Major progress teaches Rose value of patience

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The Independent Online

Justin Rose, having been a professional for five years, is older in golfing terms than most 22-year-olds, but if there is one thing a youngster needs time to appreciate it is the quality of patience. Rose got his best lesson in that department while finishing fifth at the 103rd US Open here over the weekend.

It was Rose's first top-10 finish in a major championship and he finished at level par, alongside Ernie Els and Nick Price. Jim Furyk became the champion with his own steely performance to be eight under and win by three from Stephen Leaney.

On Father's Day, Furyk was able to celebrate his victory with his dad, Mike, who has been his only swing coach. Rose was also introduced to the game by his father, but now has to rely on the advice of others.

"People talk about patience being important and I have never really seen the value of it for myself," Rose admitted. "But this week it stands out in black and white. David Leadbetter pointed out at the start of the week that Nick Price won majors when he wasn't playing well just by staying patient.

"I didn't get too hot-headed earlier in the week when things didn't feel right. I kept working at it on the range and by the end of the tournament I was feeling good standing over the ball. I don't need to panic any more because I know my game is never far away.

"On the course, you have to realise that everyone is going to have bogeys on their cards, but the key is to stay away from the doubles and that's what I did here. If you are in trouble you can't do anything stupid, just take your medicine and make sure you get your bogey.

"You don't have to be hitting flashy Tiger Woods shots to contend in a major," Rose added. "You just need to play good solid golf. I feel my game is at the major level now. Here I was right up there, and I was in the second to last group on Sunday at Muirfield last year. Without saying I'm ready to win a major, my game is capable of winning one."

When Rose was in the States preparing for his debut at the Masters earlier in the season, he admitted he felt his motivation was not always at its highest. Leadbetter, who is now his principal coach after the death of his father, Ken, from leukaemia last September, provided the appropriate words at the start of the week.

"I was whinging about my game to David partly because I wanted to provoke him into saying something to fire me up. It worked. He said it was ridiculous not to feel up for a US Open and that's what my dad would have said to me. To finish in the top-10 here was a nice Father's Day present for the old man."

Furyk had a similar sentiment. "I had difficulty saying a happy Father's Day to my dad this morning," he said. "My mum and dad are very involved in my career and this is a heck of a present. This is beyond my dreams."

Woods, who finished 11 strokes behind Furyk after getting himself into contention at the halfway stage, admitted that the knee he was operated on last winter was "still not quite there". This may help explain the world No 1's recent patchy form but, typically, he refused to quantify how much it was affecting him.

Olympia Fields will remain a special major championship for a man who has played in plenty of them. Tom Watson, at the age of 53, led on the first day and used the platform to highlight the need for funding to cure the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis - or Lou Gehrig - disease that afflicts his caddie, Bruce Edwards. "We brought some awareness to people who hadn't heard of ALS," Watson said. "There are more important things than playing golf for a living."