Rose a gentle man in a gentleman's game

By John FeinsteinJune 28, 2014, 10:41 pm

BETHESDA, Md.  Justin Rose’s eyes were hidden by sunglasses as he came off the 18th green at Congressional Country Club on Saturday, but there wasn’t much doubt that they were smoldering with some anger.

He had just bogeyed the treacherous par-4 finishing hole, which took the edge off momentum-building birdies at 16 and 17 and dropped him from one shot out of the lead to  before the day was over  three shots behind Patrick Reed after 54 holes of the Quicken Loans National.

“Made a really good up-and-down at 16 (for birdie) and a good birdie at 17,” he said shortly after signing for an even-par 71. “I felt like I was competing really well. It was disappointing to finish like that at the last. It’s a little challenging when they put the tees back and forth and back and forth. From the up tee you feel like you’re hitting it down the left tree line  dangerously left  and I just bailed out a little bit.”

Even after that last bogey, Rose will go into Sunday tied for fifth on a leaderboard that has no other major championship winners among the top 10 and only one other player  Marc Leishman, who is a shot ahead of Rose  who has ever contended late on Sunday at a major.

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“I really enjoy this kind of golf course,” Rose said. “I love this kind of golf where eight or 10 under is probably going to win. If you play well the way I did (Friday) you’ll get rewarded. If you make a mistake, you’ll probably pay for it. The best thing you can do is accept the mistake and move on.”

The only time Rose didn’t do that Saturday was on the vexing 11th hole, when he missed his drive left and, instead of laying up and accepting a bogey, tried to get the ball on the green. He found a bunker, made double bogey and admitted later he’d forgotten his mantra.

Everyone knows that Rose plays well on difficult courses. He proved that  once and for all a year ago at Merion when he was the last man standing at a U.S. Open in which no one matched par for 72 holes. Winning that Open put Rose in a different category of player and a different category of celebrity. He has handled the celebrity flawlessly. The golf has been a little more difficult. He hasn’t won since Merion.

“It’s a longer spell than I’d like but I’ve had chances,” he said. “It’s not like this is the first chance I’ve had for a while. I know I’ll have a chance in the near future again, too. I know that if I’m playing well, I’ll create plenty of chances. I feel like my season is only really beginning to get going. I feel comfortable with my game for the first time so I’m not putting too much pressure on myself.”

Rose defines the phrase, ‘gentle man.’ He has dealt with triumph and disaster throughout his golf career and followed Kipling’s advice and treated the two imposters the same.

Well, almost. There was no doubting the joy his victory at Merion gave him although, unlike Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy, who were made Members of The British Empire (MBE’s) after their major championship wins, Rose still hasn’t received that honor.

“Doesn’t really bother me,” he said, smiling. “But it would certainly be a nice honor.”

For a long time Rose was known primarily as the 17-year-old who finished fourth in the British Open at Royal Birkdale in 1998 after holing out from left of the green for a birdie on the 72nd hole and then turned pro and missed his first 21 cuts. Even after he had become a very successful pro, it appeared that might be his enduring legacy. When 19-year-old Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick was paired with Rose for the first two rounds of the U.S. Open earlier this month, he was asked what he knew of Rose’s performance at Birkdale.

“To be honest, what I know more about are the 21 missed cuts,” he said. “No offense to Justin but that’s what I remember most.”

Rose doesn’t take offense to that but he does remember it. He was more than happy when his legacy changed forever after his victory at Merion. He has also put his new-found celebrity to very good use. Several years ago, he and his wife Kate started “Blessings in a Backpack” in Orlando  where they now live  to help provide nutritious food for homeless kids. Since the Open they have started the “Kate and Justin Rose Foundation,” which has built on "Blessings in a Backpack,” and now feeds 1,600 kids every weekend.

Rose turned down a request Saturday to sit in the CBS booth after he finished playing, saying he and Kate had plans for the evening and needed to get going. No doubt that was true. But it was also pretty clear that he wanted to get what became a very difficult golf course late Saturday behind him and get ready for Sunday.

What Rose wants most right now is to be ready to play in the Open Championship in three weeks. He has never finished higher there than that fourth-place finish. And, while he knows that a strong finish on Sunday will give him a nice confidence boost when he heads to Europe next week, he would very much like to end the 12-months-plus winless spell.

In two weeks he’s planning to play the Scottish Open, something he hasn’t done in past years. “Phil (Mickelson) winning there and then winning at Muirfield last year got my attention,” he said, smiling. “I figure it’s worth giving it a try and see what happens.”

Maybe if the formula works and Rose wins in Liverpool he will get the Royal Family’s attention and finally get that MBE. He is certainly worthy of it.

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Rose (64) peaking just ahead of the U.S. Open

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:40 pm

A former U.S. Open champion appears to be finding his form just three weeks ahead of the year's second major.

Justin Rose ascended to the top of the leaderboard Friday at the Fort Worth Invitational, with rounds of 66-64 pushing him to 10 under par for the week.

Through 36 at Colonial, Rose has marked 12 birdies against just two bogeys.

"Yeah, I did a lot of good things today," Rose said. "I think, you know, the end of my round got a little scrappy, but until the last three holes it was pretty flawless. I think I hit every fairway pretty much and obviously every green to that point. ...

"Yeah, the way I played through, I guess through my first 15 holes today, was about as good as I've played in a long time."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Rose won in back-to-back weeks last fall, stunning Dustin Johnson at the WGC-HSBC Championship and riding that victory right into another at the Turkish Airlines Open.

Now the 2013 U.S. Open winner at Merion feels himself once again rounding into form ahead of this year's Open at Shinnecock. A final-round 66 at The Players gave Rose something to focus on in his recent practice sessions with swing coach Sean Foley, as the two work to shore up the timing of Rose's transition into the downswing.

As for his decision to tee it up at Colonial for the first time since 2010, "It was more the run of form really," Rose explained. "I feel like if I didn't play here it was going to be a little spotty going into the U.S. Open. I felt like I wanted to play enough golf where I would have a good read on my game going into Shinnecock.

"So rather than the venue it was more the timing, but it's obviously it's just such a bonus to be on a great layout like this."

For whatever reason, Rose does tend to play his best golf at iconic venues, having won PGA Tour events at Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional.

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Koepka (63): Two wrist dislocations in two months

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:19 pm

Brook Koepka's journey back from a wrist injury that kept him out four months hasn't been totally smooth sailing, even if his play has suggested otherwise.

Koepka on Friday fired a 7-under 63 to move up the leaderboard into a tie for third, three shots behind leader Justin Rose through the end of the morning wave at the Fort Worth Invitational.

After a slow start Thursday saw him play his first 13 holes 3 over, Koepka is 10 under with 11 birdies in his last 23 holes at Colonial.

"It doesn't matter to me. I could care less. I'm still going to try as hard as I can," Koepka said. "I don't care how many over or how many under I am. Still going to fight through it."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Just like he's been fighting his wrist the last two months or so. Koepka reinjured his wrist the Wednesday of The Players when he was practicing on the range and had to halt mid-swing after a golf cart drove in front of him. He nonetheless managed to finish T-11.

And that's not the only issue he's had with that wrist during his return.

"We had a bone pop out of place. I didn't tell anybody, but, yeah, they popped it back in," Koepka admitted Friday. "Luckily enough we kind of popped it back into place right away so it wasn't stiff and I didn't have too, too many problems.

"Yeah. I mean, I've dislocated my wrist twice in the last two months. You know, different spots, but, I mean, it's fun. I'll be all right."

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Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity

By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 6:30 pm

Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.

On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.

In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids

Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.

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Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

"That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

Check out the full interview below: