JUSTIN ROSE

I love team golf but 72-hole stroke­play is still the best way to iden­tify the top play­ers each week and in the rank­ings.

Golf World (UK) - - Contents - Justin Rose is a US Open cham­pion and Olympic gold medal­list who has played on the PGA and Euro­pean Tours for 18 years.

Our star colum­nist ex­plains why golf’s for­mat changes should be ap­plauded by all, even if he is a 72-hole tra­di­tion­al­ist at heart.

I’ve been re­ally en­cour­aged by the new for­mats the Euro­pean and PGA Tours have been try­ing and I think team golf is fan­tas­tic in the doses that we have it. I don’t see it as a model for ev­ery tour­na­ment go­ing for­ward, but I think the events that have im­ple­mented it right now are go­ing to be very suc­cess­ful be­cause they’re the ex­cep­tion, not the rule.

The Zurich Clas­sic ben­e­fited amaz­ingly from switch­ing from tra­di­tional 72-hole stroke­play to a twoman team for­mat this year. There were some ex­cit­ing part­ner­ships and the strength of the field re­ally ben­e­fited as well. I think peo­ple were re­ally into it and the tele­vi­sion rat­ings were through the roof from their nor­mal Thurs­day and Fri­day num­bers. There were a lot of pos­i­tives and I thor­oughly en­joyed it, even though it didn’t work out with my­self and Hen­rik Sten­son in terms of get­ting a good re­sult on this oc­ca­sion. It’s some­thing we’re both keen to do again, which is a good sign.

Over in Europe, the GolfSixes looked like a lot of fun and hope­fully I get a chance to par­tic­i­pate in some­thing like that on the Euro­pean Tour at some point. But it all boils down to sched­ul­ing for the elite play­ers, es­pe­cially over the sum­mer. If th­ese events are at the right time of year where you can ap­proach them with a more re­laxed mind­set then they’re go­ing to at­tract the top play­ers. But when the ma­jors and big events are com­ing thick and fast through the sum­mer, you want to keep in your rhythm and have a re­ally good read on your game.

The good play­ers know that if they min­imise all the vari­ables then their game is go­ing to take them to the top of the leader­board. I’m still very much a tra­di­tion­al­ist in the sense that 72-hole stroke­play is the most trusted way of find­ing the best player over the course of four days. Whereas if you’re play­ing for­mats where things are a bit more un­pre­dictable then who’s go­ing to win be­comes more un­pre­dictable. Of course, this is ex­cit­ing for the crowd, but not nec­es­sar­ily for the play­ers when your liveli­hood, ti­tles and world rank­ing points are all on the line.

I know there has been some crit­i­cism of the world rank­ing sys­tem but I think it’s in­cred­i­bly rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the best play­ers in the world. If you want to squab­ble over who’s 60th, 70th or 80th then you’re prob­a­bly not go­ing to keep ev­ery­one happy, but if you look at the top end – which is what I think re­ally mat­ters – they’re in­cred­i­bly cur­rent and ac­cu­rate and they do rep­re­sent who’s play­ing the best golf.

I don’t re­ally buy into the claim by a cou­ple of Amer­i­cans that it’s eas­ier to climb the world rank­ings by play­ing on the Euro­pean Tour. The strength of field on the PGA Tour is very, very deep and the qual­ity of golf you have to play to make cuts is stronger, so I can see how it could be tougher to break into the top of the leader­board if you’re in the mid­dle or­der. But then again, there are a lot more world rank­ing points to play for in Amer­ica than there are in Europe. All of the guys at the top end of the world rank­ings are play­ing their golf pre­dom­i­nantly on the PGA Tour, so that re­ally shoots the the­ory down for me.

We’ve seen many changes at the top in the last three to five years since the end of Tiger’s dom­i­nance. The guys at the top de­serve to be there. They’ve earned that po­si­tion and it’s very re­flec­tive of their two years of re­sults that are fac­tored into the rank­ing. Dustin John­son has cre­ated a gap at the top, which he thor­oughly de­serves be­cause of his in­cred­i­ble play.

For me, the level of golf amongst the top seven play­ers in the world rank­ings is some­thing we’ve never seen be­fore. To have six guys av­er­ag­ing more than seven world rank­ing points (and Hen­rik Sten­son mak­ing seven, un­til re­cently) is in­cred­i­bly strong golf. I’ve been num­ber three in the world at seven points and you could be 7th or 8th in the world with the same now. All the top guys are win­ning and it shows just how strong the game is at the mo­ment.

‘I don’t buy into the US play­ers’ claims that it’s eas­ier to climb the world rank­ings on the Euro­pean Tour ’

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