News & ToursAugust 14, 2015

Justin Rose is a PGA Championship winner golf deserves, but not the one it wants right now

HAVEN, Wis. -- Play has been suspended on Friday at the PGA Championship, but a majority of golfers have completed, or are nearly finished, with their rounds. And the leader board is not short on storylines.

Jason Day sits atop, hoping that Whistling Straits will serve as his breakthrough. Three shots back resides one Jordan Spieth, trying to claim his third major of the season. Two fledgling stars in Harris English and Tony Finau, announcing their arrival. Even through a shaky Friday performance, Dustin Johnson and the monkey on his back are lurking in the shadows.

Which is why Justin Rose is one hell of an inconvenience.

At No. 6, he's higher in the World Golf Ranking than the likes of Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen. He's won seven times on tour since 2010. The 1998 British Open at Royal Birkdale is bettered remember for Rose's hole-out on the 18th hole as an amateur than for its winner, Mark O'Meara.

So why are some giving Rose a look of disapproval?

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Because Rose has already tamed the beast with his 2013 U.S. Open win. Golf fans want to see Day or Johnson erase the goose egg from their major column.

Because Rose is very, very good. But, at age 35, he is what he is. Golf fans want to witness greatness. They want to tell their grandchildren about the legend of Spieth.

Because Rose has been around for nearly 20 years. Golf fans like to attach themselves to the shiny new toy of the week.

One problem: Rose isn't going anywhere.

He has a solid track record on the big stage, with nine top-10 finishes in majors as a professional. While you don't think of him as a big hitter, he averages 304 yards off the tee. Rose is a low-number machine, ranking fourth in the tour in birdie average.

Perhaps most importantly, he believes he will win, telling reporters this week, "I'm playing better than anyone in the world right now tee-to-green."

One could deduce from this self-evaluation that Rose is struggling with his putter. Or should we say, "was," because the man has rolled in putts from as far as Madison.

Justin Rose might not be the crowd favorite to win this weekend. Luckily for him, this isn't a popularity contest.

Follow @JoelMBeall


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