Is Rose a worthy World No. 1?
Yes, says Steve Carroll
Let’s not let a little six-footer come between friends. Justin Rose might have erred at the finish but, even without winning the BMW Championship, he deserves the mantle of world’s best player.
People can get a bit carried away with the world rankings. Yes, they are flawed but what they are designed to reward is a measure of consistency.
By any reasonable judge, Rose is one of the most consistent players in the game.
Let’s look at his season stats. If you take the PGA Tour campaign as a whole, rather than focusing on the calendar year, he’s won twice – the WGC-HSBC Champions and Fort Worth Invitational. He’s missed one cut from 17 events.
He’s had nine top 10s, three runner-up finishes and a 3rd place. In fact, if you take out his missed cut at the Northern Trust, he’s finished outside of the top 25 just twice.
Rose recorded a top 20 in all four of this season’s majors.
If you’re considering hunting around the upper reaches of the rankings to find anyone else who managed that, I’ll save you the effort. No one else in the top 10 did.
Given the level of competition we’re continually told exists today, that’s a remarkable level of performance.
Ever since winning Olympic gold in Brazil, it has been more of a surprise if Justin is not seen around the top of the leaderboard.
He has been hunting down Dustin Johnson since the Memorial Tournament. His elevation is now both just and deserved. It’s also a great boost for the European Ryder Cup team.
Hopefully it’s an accolade he can keep for some time to come.
No, says Dan Murphy
That Justin Rose should reach the summit of the game by getting into a play-off for the BMW Championship last night and then promptly bogeying the first hole to lose out to Keegan Bradley seems oddly fitting.
There have been, it is surely fair to say, more thrilling seizures of power. This one was less a storming of the gates and more of a silent coup.
There are shades of Luke Donald here, who reached the same milestone in 2011 through the weight of his understated excellence rather than by being a prolific winner.
So it is with Rose, who has actually had one of his more underwhelming seasons in the tournaments that matter most.
Yes, there was a tie for second at Carnoustie, but that came courtesy of a weekend-long charge through the field after a birdie at the 18th rather than a week at the top of the leaderboard.
Rose was on the fringes at Augusta and Shinnecock, finishing a respectable 12th and 10th, and slightly further back at Bellerive, where he was 19th.
He came 23rd in the Players and 37th in the only WGC he has played this season.
He hasn’t even earned the most ranking points this year.
But does the Fort Worth win and array of high finishes in top-class fields make him the best player in the world?
Yes, say the rankings. Me? I’d like to see how he gets on at the Ryder Cup before anointing him, while a second major title to add to the 2013 US Open is long overdue.
For now, I will salute his consistency.