Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Thorny Task of Retaining Title Does Not Faze Justin

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Thorny Task of Retaining Title Does Not Faze Justin

Article excerpt

WHEN Justin Rose won his first major title in brilliant fashion at Merion 12 months ago, it ended England's 43-year wait for a US Open winner. Now all he has to do for an encore is become the first man in 25 years to win it twice in succession.

Curtis Strange was the last player to achieve such a feat in 1988 and 1989, but there is more than one reason to be optimistic about Rose's chances.

Firstly, the last man to win backto-back US Opens before Strange was the legendary Ben Hogan, who did so in 1950 and 1951, with the first of those wins coming at Merion.

Secondly there is Rose's form this season, hampered early on by a shoulder injury but recently featured finishes of eighth, fifth and fourth in successive events on the PGA Tour before taking 25th in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

And last but not least is the 33-year-old's determination to add more major titles to the one he fittingly won on Father's Day last year and dedicated to his late dad Ken, a massive influence on his career.

"I've enjoyed the year of being US Open champion, but I feel motivated now to move on from that and to win more golf tournaments and especially majors," Rose said. "So it's time to make special memories and new memories and create new goals.

"You have the elation of the first win and then the Open rolls around and you have missed the cut and there's another major champion crowned. I have young children at home and it did not seem to have any impact on them. When you fast forward to the end of your career that's when you can look back."

Speaking of young children, Rose's son Leon and daughter Charlotte will not be at Pinehurst as their father does battle in the year's second major championship, but that could be another good omen.

"If it's not broke, don't fix it," Rose said of his preparations. "That is going to be my mentality; I'll prepare the same way as I did at Merion.

"If you are in contention you are teeing off at 2.30 in the afternoon and the kids are up at 7am no matter what. Once the kids are up, it is very difficult for you to be detached from them. …

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