Rose, who attended the European Tour’s flagship event as a teenage spectator, has twice come close to victory with a play-off defeat to Anders Hansen in 2007 and a joint-second place finish three years ago.??
The world No 7 comes into the week in good form having finished second in last month’s Masters and winning the Zurich Classic in New Orleans, but admits victory at Wentworth has always been one his career targets.
“Obviously growing up so close to here, this tournament is even more special to me than it should be,” the former US Open champion said on Wednesday. “Come tomorrow, there will be a lot of familiar faces in the crowd for me, and it always makes it very special.
“This would be very special for me to win. Call it a bucket list tournament. Outside of the major championships, I can’t think of a tournament I’d like to win more than this one.
“It’s obviously a huge event and given the local feel for me, and the inspiration I got coming to watch this tournament, from about the age of eight, I’ve been coming out here and watching the great players and being inspired to go back to my home course and practise.
“I remember coming out and watching till probably 6pm and going home, practising, trying to emulate what I saw that day.
“One shot I specifically remember was Jose Maria Olazabal chipping in from the front of the 11th green. I remember being halfway up the fairway, watching him at the top of the hill and watching him chip in. I was with a friend of mine, he called the shot and I said, ‘He won’t chip-in, no way,’ and boom, in he chipped.”
The West Course at Wentworth is not everyone’s favourite, especially since the controversial re-design by Ernie Els in 2009, but Rose is a fan of the test it poses.
“When you stand on every tee box you see what you don’t want to do,” the 34-year-old added. “There’s bunkers everywhere and strategy off the tee is very, very important.
“You need to drive the ball well this week. You can’t play this golf course from the bunkers, so that means being conservative in some areas and in other areas, flying a bunker and accepting being in the rough if that’s the case.
“It makes it a ball-striking test this week, and if the wind starts to swirl, that can become very difficult.”