JUSTIN ROSE

Golf World (UK) - - CONTENTS -

The Open Cham­pi­onship has been full of epic per­for­mances. Now it’s time for me to de­liver.

Ihave so many mem­o­ries of The Open Cham­pi­onship. One of my favourites was when Seve made that birdie on the 18th to win at St An­drews in 1984. I loved the clas­sic navy blue V-neck sweater with the white shirt un­der­neath. That’s the look and style that I try to have on the golf course, and I es­pe­cially try to recre­ate that at The Open be­cause of how iconic that mo­ment was for me. Then you’ve got Faldo play­ing im­pec­ca­bly at St An­drews in 1990. I was just about to turn 10 and at that im­pres­sion­able age so I’ll al­ways as­so­ci­ate Nick with those Pringle sweaters. I also went to the 1993 Open that Greg Nor­man won at Royal St George’s when I was 12. It was an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence.

When you’re young, you think it’s easy and don’t quite know what’s in­volved, but I had ab­so­lutely no doubts that I was go­ing to be a pro­fes­sional golfer from the age of about 12. I’ve holed the putt to win The Open a thou­sand times on the putting green at my home club, North Hants. My record at The Open isn’t as good as I’d like it to be. A lit­tle lady luck al­ways helps so you’re on the right side of the draw for the week. But I’ve played in 16 Opens to date so there’s no doubt that I’ve been on the good side of the draw enough times to have pro­duced bet­ter re­sults than I have. Maybe go­ing back to fin­ish­ing T-4 as a 17-year-old ama­teur in 1998, I’ve put too much pres­sure on my­self and had too much ex­pec­ta­tion.

I think Carnoustie is a good test and a good course for me. It’s def­i­nitely one that I’m fo­cus­ing on this year and I re­ally want to start do­ing a bet­ter job of com­pet­ing and con­tend­ing in The Open. It’s not that time’s run­ning out, but I’m 37 so there aren’t go­ing to be dozens of chances com­ing. It’s time to do what my good friend Hen­rik Sten­son has done and put one away.

I played The Open at Carnoustie in 1999 and 2007 and I’ve played the course in the Dun­hill Links a few times. It was im­pos­si­ble in 1999 the way they grew the rough and the weather we had – it was prob­a­bly one of the hard­est cour­ses I’ve ever played. But it’s been very playable in the Dun­hill Links and I’ve shot in the mid-60s around there so it all de­pends on the set-up and the weather. It’s a nar­row golf course and the bunkers frame each hole re­ally well, a bit like Muir­field. Like any links course, you’ve got to keep thread­ing the nee­dle off the tee. It’s a re­ally nice test of golf.

I’m go­ing to make a sep­a­rate trip up to Carnoustie to learn the course be­cause if you just rely on Mon­day, Tues­day

and Wed­nes­day of Open week for your prepa­ra­tion then that might not be enough given the el­e­ments. The wind might switch, which ren­ders your prepa­ra­tion pretty much use­less, so the more rounds you can get un­der your belt the bet­ter. Adam Scott will ba­si­cally camp out around Carnoustie for a cou­ple of weeks and play the course pretty much every day for a fort­night to ex­pe­ri­ence as many dif­fer­ent wind di­rec­tions as he can and get re­ally com­fort­able play­ing the course.

I’ll make some tweaks to my equip­ment, too. Whereas at Au­gusta I use a 62° wedge, I’ll prob­a­bly look at a 58° wedge with a lit­tle less bounce for Carnoustie be­cause that’s more func­tional on the tighter turf around the greens there. I’ll also look to get com­fort­able with more long irons in the bag. Most of the year I play a five-wood but I want some­thing I can st­ing low off the tee to keep it out the wind and run it out on the ground.

I re­ally en­joy play­ing the Ir­ish and Scot­tish Opens ahead of The Open. I tend to flip flop be­tween the two, but this year I’m go­ing to play the Scot­tish Open at Gul­lane and play my way into Carnoustie the fol­low­ing week. I tend to play the Ir­ish if The Open is in Eng­land be­cause I like be­ing in Scot­land for two weeks when The Open is there.

Win­ning The Open would mean ev­ery­thing to me and it would be a full cir­cle mo­ment in my ca­reer be­cause that’s where it all started for me at Birk­dale in 1998 and be­gin­ning my pro ca­reer the next week. I’d re­ally, re­ally en­joy the whole ex­pe­ri­ence and I’d en­joy every din­ner I had af­ter that with the Claret Jug in the mid­dle of the ta­ble.

Justin Rose is a US Open cham­pion and Olympic gold medal­list who has played on the PGA and Euro­pean Tours for 18 years.

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