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.

Getty Images

Wie has hand surgery, out for rest of 2018

By Randall MellOctober 18, 2018, 9:43 pm

Michelle Wie will miss the rest of this season after undergoing surgery Thursday to fix injuries that have plagued her right hand in the second half of this year.

Wie announced in an Instagram post that three ailments have been causing the pain in her hand: an avulsion fracture, bone spurs and nerve entrapment.

An avulsion fracture is an injury to the bone where it attaches to a ligament or tendon.

View this post on Instagram

I think John Mayer once said, “Someday, everything will make perfect sense. So for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, be strong and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.” A lot of people have been asking me what’s been going on with my hand and I haven’t shared much, because I wasn’t sure what was going on myself. After countless MRI’s, X-rays, CT scans, and doctor consultations, I was diagnosed with having a small Avulsion Fracture, bone spurring, and nerve entrapment in my right hand. After 3 cortisone injections and some rest following the British Open, we were hoping it was going to be enough to grind through the rest of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to get me through. So I made the decision after Hana Bank to withdraw from the rest of the season, come back to the states, and get surgery to fix these issues. It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year but hopefully I am finally on the path to being and STAYING pain free! Happy to announce that surgery was a success today and I cannot wait to start my rehab so that I can come back stronger and healthier than ever. Huge thank you to Dr. Weiland’s team at HSS for taking great care of me throughout this process and to all my fans for your unwavering support. It truly means the world to me. I’ll be back soon guys!!!! Promise

A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Dr. Andrew Weiland, an attending orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, performed the procedure.

“It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year, but, hopefully, I am finally on the path to being and staying pain free,” Wie wrote.

Wie withdrew during the first round of the Ricoh Women’s British Open with the hand injury on Aug. 2 and didn’t play again until teeing it up at the UL International Crown two weeks ago and the KEB Hana Bank Championship last week. She played those events with what she hoped was a new “pain-free swing,” one modeled after Steve Stricker, with more passive hands and wrists. She went 1-3 at the UL Crown and tied for 59th in the limited field Hana Bank.

“After 3 cortisone injections and some rest following the British Open, we were hoping it was going to be enough to grind through the rest of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to get me through,” she wrote.

Buick LPGA Shanghai: Articles, photos and videos

Wie, who just turned 29 last week, started the year saying her top goal was to try to stay injury free. She won the HSBC Women’s World Championship in March, but her goal seemed doomed with a diagnosis of arthritis in both wrists before the year even started.

Over the last few years, Wie has dealt with neck, back, hip, knee and ankle injuries. Plus, there was an emergency appendectomy that knocked her out of action for more than a month late last season. Her wrists have been an issue going back to early in her career.

“I don’t think there is one joint or bone in her body that hasn’t had some sort of injury or issue,” Wie’s long-time swing coach, David Leadbetter, said earlier this year.

Getty Images

Woods receives his Tour Championship trophy

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 8:57 pm

We all know the feeling of giddily anticipating something in the mail. But it's doubtful that any of us ever received anything as cool as what recently showed up at Tiger Woods' Florida digs.

This was Woods' prize for winning the Tour Championship. It's a replica of "Calamity Jane," Bobby Jones' famous putter. Do we even need to point out that the Tour Championship is played at East Lake, the Atlanta course where Jones was introduced to the game.

Woods broke a victory drought of more than five years by winning the Tour Championhip. It was his 80th PGA Tour win, leaving him just two shy of Sam Snead's all-time record.

Getty Images

Garcia 2 back in storm-halted Andalucia Masters

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 7:08 pm

SOTOGRANDE, Spain  -- Ashley Chesters was leading on 5-under 66 at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters when play was suspended because of darkness with 60 golfers yet to complete their weather-hit first rounds on Thursday.

More than four hours was lost as play was twice suspended because of stormy conditions and the threat of lightning at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain.

Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters

English journeyman Chesters collected six birdies and one bogey to take a one-shot lead over Gregory Bourdy of France. Tournament host and defending champion Sergio Garcia was on 68 along with fellow Spaniards Alvaro Quiros and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, and Australia's Jason Scrivener.

''It's a shame I can't keep going because the last few holes were the best I played all day. Considering all the delays and everything, I'm very happy with 5 under,'' Chesters said. ''The forecast for the rest of the week is not very good either so I thought I'll just make as many birdies as I can and get in.''

Getty Images

Caddies drop lawsuit; Tour increases healthcare stipend

By Rex HoggardOctober 18, 2018, 3:33 pm

After nearly four years of litigation, a group of PGA Tour caddies have dropped their lawsuit against the circuit.

The lawsuit, which was filed in California in early 2015, centered on the bibs caddies wear during tournaments and ongoing attempts by the caddies to improve their healthcare and retirement options.

The caddies lost their class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court and an appeal this year.

Separately, the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, which was not involved in the lawsuit but represents the caddies to the Tour, began negotiating with the circuit last year.

“I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the APTC.

In January 2017, Jay Monahan took over as commissioner of the Tour and began working with the APTC to find a solution to the healthcare issue. Sajtinac said the Tour has agreed to increase the stipend it gives caddies for healthcare beginning next year.

“It took a year and a half, but it turned out to be a good result,” Sajtinac said. “Our goal is to close that window for the guys because healthcare is such a massive chunk of our income.”

In a statement released by the Tour, officials pointed out the lawsuit and the “potential increase to the longtime caddie healthcare subsidy” are two separate issues.

“Although these two items have been reported together, they are not connected. The PGA Tour looks forward to continuing to support the caddies in the important role they play in the success of our members,” the statement said.

Caddies have received a stipend from the Tour for healthcare for some time, and although Sajtinac wouldn’t give the exact increase, he said it was over 300 percent. Along with the APTC’s ability to now negotiate healthcare plans as a group, the new stipend should dramatically reduce healthcare costs for caddies.

“It’s been really good,” said Sajtinac, who did add that there are currently no talks with the Tour to created a retirement program for caddies. “Everybody is really excited about this.”