Rose happy to play on his own

Defending champion rises above 'disrespect' of being sent out on the course alone

After 21 years of acting as the season-ending finale to the European Tour, the Volvo Masters will receive its own curtain-falling experience here these next four days. It will be fitting if the four players who can still win the Order of Merit title that has always given this tournament its extra dimension can deliver the climax this proud event deserves. Alas, the whisper on the range these last few days has not centred around the question of whether Padraig Harrington, the year's dual major champion, can overhaul Robert Karlsson, the "Mr Consistent" of 2008, or indeed if Lee Westwood or Miguel Angel Jimenez can produce the late and unlikely charge to steal the Harry Vardon Trophy.

It has been all about Justin Rose being asked to lead off the first round on his own at 8.15am this morning, which is a highly unusual and, plenty here believe, highly disrespectful scenario, seeing as the Englishman happens to have won this event last year.

"Yeah some of the guys have been outraged on my behalf and have said, 'How can they treat the defending champion like this?'," confirmed Rose.

However, fortunately for the Tour officials, who on Tuesday came in for criticism from Harrington for not having done enough to recognise the standing of Seve Ballesteros the last few years, the player himself is comfortable with the draw. Rose, who has decided to go it alone and has turned down the chance to have a "marker" playing alongside him, recognises the benefits of playing on "virgin" greens without spike marks.

"It could work out to my advantage, so it's OK with me," he said. "I did think it was a bit weird at first, but then I thought, 'Where else could they put me?'" The Volvo Masters tradition has always been to send out the field in money-list order (i.e. Karlsson and Harrington out last as Nos 1 and 2) and as he finished way down in 81st after what he admitted was "a disappointing season", Rose (above) was duly considered the odd man out.

As the Englishman walks down these fairways alone, he may well feel a wally, but in the event he may be the last one laughing. "As long as I'm not out on my own on Sunday I don't care," he said.

By then Rose could well have relocated his renowned grinding ability to figure high on the leaderboard on this layout that has the severity of a major, if not quite the standing. With his near £230,000 lead, Karlsson has to be the favourite despite the first prize here being over £562,000, the second prize being nigh on £375,000 and the man in closest pursuit having three majors to his name in the last 15 months. The last fact has clearly made the 6ft 5in Swede slightly embarrassed as he stands on the brink of his biggest achievement to date.

"The Order of Merit's a funny thing because it depends so much on how many tournaments you've played on Tour," said Karlsson. "Padraig's played something like 13 and I've played 22 or something. It's like Manchester United fighting out the league title with Arsenal and one has played 13 matches and the other 22. So it's a bit unfair. But if I win, I'm not going to complain, put it that way."

How to win on Merit: Race to be Europe No 1

Order Of Merit Standings:

1. R Karlsson (Swe) £2,087,074

2. P Harrington (Irl) £1,856,762

3. L Westwood (Eng) £1,725,556

4. M A Jimenez (Sp) £1,563,106

* Karlsson will top OM if he finishes in top two at Valderrama or if Westwood and Harrington do not finish in top two and if Jimenez does not win.

* Harrington will top OM if he wins and Karlsson does not finish at least second or if he finishes 2nd and Karlsson does not finish in top five and Westwood does not win

* Westwood will top OM if he wins and Karlsson does not finish in first three.

* Jimenez will top OM if he wins and Karlsson does not finish in top 38 and Harrington does not finish in top two

News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress and 100 others on 'master list' after massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor