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

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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent