Justin Rose sets season schedule to bloom during Masters
At this stage of his career, Justin Rose can afford to be picky about his schedule.
That’s why Rose took a month off after winning at Torrey Pines in late January. It’s all about getting ready for the Masters.
“I feel like there’s a block of work starting now for me that starts this week and kind of culminates at Augusta,” Rose said at Bay Hill.
Slipping on a green jacket is a priority for Rose. He’s had plenty of chances to win at Augusta National since his debut in 2003, including a playoff loss to Sergio Garcia in 2017.
“It’s about how do you kind of keep your game fresh and sharp and, ultimately, how do you peak there,” he said. “You want to play well every week and I think it’s really important to try to be in contention once or twice heading into the Masters to see if you feel like everything is where it needs to be.”
That includes putting, and Rose goes out of his way when home in the Bahamas to match Augusta National’s slick and undulating greens.
“There are a couple of greens that you can pretty much brown out and 50 percent kill so they’re fast enough to practice on heading into the Masters and they will do that,” Rose said. “They do a great job of trying to replicate as best they can.”
He also focuses on the slope in addition to the speed.
“I’ll ask them to find pin placements that are two and a half, three percent slope,” he said. “So I really start to see the ball breaking into the cup. It’s some of those visuals that are tricky to just click right into if you haven’t prepared for.”
At the 2018 Masters, Rose never quite got into contention as first Jordan Spieth and then eventual winner Patrick Reed set a fast pace. Rose opened with 72-70 to make his 13th consecutive cut at Augusta, then followed up with 71-69 to finish tied for 12th.
About a month after the Masters, Rose earned his ninth PGA Tour victory with a dominating performance at Colonial.
Rose contended at the U.S. Open before fading on the weekend, then tied for second at the British Open. After finishing well back at the PGA Championship, Rose saved some of his best golf for the FedEx Cup playoffs.
After missing the cut in the first event, he finished solo second in the next two and then tied for fourth at the Tour Championship in Atlanta to claim the $10 million first prize.
Rose’s solid play has resulted in another benefit. He rose to No. 1 in the World Golf Rankings at the start of the year and held the spot for eight weeks until Dustin Johnson won the World Golf Championship event in Mexico to supplant him.
Rose, Johnson and Brooks Koepka have been so close in the rankings that you could throw a blanket over them.
“For me it’s a very simple metric, you just have to play well when you play,” he said.
But being No. 1 doesn’t consume him.
“That’s motivation to get back to No. 1 because you really enjoy being there,” he said. “You get comfortable being there. But at the same time it’s not a primary focus for me this year. I think I need to focus on the winning part of things, which ultimately takes care of the ranking.”