A year in the life of Justin Rose

 

2017 has been “a year of three thirds” for WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open winner Justin Rose.

Ahead of his big wins in Turkey and China and immediately after his recent trip to Buckingham Palace, Golfing World’s Anna Whiteley was lucky enough to spend time with the 2013 U.S. Open Champion who was in reflective mood.

The day before their catch up, Justin had enjoyed a big day out at the Palace with his family after being awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List. He was awarded this honour for services to golf in the wake of his Olympic triumph in 2016 and was clearly very humbled to have been recognised in such fashion.

 

 

Beyond providing insight into this proud occasion for him and his family, Rose was also keen to look back on what had up to that point been a slightly frustrating season. His year got off to a fine start with top five finishes in three of his first four starts in 2017 before he then managed, as planned, to peak nicely in time for the Masters.

The year’s opening major has played host to some of Rose’s finest career performances, he’s finished inside the top 10 on his last three outings at Augusta and inside the top 25 in his last eight appearances, and the 2017 edition proved to be no different for him. In fact, this was arguably Rose’s greatest performance at the Masters to date as he went toe-to-toe with fellow European heavyweight Sergio Garcia in a compelling battle down the stretch, only to ultimately lose in a playoff against the inspired Spaniard.

Although he “loved every minute” of his head-to-head with Garcia, Rose was willing to concede that missing out on bagging himself a green jacket again had left him disappointed and that it had perhaps had a hangover effect as the second third of his season didn’t go quite as he would have hoped.

The final third, however, will now be looked back on with great fondness following his surge to what seemed an unlikely victory at the 54-hole stage at Sheshan International and then another superb win in Turkey.

With a round to play in China World No.1 Dustin Johnson looked set for a final day cruise to a third WGC triumph of his season, as he led by six strokes from Brooks Koepka, seven from Henrik Stenson and then a further stroke from Rose at nine-under. The combination of a fourth round collapse from Johnson however and a superb charge from the Englishman saw Rose come out on top and land the huge victory that his play, at times throughout the year, had deserved. Then, a week later, when the chance to take the Turkish Airlines Open by storm presented itself he was in no mood to hesitate.

With these back-to-back successes Justin has now jumped up to second in the Race To Dubai, meaning he is now right on the tail of leader Tommy Fleetwood going into the final two events of the European Tour season.

Could Justin Rose top the Race To Dubai standings come the end of the DP World Tour Championship later this month and could he then go on to deservedly end his wait for a green jacket at the Masters in 2018? If he produces his best form in the crucial moments in weeks and months to come, as he has during the past fortnight, then both of these eventualities are entirely possible.