Rose proves again he's one of the elite
Passes another major test with playoff victory at Quicken Loans with The Open looming
June 29, 2014
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
- Justin Rose has six TOUR victories including the 2013 U.S. Open, and six international wins. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, Md. -- The last time The Open Championship was played at Royal Liverpool, Justin Rose watched it on TV.
"Missed it because I wasn't very good," the good-natured Rose said candidly. "I was having a bit of a rough spell."
Indeed, he was. That Open was the sixth straight major in which Rose wasn't eligible to play. The man who has matured into a top-10 player in the world now calls it a "re-motivating" time in his career.
"I just remember (the course) being burnt out, really warm, people eating ice cream and Tiger winning," Rose said with a wry smile.
Times change. And the 33-year-old Englishman will head to Hoylake next month among the favorites after his gritty victory in the Quicken Loans National at Congressional, which played like a major championship venue on Sunday.
Rose came up with a clutch par at the 17th hole and an even bigger 15-footer for a water-logged bogey at No. 18 to preserve his spot in a playoff with Shawn Stefani. He then won the Quicken Loans National for the second time in five years with a par on the first extra hole after Stefani put his approach in the water.
"An amazing feeling in any sort of championship, when you make a putt like that that means something like that on the 18th hole, that's special," said Rose, who was one of just six players to break par on Sunday. "And then the playoff, it was just up to me to not do what I did the first time around."
The playoff was the first in the eight-year history of the Quicken Loans National, as well as the first in Rose's PGA TOUR career. With the sixth victory of his career, the 2013 U.S. Open champion won for the first time since that hard-fought victory at Merion 54 weeks ago.
"It's a huge boost confidence-wise, yeah, for sure, because I've been semi-in contention this year," said Rose, who has six top-10s this season but nothing higher than fourth until Sunday. "... I haven't really been playing with a lead all year. To do it and get it done and make key putts, that's huge for my psyche going into a major championship.
"And obviously for the rest of the year, gives me a nice boost: A nice boost into the FedExCup as the Playoffs are upon us; nice boost Ryder Cup points, probably takes that off my mind. So yeah, it's a really nice time of year to have a victory and allows me to focus on exciting challenges now ahead."
Counting Merion and Congressional, which played to an average of nearly three strokes over par on Sunday, Rose has won on some of the game's stoutest courses -- including Aronimink, Cog Hill and Jack Nicklaus' Muirfield Village. So it should come as no surprise that he'll be looked at as a contender when the game's oldest major is played on the western coast of England in two weeks.
"I like this type of test," Rose said. "... This week you're going to miss greens; you're going to be challenged; you're going to have to grind and you're going to have to do everything at some point this week, and that's the type of golf I like, that tests all your skill sets. That's normally what major championships do."
Justin Rose wins Quicken Loans National in a playoff