CLASS IS PERMAMENT
One of golf’s most respected players continues to make a huge contribution to the sport, on and off the course. Gary Lemke
Casey Jarvis has continued where he left off as an amateur, by making a big impact on the pro circuit. Gary Lemke
So much has happened to Justin Rose since he chipped in at the 72nd hole to tie for fourth at the 1998 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. There, he was an amateur, still only 17 at the time. Four years earlier, as a 14-year-old (his birthday is 30th July), he’d almost qualified for The Open at St Andrews. “My brother flew in from South Africa to caddie for me, and it was incredibly special.”
Then, after playing a practice round with Ernie Els and Nick Price at Royal Birkdale in 1988, he went on to create one of the most iconic images in Open history. “That one shot I hit, that’s the one shot I have had to try to live up to,” Rose, now 43, said years later.
At first he felt the weight of expectation too much. He missed the first 21 cuts of his professional career, a remarkable statistic for a generational talent.
That was then, this is now.
Everyone is in it together. I made the putt because I had 10 people willing it in behind me
Looking back at Rose’s first appearance at The Open Championship in 1998.
Like he did all those years ago at The Open, he produced a YouTube moment at the 2023 Ryder Cup. He sank a nine-foot putt on the final green of his and Robert McIntyre’s fourball match against Wyndham Clark and Max Homa to square a match that seemed lost.
“I haven’t had many moments in Ryder Cups,” Rose said a few minutes after the putt dropped. “I’ve had points, but I haven’t had that many moments. Not in the afternoon in fourballs with the whole team around. That was immense.”
The Americans were 2 up with two holes to play. “On the 17th tee I said to my caddie, ‘Come on, I don’t want to be the only piece of red on that board.’” The Americans made bogey and lost the hole, and then on the 18th Rose made his clutch putt to square the match, a vigorous fist pump in the direction of his teammates applying the full stop to the comeback.
“I think it was you and you and you and you; that’s what I was saying,” Rose said later of his celebration. “For all the boys. You know, because everyone is in it together. I made the putt because I had 10 people willing it in behind me.”
I am a proud Englishman but South Africa holds a special place in my heart... To play in front of South African crowds who love their sport is always good fun
Rose gives a shout-out to South Africa and the Boks.
PRAISE FROM A TEAMMATE
In the lead-up to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in his homeland of Scotland, Bob MacIntyre recalled what an impact Rose had on him at the Ryder Cup.
Rose has 25 international wins, including the 2013 US Open, 11 wins on the PGA Tour, 11 on the DP World (European) Tour and has won twice on the Sunshine Tour. He was ranked world No 1 for 13 weeks, having reached the summit in September 2018. And he won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics, after golf returned to the Games after a 112-year itch.
He has made the cut at 16 out of 18 Masters tournaments, and in total 54 times from 77 Major appearances. He has represented Europe at six Ryder Cups, helping them win it four times. Did I mention that he is still only 43?
Rose returns to South Africa for the 2023 Nedbank Golf Challenge for the first time in a decade after finishing tie-7th, when he competed as the reigning US Open champion. “I am a proud Englishman but South Africa holds a special place in my heart as the country of my birth and also where I won for the first time as a professional. To play in front of South African crowds who love their sport is always good fun,” he said.
Even though he is an Englishman, he will be embraced by the Sun City gallery due to his South African roots, despite the animosity that spilled over between the two countries after their Rugby World Cup semi-final.
Rose returns to Sun City refreshed. After an emotionally and physically draining Ryder Cup, won 16.5-11.5 by Europe at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club outside Rome, he took the family on a welcome break.
Rose was named the winner of the Nicklaus-Jacklin award at the 2023 Ryder Cup. The award honours two icons in the game and is given to the player who best embodies the true spirit of the Ryder Cup.
Earlier that week Rose had told the media, as the elder statesman in Team Europe: “I wish I was 10 years younger. As we all do.” But his performance certainly was that of someone 10 years younger.
He is also contributing positively to his legacy. In 2020 Rose, along with his wife, Kate, put up £35 000 of their own money to start the Rose Ladies Series, an eight-tournament stretch for female golfers in England. And in 2022 they hosted the inaugural Rose Ladies Open, a 54-hole tournament at Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire, England, which is also a pathway to the Ladies European Tour. Sweden’s My Leander won in 2022 and this year Switzerland’s Chiara Tambolini enjoyed her breakthrough.
“It is important for us to continue to provide these opportunities for female professionals to play competitively. In everything we do within ladies professional golf, we are working towards change, pushing for equality. And with this tournament, we are providing the players on the Access Series with a way through to the Ladies European Tour,” the Roses said.
As we head towards December, Rose finds himself at 37th on the World Ranking. He had signed off 2022 at 76th. The asterisk to this is that the LIV Series golfers don’t get points from their events, but even so, the South Africa-born Englishman is rolling back the years.
See how Rose ended a four-year winless drought with his victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February.
ERIK S LESSER/FABIO FRUSTACI/ETTRORE FERRARI/EPA/BACKPAGEPIX/PETRI OESCHGER/SUNSHINE TOUR