of Kuchar you're going to think of those Sketches ads and "oopsies."

Which, I suppose is better than a, "Did you get that?"

Blayne Barber's caddie, Cory Gilmer, collapsed and hit his head while at a restaurant at the Sony Open and has been mostly unconscious in the neurological intensive care unit ever since.

The outpouring of love and support from the golf community has been overwhelming on social media, and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the mounting medical costs for Gilmer and his family.

Check out the link below for more info or to donate to a worthy cause:

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Top-ranked amateur wins LAAC, earns Masters invite

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 5:38 pm

Joaquin Niemann walked Augusta National Golf Club as a patron last year. He’ll be a competitor in 2018.

Niemann, the top-ranked amateur in the world, shot 8-under 63 Tuesday at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Santiago, Chile, to win the Latin America Amateur Championship.

And with the title, both redemption and an invitation to the Masters Tournament.

Full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship

Niemann finished runner-up in last year’s LAAC to fellow Chilean Toto Gana. He followed Gana around Augusta grounds, watching as his best friend played two rounds before missing the cut.

Niemann, who was going to turn professional had he not won this week, started the final round one back of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz. Niemann was sluggish from the start on Tuesday, but then drove the 313-yard, par-4 eighth and made the eagle putt. That sparked a run of five birdies over his next six holes.

Niemann was bogey-free in the final round and finished five shots clear of Ortiz, at 11 under.

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Judges Panel, Host Announced for Wilson Golf's "Driver vs. Driver 2," Premiering This Fall on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 23, 2018, 4:15 pm

‘Driver vs. Driver 2 Presented by Wilson Currently in Production; Sports Broadcaster Melanie Collins Returns to Host

Morning Drive: Driver vs. Driver 2 Judges Announced

Golf Channel and Wilson Golf announced today the panel of judges and host for the second season of Driver vs. Driver, the innovative television series that follows aspiring golf equipment designers as they compete for the opportunity to have their driver idea or concept transformed into the next great golf driver from Wilson. The show is currently in production and will premiere this fall.

Joining judge Tim Clarke, President of Wilson Golf, are two newcomers to the series: 9-time National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star and current NHL on NBC hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick – an avid golfer with a single digit handicap and a self-described golf equipment junkie; and PGA Professional, golf coach, equipment reviewer and social media influencer Rick Shiels.

“Golf is a big passion of mine, and personally I enjoy learning about new equipment and concepts,” said Roenick. “To be able to see this side of the business in how equipment is developed first-hand is fascinating. Being a part of the process in reviewing driver concepts and narrowing them down to an ultimate winning driver that will be sold across the country is a tremendous honor.” 

“Jeremy, as an avid golfer, and Rick, as a coach, equipment reviewer and golf professional, bring incredible, real world insights and different perspectives to the show and this process,” said Clarke. “I’m excited to work alongside these two judges to push the boundaries of innovation and bring a next-generation driver to golfers around the world.”

Sports broadcaster Melanie Collins returns as the host of Driver vs. Driver 2. Currently a sideline reporter for CBS Sports’ college football and basketball coverage, Collins hosted the inaugural season in 2016 and formerly co-hosted Golf Channel’s competition series, Big Break.

Production for Driver vs. Driver 2 began in the fall of 2017 and will continue through the summer, including this week at the PGA Merchandise Show. The series is being produced by Golf Channel, whose portfolio of original productions include interview series Feherty hosted by Emmy-nominated sports personality David Feherty, high-quality instruction shows School of Golf, Golf Channel Academy and Playing Lessons and a slate of award-winning films.

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Tiger Tracker: Farmers Insurance Open

By Tiger TrackerJanuary 23, 2018, 4:00 pm

Tiger Woods is competing in a full-field event for the first time in nearly a year. We're tracking him at this week's Farmers Insurance Open. (Note: Tweets read, in order, left to right)