Blogs & Opinion


Rose on the rise

Rob reflects on the latest talking points in golf

Rob Lee Posted 14th March 2012 view comments

When people talk about the top English golfers they inevitably talk about Luke Donald and Lee Westwood - and Ian Poulter sticks his head up above the parapet now and then.

But you've got to take notice of Justin Rose now.

Last weekend at Doral the top 50 players in the world were all competing for the WGC-Cadillac Championship and at the end of the week he was the top man.

Rose: a 'perfect' start to the year

Rose: a 'perfect' start to the year

This was his fourth PGA Tour win, including a FedEx Cup series win at the BMW Championship last year and the 2010 Memorial Tournament at Muirfield. When you throw in a World Golf Championship that's a pretty tasty CV.

It's not easy to play the last few holes at Doral when you're under pressure and we saw the likes of Keegan Bradley and Bubba Watson flounder on the final day. The only guy that kept it together was Justin.

Remember, Ben Hogan was hit by a bus when he was 36 but he came back from that and won six majors. In that context, Tiger's strained Achilles tendon doesn't seem quite so serious...

Rob Lee
Quotes of the week

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
Open de Andalucia

11am, Thu, Sky Sports 1 HD
Transitions Championship
7pm, Thu, Sky Sports 3 HD
Watch on the move with Sky Go
How to remote record

He's still an improving player and last week was a big step forward for him. He's not a flair player, he's very methodical, and I've always felt that everything had to be right for him to perform well. Nothing is left to chance and if things go slightly off-kilter then it doesn't seem to happen for him.

However, at the Honda Classic two weeks ago he got out of shape a little bit in the third round, yet he struggled around and stayed in there. He didn't have a great day on the golf course, but he didn't fall away like he might have done in the past and at the end of the week he finished tied for fifth.

He then followed it up with a WGC win the very next week and that's a fairly significant change in his game. He can keep it going when things aren't perfect and churn out a score. That's what all the top players have done over the years.

He's in his early thirties, which is golfing prime time, and if he is to win a major then it's likely to come in the next few years.

He's back into the world top 10 now and if you take confidence from good performances then he'll go to Augusta next month feeling pretty good. He's performed well at the Masters before (he was fifth in 2007) and there's no reason why he won't fancy his chances this year.

He's got the experience and the wins behind him to be a contender now. When you're on the back nine of a tournament and the doubts start to creep in, there's nothing like the knowledge that you've beaten a top-quality field. It proves to yourself that you can do it.

Quite simply, if he gets into contention at the Masters this time round, he'll be better equipped.

He's also given himself a wonderful opportunity to make the Ryder Cup team. There's too much golf to be played to suggest that he's a dead cert - things can change very quickly - but he's doing exactly what he needs to do.

If he continues on this curve he will be in the European side - and I'd like to see him make it. It's being played at an American venue and as somebody who has won on lots of American courses, Rose would be a great asset. He'll only have himself to blame if he doesn't make it.

Everything's going very well. He's second in the Race to Dubai after playing in just two events and he's in the top 10 of the FedEx Cup standings.

It's been a perfect start to the year.

Tiger relief

The other headline story at the Cadillac Championship was the withdrawal of Tiger Woods through injury.

I'd be concerned if it was a reoccurrence of his knee injury, but he says it's an Achilles problem, so that's not quite as worrying for his career long-term.

He's said he's hoping to play at Bay Hill next week and that's a huge relief because it will be great to see Tiger at the Masters. He brings so much to the show.

Remember, he's finished fourth on his last two outings at Augusta and on each occasion he had hardly any preparation. This time he's had a run of tournaments to prepare, including a career-low final round at the Honda, and his game is definitely improving.

If Tiger tees it up at Augusta then despite this setback he will definitely have a chance of winning. I had a bet on him several months ago to win the Masters at 10/1 and I'm still very happy with that.

And I still don't see why he can't catch Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 majors either. Remember, Ben Hogan was hit by a bus when he was 36 but he came back from that and won six majors.

In that context, Tiger's strained Achilles tendon doesn't seem quite so serious...

Rob's Sky Bet tips

The PGA Tour moves to Copperhead for the Transitions Championship, which is a great golf course with a couple of brutal holes. I'm going for Charl Schwartzel at 14/1 because his iron play is phenomenal and that could be important around there.

The European Tour hits mainland Europe for the first time this season at the Open de Andalucia and there's a great chance for a lot of the players who've come through qualifying school to impress. However, I'm going for Robert Rock at 22/1 who has flown in from America and is bound to be jet-lagged. He's got form for playing well under those conditions!

Comments (1)

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

Brian O'sullivan says...

Hi Rob, Good article. I agree, I am not sure Rose has the game to win at Augusta. He has started well there in the past and slipped up. To be honest i dont think Lee Westwood is going to win a major either. As good a player as he is I dont believe that he has the gears to win majors. He is a very steady player but like Monty before him he doesnt have the Extra gears like McIlroy to pull away from a field. He is also a comparatively poor short game player.

Posted 13:43 22nd March 2012

  • Page 1 of 1
  • 1

back to top

Other Golf Experts:

Latest Posts in Golf:

Butch Harmon

McGinley beat Watson

Butch Harmon says Paul McGinley out-captained Tom Watson as Europe retained the Ryder Cup....

0 comments

View from America

Thoroughbred field

Even without Tiger on top form, the PGA at Valhalla proved golf's elite can thrill, says Simon Veness....

comments

Latest News RSS feeds

Alfred Dunhill preview

A preview and best bets for this week's European Tour event - the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

McIlroy claims PGA Tour award

Rory McIlroy has been voted the PGA Tour player of the year for the second time in three years.

Rory: Clarke perfect captain

Rory McIlroy says Darren Clarke is the "perfect" man to captain Europe at the next Ryder Cup in 2016.

Ryder stars set for Links

Four of Europe's Ryder Cup-winning dozen will be teeing it up at this week's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Montgomerie: Clarke favourite

Colin Montgomerie, who is on the selection panel, says Darren Clarke is favourite to be Ryder Cup captain.

Features

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship: A preview and best bets for this week's event in Scotland

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship: A preview and best bets for this week's event in Scotland

With last weekend’s Ryder Cup still fresh in the mind, there has been a jubilant buzz in the air ahead of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Titleist 915 metals

Titleist 915 metals

For the eagle eyed among us, you may have noticed Titleist tour players with some new equipment in their bags over the past few months. In particular Geoff Ogilvy who claimed his first victory since 2010 at the Barracuda Championship using the new 915 D2 Driver.

Rob Lee's Sky Bet tips: Sky Sports pundit looks at Alfred Dunhill Links contenders

Rob Lee's Sky Bet tips: Sky Sports pundit looks at Alfred Dunhill Links contenders

With Rob Lee having spent many hours commentating on the Ryder Cup for Sky Sports – and offering up his end-of-play thoughts on skysports.com – we decided to give him a rest from blog duty this week.