Former US Open winner Justin Rose has resorted to the meticulous approach which brought him a maiden major title as he looks to win a second in the 145th Open Championship.
Rose flew straight to Royal Troon after finishing 46th in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron on July 3 and has spent the last nine days practising at the Ayrshire venue.
A similar approach paid dividends at Merion in 2013, where the Ryder Cup star arrived early and left with the trophy after becoming the first English winner of the US Open since Tony Jacklin in 1970.
“I felt that if I went back home, it’s very easy to get caught up in seeing people and getting distracted and not spending as much time on your game as you need to with the week into a major,” the 35-year-old said.
“So I thought coming straight to Troon with a little less distraction was going to be a good plan for me and set me up well for the week.
“For me personally the majors are really what’s going to move the needle in my career. If I win one more or two more or three more, that’s going to be what defines my career.
“I also have other goals as well, to be a more prolific winner. To be able to have a season where I win more than once or twice. That’s a big goal of mine. But outside of that it is focusing on the major championships because I believe that’s where history is at.
“So I always see the major championships as two-week spells, a week of preparation where you’re really getting into it. That paid dividends for me at Merion. I feel like that separated me from a lot of the other guys that particular week and that gave me the opportunity to win.”
Asked if his preparation had given him extra confidence, the world number 11 added: “Yeah, extra confidence, or I’d say right now I feel like it’s a calmness. I’m prepared, I’m ready.
“I’ve seen the course in both winds. I feel like I’m rounding into form. I feel like some of the thought processes that a player goes through, I feel like they’re simplified or solidifying in my mind what’s going to be my strategy going into the week. The rest is going to be about ‘Can you go out and do it?’ I feel ready and excited.”
Rose burst onto the scene when he finished fourth in the Open as a 17-year-old amateur at Royal Birkdale in 1998, but until last year’s share of sixth place at St Andrews had not recorded another top-10 finish in 12 attempts.
“It’s easy to blame a bad draw once in a while,” Rose joked. “I’ve had a few outside chances where I’ve felt like I’ve actually played much better than the result has turned out, so I’ve never been overly concerned by it.
“But obviously it’s a tournament that I’d dearly love to win. It’s been a slow summer for me, coming off a back injury into the US Open and I’m just trying to find some form off the back of that.
“I feel like I’m in a much better spot this week. I’m at the point where I’m focusing on my performance rather than just trying to get fit. So I feel like it’s about the right time for me to start turning into a couple good results and I’m excited about it.”
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