Vox Pop: Did the Open golf sensation Justin Rose turn professional too early?
Sunday 20 September 1998
Leading players' manager
I thought he should have done it six weeks earlier on 1 June - that was the advice I gave his father when we sat down in April. It would have taken the limelight off him as he played in a couple of events between then and the Open anyway. With hindsight, it's obvious he should have done that because he would have won pounds 70,000 at the Open and that alone would have secured his card. If he had waited until the end of the year, he would have exposed himself to a lot of unnecessary fuss at the tour school.
European Tour professional
His timing was right because he had nothing more to prove as an amateur. There is no question that he is good enough, but it is a tough school on tour and a fine line between success and missing cuts by just one shot. He has the extra burden of media attention, which journeymen pros such as myself don't have. But he is a level-headed lad and he will come through if given a bit of space. A year on, the challenge tour will not do him any harm, but I am not sure that having his father with him all the time is a good idea.
Former amateur champion
Yes. He and his dad both know my opinion. He has done the only thing that could jeopardise a great future in the game. I think he still has a great future, but he has lost a lot of confidence, and that will take time to rebuild. He needed to play another couple of years as an amateur to get bigger, stronger and better. If he had won all the top titles that might have been different but he still had a lot to do as an amateur. Nowadays everything is instantaneous, but you still have to go to university to become a doctor.
Justin's father and coach
We felt that to keep his golf going forward he needed to turn professional. He had nothing more to gain in terms of game improvement by staying an amateur. The decision to turn pro after the Open was 95 per cent made in March, but in hindsight we should have timed it earlier. If he had turned pro in April, he could have planned his seven tournament starts on not such a rushed basis. What happened at the Open must have affected him but his confidence is high and his 67 in last week's pre- qualifying school suggests his game is coming back.
Former amateur prodigy
I haven't a clue whether Justin turned professional too early or not. You can only do what seems right to you at the time and go for it. To people who say he was too young, I would ask what's too young or too old. I have only met him a few times, but he seems a nice guy, really normal, and he just needs to be left alone. He's also a really good prospect - you don't finish fourth in the Open without being an exceptional talent and if he had made a few of the cuts he has missed recently no one would be asking this question.
Leading senior player
It wasn't a question of turning professional too soon, but I was disappointed they let him play in Holland the week after the Open when he must have been exhausted. Everyone wanted to talk to him and most seasoned pros would have struggled to cope. Even though he only missed the cut by a shot, he did the same the following week and after that it gets harder each time. But there's no question he has the class to succeed. He's a thoroughbred and I hope people are patient with him.
INTERVIEWS: PAUL TROW
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