The Open 2013: Justin Rose aims for double Open triumph to lay ghost of Sir Nick Faldo at Muirfield

 

Muirfield

Having laid to rest the ghost of Tony Jacklin last month by becoming the first Englishman to win the US Open since that son of a Scunthorpe lorry driver in 1970, Justin Rose and his fellow English golfers are still haunted by the ghost of Sir Nick Faldo at the Open Championship.

It is now 21 years since a son of St George has lifted the Claret Jug – and here we are back at Muirfield, scene of that Faldo victory in 1992. The last player to win the American and British Opens in the same year was Tiger Woods in 2000. Before that there was Lee Trevino in 1971.

Rose and Faldo played nine holes of practice together yesterday. Maybe the stars are aligning again during this Great British Summer of Sport. The new world No 3 will begin to find out if he is still touched by that Merion magic as he plays the first two rounds of the 142nd Open with defending champion Ernie Els and American Ryder Cup player Brandt Snedeker.

“The Open Championship as a British player is the one event you look forward to more than any other,” Rose said. “Coming here off the back of my first major makes it even more special, even more exciting than normal.”

Rose has been parading with his US Open trophy all week. But it is the Claret Jug that he wants now. At least the R&A gets the silverware engraved with the champion’s name. Rose said the tightwads at the United States Golf Association leave it to the champion to do his own engraving. Presumably they would rather he does not scratch it on with a kitchen knife or a sharp stick.

“I’m hoping to get a two-for-one deal this year,” Rose said, revealing that the engraver at Muirfield is going to add Rose’s name to the US Open trophy. “I’m hoping to get a discount for bulk,” he said. He might be a multimillionaire major champion residing in Florida but he has not lost his British eye for a bargain.

Life has changed for Rose, though. When he arrived at Muirfield for the 2002 Open he was only four years  removed from that chip in at Royal Birkdale that made his name, followed by the 21 missed cuts in a row after he turned professional. He and his pal Ian Poulter drove into town in an Austin Powers-style Jaguar splashed in Union flag livery.

“Ah the Shaguar, as it was called,” Rose said grinning. “That was obviously all a bit of fun. The nose was so long on that Jag, I touched the front wall as I was parking,” he said. No such flash statement of youth this time. Rose is now 32 and a serious contender on the world stage. “There’s times in my career where I haven’t been able to close out tournaments as well as I’d like. I now believe in myself 100 per cent down the stretch,” he said.

An English pal and Ryder Cup colleague hoping to ride Rose’s wave of optimism is Luke Donald. If this is The Year The Nice Guys Can Win, Donald is a worthy candidate to join Rose and Masters champion Adam Scott. “They’ve had similar career paths, up until they won a major, to myself,” said Donald. “I feel like, hopefully, my turn’s coming. They’ve stepped up a gear and I would love to follow in their footsteps.”

Donald plays with Scott and Matt Kuchar. He senses Muirfield’s  demand for precision over power suits him perfectly. And the list of past champions here (that includes Faldo, Trevino, Els, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus) also gives him hope. “It does tend to bring out pretty solid golfers,” he said. “You don’t get many unknowns that win at Muirfield. I like that. And it’s not a course that demands power off the tee. It’s more about precision. Hopefully, that’s good for me.”

Meanwhile, two other Englishmen have remained uncharacteristically under the radar this week. Enter Lee Westwood and Poulter, dangerous lurkers emerging from the shadows into Muirfield’s heatwave.

News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez missed a penalty before scoring the opening goal with a header at the back post
footballLive! Sanchez makes up for penalty miss to put Arsenal ahead
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
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

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all