A guest post:
The Open – is Rose blooming just in time?
Just a few days after the ever-steady Justin Rose made history by becoming the first Englishman to win a US Open title since Tony Jacklin back in 1971; golf fans worldwide are still in shock. As it’s been well over a decade since an Englishman won any major, Rose’s victory seems sweeter than most other major victories in recent times.
Having finally won his maiden major at the expense of a dogged Phil Mickelson in Merion, the new world ranked number three player is being tipped for more success by many pundits including a certain Tony Jacklin! With the Open just over a month away, Rose is likely to be among those tipped to be at or near the top of the leaderboard by Sunday evening.
As the Open, which takes place at Muirfield in Scotland, is the next big major, all the world’s top players will be preparing thoroughly for it in the hope that they can experience more glory, including Rose. As the most recent major winner, a lot of pressure will be heaped on his shoulders to try and deliver back-to-back wins in both major Opens, but has it happened before?
The last man to do this was Tiger Woods at his imperious best back in the year 2000. The last man to record a transatlantic Open double before him was Tom Watson in 1982 when the competition was extremely fierce. It can happen again, but Rose is going to need to be on his game throughout, especially as he’s on one of the most difficult links courses in the world.
Although he’s never won it before, in his formative years, Rose managed to finish joint fourth as an amateur qualifier in the 1998 event at Royal Birkdale. His record since then in the Open has been at best mixed, but he’s likely to be one of the main challengers for the Claret Jug along with some hoping to make amends for a poor showing at Merion.
Two players that immediately come to mind are Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. Tiger has some form to go on this year, but finishing way back after a less than impressive final round means that the long wait for another major goes on.
As for McIlroy, his show of frustration at the US Open where he bent one of his clubs in anger suggests that all is not well for the Northern Irishman.
As for the others, expect to see the likes of Charl Schwartzel, Luke Donald and the underrated American Jason Dufner give it all they’ve got. After experiencing yet more US Open disappointment, the mercurial Mickelson could use his golfing wizardry to good effect at Muirfield, although he will have to drive a little less waywardly!