Justin Rose captured his first career major Sunday, winning the U.S. Open at one of the toughest golf courses in recent memory.
We all knew that Merion would provide a tough test for the world’s best, and that point was proven true when there wasn’t a single player that broke par for the tournament.
Rose entered the 2013 U.S. Open as the only player ranked in the top 50 on the PGA Tour in both driving distance and accuracy.
That certainly remained true as he limited mistakes and put together four rounds without a double bogey or worse on his card.
Trouble seemed to lurk at every corner at Merion, yielding several high numbers from players who aren’t used to shooting over par, so it was fitting that the winner was a player that was able to avoid those high numbers.
Here are some keys that you can take away from Rose’s victory to stay smart and patient on the golf course:
• Golf is an emotional sport. It doesn’t matter whether you are emotionally happy or sad; the effect on your golf game is the same. Getting too emotionally high or low can sabotage your ability to think before executing a golf shot. When you feel your emotions getting away from you, take an extra second or two to take a deep breath and refocus on the task at hand which is your next shot.
• Avoid letting one mistake turn into two. Justin Rose executed this perfectly by avoiding double bogey or worse. If you hit a poor drive, take what the course gives you and avoid trying to hit a “hero” shot. At Merion, that meant using a wedge to escape the rough and simply get the ball back in the fairway.
• Spend extra time practicing your short game. Getting the ball up and down with a chip and putt will save tons of strokes. Most golfers aren’t hitting the same number of greens in regulation as tour players, leaving them ample opportunity to get up and down to save par. Instead of hitting the same shot over and over in practice, try using one ball and actually go up and make the putt to simulate a real round of golf.