His CV is ridiculous and has only been bettered by a handful of players, so what more can the Englishman do? Well, for a start he can help his old pal Luke Donald in September, writes Matt Chivers
One thousand five hundred days later and Justin Rose is a winner again.
Four years on from his last tour victory, the Englishman – who had to sleep on a two-shot lead as the PGA Tour once again spilled into Monday – not only ended his drought that stretches back to the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open, but also became the first European player to win the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
But wile the wind wreaked havoc in California, Rose was calmness personified, rolling in three more birdies coming home to help seal the deal at the venue where he came tied-third the last time it held a US Open.
“I feel like I have been fortunate enough to win at some great venues, but Pebble’s right up there,” he told reporters after winning his 11th PGA Tour title and 25th overall. “Just that walk up 18, to be able to build a bit of a lead to enjoy it was a very special moment.
“I think obviously when you’re a bit starved for a win as well, the fact that it came today on a weather day like we had and at a venue that we had today was just worth waiting for.”
With four rounds in the 60s, we saw a version of Rose we hadn’t seen for some time on the American circuit. He now has an oddly satisfying 11 wins on each of the PGA and DP World Tours, adding another line to his sparkling resume.
But the 42-year-old’s game hasn’t been so sparkling of late. Last season, he made just two top-10s in 18 events in the States and came 106th in the FedEx Cup standings. The season before, he failed to record a top-five finish on Tour for the first time since 2001.
He finished in the most agonising position you can in the FedEx Cup points list in 2021 – 126th – and missed out on the Playoffs for the first time since their inception in 2007. This was in contrast to winning the lucrative season-long award in 2018, and his victory at Torrey Pines was the last in a sequence of eight consecutive seasons in which he won on the PGA Tour.
The 2013 US Open champion showed glimmers of promise in that four-year stint outside of the winners’ circle. He shot a 65 in the first round of the Masters two years ago which gave him a four-shot lead after 18 holes. He went on to finish seventh.
But this latest victory reminds us of what Rose was, and what he could still be. He is now eighth on the all-time PGA Tour earnings list – only Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk are ahead of him. That’s some company.
When you consider what Rose has achieved in the game, it’s as close to a Hall of Fame career as you can get. He might just be the most underrated golfer on the planet.
GEAR: Justin Rose won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am using the new Callaway Paradym driver – and our equipment team has tested the whole range
As for the Ryder Cup, we’ve spent so much time wondering about who will be on Luke Donald’s team in September – and this is the first time Rose’s name has come up.
He wasn’t selected in 2021 when Europe was humbled by America at Whistling Straits. He has represented his continent five times and he wants to be there as a player in Italy. Could this be the year of Rose’s resurgence?
“I felt like what was really important to me was getting off to a good start on the PGA Tour so I wasn’t under pressure later in the season, so I could turn my attention to the Ryder Cup and the European Tour as and when that becomes the important part of the phase of the season,” he explained.
“So the plan’s gone pretty perfectly, to be honest with you. Three really good solid weeks out here and I built a platform now to be able to look at the rest of the year in a much more positive light and start earning points.
“Obviously I’d love to play my way onto the team. But I want to be a player that, if I’m playing well, Luke has to consider and feel good about [me] being part of this team.”
With the European team in a so-called transition period, and it looking like the Ryder Cup careers of Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter over, an old head certainly wouldn’t go amiss in Rome. What a way to sign off.
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