By John Strege
Justin Rose has momentum on his side, or mo, as its often called, or Mo, as the LPGA would spell it today, after Mo Martin extended that tour's streak of memorable tournaments and notable winners.
Rose’ Scottish Open victory bodes well, certainly for Rose, now No. 3 in the World Ranking, but for British Open week as well, if Sunday is its starting line.
(Getty Images photo)
It began with Martin’s victory in the Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale, she a popular underdog winning in conditions that give links golf its personality and whetting our appetite for more of the same in the British Open at Hoylake this week.
Up next was Rose, who followed his victory in the Quicken Loans National with another in the Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen. We want the best players playing their best heading into major championships and Rose has done his part. As for the rest of the cast?
Rory McIlroy was three-fourths of the way there at Royal Aberdeen, a second-round 78 the only blemish in an otherwise productive week. He tied for 14th.
Phil Mickelson, the defending champion of the British Open, discovered his game still had a pulse and tied for 11th in the Scottish Open. It was his best finish since tying for second in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in January.
Tiger Woods, meanwhile, is always intriguing, as Nick Faldo noted last week. “Tiger is the most compelling golfer in the world,” Faldo said. “You want to watch and study everything — good, bad, ugly and everything in between. It’s amazing that he has played two rounds of golf and he’s the [betting] favorite. Incredible. If he feels he’s come with the right game plan, we shall see. It’s a tough game to play when you are rusty. But he’s Tiger, you never know what he’s going to do.”
Woods, who is attempting to find his form on short notice following back surgery in the spring, has declared there are no restrictions to what he can do on the golf course. Whether that includes contending is an open question.
Not for Rose, an elite player and major champion who can now take aim at No. 1 in the World Ranking, though to wrest it from Adam Scott this week would require a third straight victory and an indifferent performance from Scott.
“It’s uncharted territory for me,” Rose said of consecutive victories. “I’ve never won two in a row, so I may as well keep the run going.”
Rose, like Mickelson before his Scottish and British Open victories back to back last year, has an anemic record in the British Open, his last top 10 in the event recorded in 1998, when he tied for fourth as a 17-year-old amateur.
“I haven’t had much luck in the Open,” he said, “so I thought I’d try and do a Phil this year and put [the Scottish Open] on my schedule.”
A wise decision, obviously, and, we hope, a harbinger of a memorable week ahead, with or without him in a starring turn.