Our editor-at-large Bill Elliott writes about an experience with Justin Rose and describes how the Englishman is one of golf's good guys...
“Rose Is The Real Deal As Both An Elite Golfer And A Human Being”
Three months short of his 41st birthday, his back issues apparently behind him (no pun intended but I’ll take it) any thought of a premature retreat from the game’s sharpest edges may now be lobbed aside.
Barring injury or ill health, Justin is on course for a rewarding career that may well extend long into the future.
His own belief is that one day in a not too distant future a golfer in his fifties will win one of the Majors.
We know Tom Watson and Greg Norman have shown the way already but Rose’s generation are even more equipped to prove that golf’s challenging landscape is far from no country for old men.
They are the players who have paid attention to diet and fitness, to mental as well as physical well-being.
They are the players inspired by Tiger Woods and who know that the only golf that really matters once a man has taken care of his family’s future is the month of concentrated effort and ballyhoo that makes up the four Big Ones.
The rest, as Jack Nicklaus once pointed out, is practice.
How Justin will do this weekend remains to be seen but if there is a reward for decency and just general niceness then this Englishman will do just fine.
And he IS English despite the inevitable snide bollocks from the bedwetters on social media.
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I’ve known him since he was 17 years old and preparing to play as an amateur in his first Open (the 1998 Birkdale version).
As a warm-up for this challenging week we played a nine hole match at his beloved North Hants Club, offering me a shot a hole as he was off +4 at the time and I was off 12.
A gross birdie at the ninth meant I beat this future superstar and won the pound bet.
Almost two years later he paid me the money as he only had pennies on him at the time.
I didn’t have to remind him of the debt. That’s how decent and honourable he is and how he remains.
With wife Kate he does much that is good whether this is helping rebuild parts of his adopted homeland in the Bahamas ravaged by Hurricane Dorian 18 moths ago or helping shore up financially the pro women’s game in Britain.
He does this because he can, because he has many millions of dollars and a balanced grip on reality and what is important in life.
He would, for example, forego all the above to have had his dad live longer than his 57 years.
His one regret is that he did not get to play more golf with Ken Rose.
This is not ‘ah bless’ stuff but it should reassure you that Justin Rose is the real deal as both an elite golfer and a human being.
He may now end up with a Masters title to go with his US Open triumph and his proudest achievement, the Olympic Gold Medal, but if he doesn’t it won’t matter too much.
Golf is important to to him but it is a game, more important is life itself and in that sense he already has won the Grand Slam.
PS: I’d be obliged if Butch Harmon would stop calling him ‘Rosey’. He’s not your pal Butch, he’s either Justin or Rose. For once, however, you’re right…he is a ‘a nice young man’.