Rose Living in the Present

By Mercer BaggsAugust 29, 2003, 4:00 pm
NORTON, Mass. -- No matter where he goes, no matter what he does, Justin Rose will always be reminded of his past ' from his glorious amateur ascent to his rapid professional plummet.
You probably already know the story, because its been told a thousand times. And if you do, then try and imagine just how many times Rose has been asked to answer Why?
Rose first swung a club at 11 months ' a plastic version placed in his hands by his father, Ken, who died of cancer last year.
He broke 70 for the first time at age 11; had a handicap of plus-3 at 14 and played on the Walker Cup at 17.
I was the youngest ever Walker Cup player and achieved a lot of great things as an amateur, he said. I kind of look back at my amateur career as a source of confidence more than that fourth-place finish.
That fourth-place finish was, of course, at the 1998 Open Championship, where he holed his final shot of the tournament, his final shot as an amateur, from the rough.
Brimming with confidence, and the exaltations still ringing in his ears, Rose turned professional the following day ' and promptly missed his first 22 cuts.
He gradually turned things around and finally cashed in with four worldwide wins in 2002.
How did he make the transformation?
Just pure hard work, he said after shooting 8-under 63 to take the first-round lead in the Deutsche Bank Championship.
I have always believed I have got the talent. I just went through a stage ' whether because I grew or whatever it might have been ' I suddenly started to get the club stuck behind me and you have to rely on your hands a lot more that way.
So I have been working ' even now I still work on trying to get the club in front of me so I have to rely less on my hands.
Rose, who learned the game from his father, has been coached by David Leadbetter since 98.
David is incredible; it can take five minutes sometimes, Rose said. If he just sees something, he manages to kind of tell you in a way that you can internalize it.
This is the 23-year-old Englishmans 10th PGA Tour event this season. He is playing for the third straight week, having missed the cut in the PGA Championship ' after missing the cut at the Open Championship ' and tying for 33rd at the WGC-NEC Invitational.
He took three weeks off between the seasons final two majors.
That proved to be disastrous, but it might be paying benefits now, he said. I kind of lost my enthusiasm a little bit around that time and I was a little bit frustrated with the game.
He was even more frustrated upon his return. He shot 77-78 at Oak Hill, and then opened in 72-73 at Firestone ' where there was no cut ' before posting a pair of 69s.
This weeks Friday-through-Monday schedule has proved beneficial.
Having played the last two events we played, I havent had a pro-am, so you get caught up in practicing Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday before the Thursday start. So I feel maybe looking back that tired me out, he said.
I thought, this week I am going to take it a little bit easier. I came up and played on Wednesday ' took Thursday off, just came up and did two, three hours practice. Just trying to pace myself better.
And well it showed in Round 1. Rose was 4 under through seven holes ' and didnt have to make a putt outside of three feet. He had six birdies and an eagle at the par-5 18th to establish the TPC of Boston tournament record.
I love everything about it ' today, Rose joked about the course. He said the spacious fairways, in relation to the ones he tried to navigate the last two weeks, are a welcome sight.
The fairways are wider and it gives you the feeling you can go out there and play golf. You are not feeling like you are caged in and you are just trying to grind a score out, he explained.
Rose has played in the four majors, both World Golf Championship events, and The Players Championship. Hes also got invitations to play in this tournament, as well as The Honda Classic and the Bay Hill Invitational.
I enjoy playing in the States, he said. It would be nice to make enough money to have the opportunity to play here a little bit more should I want to next year.
A win this week, and hell have the opportunity to play whenever and wherever he desires over the next two-plus years.
And hell also give people something other than his past to talk about.
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    Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 4:00 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:

    The Monday morning headline will be …

    REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.

    RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.

    MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.

    JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.

    Who or what will be the biggest surprise?

    HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.

    LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.

    BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.

    COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.

    Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?

    HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.

    LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.

    BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.

    COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.

    What will be the winning score?

    HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.

    LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.

    BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.

    COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.

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    Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 3:16 pm

    Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.

    Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.

    This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):

    While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:

    Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.

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    McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

    Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

    “It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”

    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

    “Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

    He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.  

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    Height of irony: Phil putts in front of 'rules' sign

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 1:36 pm

    A picture is worth 1,000 words and potentially two strokes for playing a moving ball under Rule 14-5 but not Rule 1-2.

    Phil Mickelson has been having some fun during his Open prep at Carnoustie hitting flop shots over human beings, but the irony of this photo below is too obvious to go over anyone's head.

    Mickelson also tried tapping down fescue two weeks ago at The Greenbrier, incurring another two-shot penalty.

    And so we're left to wonder about what Phil asked himself back at Shinnecock Hills: "The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’”