US Open 2013: How Merion was the right course at the right time for Justin Rose

Parents out there looking for a role model for their sons might want to download Justin Rose's victory speech, during which he gave a powerful demonstration of common decency

Some lucky suit got to play with the US Open champion on Monday. Justin Rose was back at work half an hour from the dreamscape that was Merion, fulfilling his obligations to sponsors. Then on Monday night he carried on up the east coast to New York for the obligatory audience with David Letterman on the Late Show. Though he tees it up at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut this week, he is no longer your everyday tour pro. Rose said goodbye to the old life with the tap-in at 18 that made him a major champion.

The £1m winner’s cheque he banked is by the by. He can name his price for appearances now, half a mill here, half a mill there. But he is long past the point when money gets him out of bed in a morning. At dinner on Sunday night he ate with the US Open trophy in the middle of the table, accompanied by the people that matter, his wife Kate, caddie Mark ‘Fooch’ Fulcher and manager Marcus Day. The talk was not about pound notes. This was the fulfillment of a career-long yearning, simmering since he chipped in at the Open for fourth place as a 17-year-old boy.

Day could fill the diary every day of the week. But that won’t happen. It’s all about the golf with Rose. “This puts him in the superstar league in golf, the final piece of the jigsaw,” Day said. “He’s the perfect age, right up there with the best players. Financially everyone knows it can increase their wealth and they can do very well out of it, but it comes down to how much they want to do that. They can chase it or not. He’s in it to win majors, so for him the money is just a bonus.”

Rose has it all worked out. The win, he claims, resulted from his commitment to a process began four years ago when Sean Foley entered his life. Guru Sean is much more than a coach, he is a lifestyle preacher who furnishes his clients not only with golfing method but a coping strategy for keeping emotions in check.

Caddie Fooch tells of a communique he received from Rose before the event. “He sent me a photograph of a picture in his house. I thought it was a wonderful idea. It meant simply staying in the middle of the tunnel. If you move out of it only bad things can happen because you are thinking about other things. I said I’d follow him and walk behind him.”

There was a sense, believes Fooch, that Rose was building towards something significant last week. His rise to the world’s top-five began three years ago when he won twice on the PGA Tour. The curve has been upward since, and during their three-day prep at Merion a fortnight ago both recognised the potential in Merion’s historic planes and hollows.

“I’m not religious at all but from a golfing perspective it felt like a religious experience just to walk round it. We learned all our lines, guessed a few pins and got lucky with those. I think it held us in good stead. The four iron he hit at the last was wonderful. We were five paces behind the Hogan plaque. He missed 18 with a four iron on Saturday which was a bit quick and edgy. We learned from that and it proved to be a bonus.

“He has prepared for this moment and it didn’t feel abnormal. It felt like it was his place to be there. I’m very, very proud of him. I didn’t have to keep him calm at all. We’ve had a game plan all week, a tunnel vision. We had this vision we were going to walk down the first tee, swipe a 3-wood and just keep going. The prospect of a play-off wasn’t a problem because we were prepared for it.”

After the headlines generated by the Sergio Garcia-Tiger Woods spat golf has a champion without blemish. Parents out there looking for a role model for their sons might want to download his victory speech, during which he gave a powerful demonstration of common decency absent in so many of his ilk.

Recent British champions have struggled with the rapid shift in step that comes with being a major winner. Graeme McDowell, who won this championship in 2010, and Rory McIlroy, who followed him through the door a year later, endured indifferent spells in the immediate aftermath. Ultimately both were surprised by what they had done. Rose was ready to take the step.

And where better to take your place in history, at the course where Bobby Jones sealed his grand slam in 1930 and where Ben Hogan hit his 1-iron in 1950? Perhaps Fooch was right. Maybe there was some unknowable scheme unfolding when Rose was called to write his named in fable just five paces from the Hogan plaque.

“It's hard to play Merion and not envision yourself hitting the shot that Hogan did,” Rose said. “And even in the moment, that was not lost on me. When I walked over the hill and saw my drive sitting perfectly in the middle of the fairway, with the sun coming out, it was kind of almost fitting. I just felt like at that point it was a good iron shot on to the green, two putts, like Hogan did, and possibly win this championship. So I felt like I did myself justice.”    

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
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

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home