After a five-week absence from the PGA Tour, Justin Rose is looking to continue his winning ways at this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational. But like everyone in the field at next month's Masters, the Englishman already has an eye on Augusta National. And he plans on enlisting some help with his preparation for the year's first men's major championship.
At his Wednesday press conference at Bay Hill, Rose was asked whether he changes how he practices leading up to the Masters. Here was his response that involved him talking about talking to his "guys at Albany," Rose's home club in the Bahamas:
Not so much. It's obviously on the mind for sure. It's about how do you kind of keep your game fresh and sharp and ultimate he will how do you peak there. 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. Putting is the one area that you do try to find surfaces, I'll be sort of talking to my guys at Albany and saying okay, are there 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. They do a great job of trying to replicate as best they can. So when I do go home on my weeks off I have opportunities to practice as similarly as possible. I'll ask them to find pin placements there are two and a half, three percent slope. So I really start to see the ball breaking into the cup. Its some of those visuals that are tricky to just click right into if you haven't prepared for.
Working with greenskeepers is a strategy that some might find overkill—emphasis on "kill"—but if anyone knows how to get his game in shape for Augusta National, it's Rose. Since moving to the Bahamas in 2014, Rose has finished runner-up twice (2015 and 2017) at the Masters. Before that, Rose also fared quite well. In 13 career Masters starts, his worst finish is a T-39, which came in his debut in 2003.
Rose, whose last PGA Tour start was a win at the Farmers Insurance Open, also said he won't play the week before the Masters unlike three of the past four years. The reason being the Houston Open's move from that slot in the schedule to fall, being replaced in April by the Valero Texas Open.
"Yeah, it was," Rose said of the Houston Open being a good Masters tuneup for him in years past. "Yeah, it's obviously it's a nature of how things go sometimes on tour but, yeah, absolutely. So I'll take a close look at how Valero is the week before now I'll have a close look at how they set it up and could be a good option for me again in the future possibly but I just I wanted to not be surprised at something when I went there. So rather than -- ideally you want to try and control as many variables as I can. But it's not to say I won't ever play it in the future. But yeah Houston I knew what I was getting into, I liked the way they set it up, it was a good lead up."
Rose is currently No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking and No. 2 on our current Masters ranking. Listed at 12-to-1 odds to win, Rose only trails Dustin Johnson (10-to-1 odds) on Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook's list of Masters favorites.