Patrick Reed is a good guy, a global player and proved his class at Augusta. Now I’m focused on the US Open.
Our star columnist on Patrick Reed’s Masters win and his own detailed preparations for the US Open at Shinnecock Hills.
I’ve got a really good record at the Masters and I went there again this year with the goal of winning. My preparations went well and I’m pleased with the way I played but I never had that run of three or four birdies in quick succession to really get me going. I felt like I putted well but the other guys just moved away from me and I couldn’t catch them over the weekend.
Obviously I’m disappointed it wasn’t my year but I’m really happy for Patrick Reed. Fooch (Mark Fulcher, my caddie) and I get on really well with Patrick and his caddie, Kessler. He’s got an incredible work ethic and determination to succeed. He played superb golf all week at Augusta and the way he handled the pressure tells you a lot about his character. He held off the likes of Rory, Jordan and Rickie coming at him and always seemed to find a big shot or putt when he needed it despite not having his A game in the final round. I think that shows an incredible amount of mental strength.
I also think he deserves credit for being a truly global player. He’s played quite a lot of events outside America in the last few years and he’s been a member of the European Tour for three of the past four seasons including this one. It’s great to see American players embracing the challenge of playing around the world and Patrick deserves a lot of praise for leading the way in that regard.
It’s a really exciting time of the year heading into a massive summer. By the time you probably read this I’ll have played with Henrik Stenson again at the Zurich Classic. We really enjoyed the team format last year and it’s great to see the PGA Tour taking a lead from the party atmosphere at the Golf Sixes on the European Tour by introducing walk-on music this time. We haven’t decided what song we’ll have yet, but my manager Paul has suggested the Swedish House Mafia. We’ll have to see.
I love the Memorial Tournament, hosted by the legend that is Jack Nicklaus the first weekend of June, and then it’s all systems go for the US Open at Shinnecock Hills. I’m planning to go there for two or three days in late May to familiarise myself with the course. I did actually play there last time it hosted the US Open in 2004, but I missed the cut and a lot has changed since then – for the course and how I play.
I’ll probably play 36 holes with nine in the morning and nine in the afternoon each day so I can see how the course plays at different times. I might even walk nine holes just with the wedge and putter to really get a feel for the place. I love being out there like that with Fooch, just really getting an understanding of the course and how it’s likely to play on and around the greens.
As well as Fooch, I’ll also have my swing coach Sean Foley and probably my putting coach Phil Kenyon there, so it’s a real team effort. The idea is that we can work together to identify the strategy that we believe will give me the best chance to win on Sunday. It’s not going to be playing exactly the same as it will in US Open week but it enables us to see how tough it’s likely to be, where we can get aggressive and the holes where we can accept par as a good score.
We can also really tailor my practice regime and preparations once we’ve seen the course first-hand and started to formulate a strategy. I’ll work on different trajectories and shot shapes if we can see it’s a layout that favours a fade or a draw and I’ll pay more attention to the types of short game shots I’m likely to face. There tends to be a lot of deep rough around the fairways and greens at a US Open but the type of grass at the venue can make a big difference to how you play those recovery shots and what’s possible.
Those couple of days and the prep work we do off the back of them are so important so I can feel 100 per cent prepared when I step onto the first tee on Thursday. I feel like I play my best golf when I’m in that mindset and nowhere is that more important than at a US Open, because it’s typically the toughest set-up we play all year.
Justin Rose is a US Open champion and Olympic gold medallist who has played on the PGA and European Tours for 18 years.
‘I played Shinnecock Hills the last time it hosted the US Open in 2004 – a lot has changed since then’