Rejuvenated Rose is back in the swing

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The Independent Online

Two weeks ago, Justin Rose set out at The Players Championship telling the readers of his blog, "I need to be a role model now that I have a baby". Four days later he was seen behind the 18th green snapping his putter in half. That's golf for you. Best-laid intentions almost invariably end up in two pieces in the nearest trash can. It will not take long for little Leo Rose to appreciate that.

Except the flipside of this most infuriating of sports allows the self-flaggelating instant retribution. A new week brings a fresh scorecard with no reference to the previous tournament. So it is for Rose at the BMW PGA Championship, which begins here tomorrow. This is the chance for the Englishman to re-launch his assault on the world's elite. And, of course, to prove himself as the perfect father.

In truth, Rose's demeanour rarely has been anything but impeccable, even when the golfing fates have seemed to be ganging up on him. Some might look at his results and figure that here Rose goes again, slipping down the order as quickly as he scaled it. A year ago he arrived in Surrey clinging on in the world's top 10 after reaching the career-high of six when winning the Order of Merit at the end of 2007. Now Rose is barely inside the top 40 and has fallen from being the top Englishman to the fifth-placed Englishman.

It is too soon to label the 28-year-old's recent form "a slump" (after all, he finished second in Dubai's prestigious Desert Classic just a few months ago). Yet it has obviously been far from impressive. Rose has not recorded a placing inside the top 20 in any American event all season. The question, naturally, is why?

"Off the course I've had a lot going on, what with the birth of Leo in February," explained Rose. "That was fantastic but maybe my head space just hasn't been with it, as I was when I was playing great."

Then there is the motion itself. A back injury has forced his withdrawal from today's pro-am but if the pain abates he feels he has the answers to go one better than he did here two years ago. "I have tightened up my swing a bit lately," he explained. "It was getting long and loose and I was getting out of rhythm. Now, it is as though something inside me is saying 'OK, I'm ready. I'm up for it, let's turn it around'. I feel rejuvenated."