World No.1 Justin Rose looking forward to the ‘grind’ of competing for golf's biggest prizes with new clubs

The 38-year-old has been remarkably consistent, recording 24 top-10 finishes in his last 31 tour events

Phil Casey
Monday 05 November 2018 14:55
Golf fans flock around Tiger Woods as he makes his way to the 18th hole at 2018 Tour Championship

World number one Justin Rose insisted he still relishes the “grind” of challenging for golf's biggest prizes as he prepares to embark on next season with new clubs.

A first successful title defence of his career in the Turkish Airlines Open took Rose back to the top of the world rankings, a position he first occupied for two weeks in September.

The 38-year-old has now won five times and recorded 24 top-10 finishes in his last 31 events, with such consistency seeing him win the FedEx Cup title and a bonus of $10million (£7.7million).

However, Rose is determined not to rest on his laurels as he looks to add to a glittering CV which includes one major title, an Olympic gold medal, more than 20 tournament wins worldwide and a crucial role in three Ryder Cup victories.

“I think Phil Mickelson said that he's still hungry to keep moving forward and I think the minute you start to reflect [on your career], it can kind of soften you a little bit,” Rose said.

“It's like when you start thinking about your time, you're done, basically. I'm trying to enjoy the moment because moments like these are enjoyable. [But] I love the grind of it. I love that feeling.

“The more I can be competitive, the more I can play under pressure, that's what I really enjoy. And then the reflection, the warm, fuzzy feelings, we'll save for down the road.

“The fun thing is I still feel like there's improvement to be had and that's what I'm looking for. I don't know if I'm a bit, you know, whatever in the head, but I'm really looking forward to the off-season to still work at a few things and still get better.”

Rose has reclaimed the world No.1 ranking from Brooks Koepka

Rose's sole major title to date came in the 2013 US Open at Merion, but he was second in July's Open Championship at Carnoustie and has twice finished runner-up in the Masters, most famously losing a play-off to Sergio Garcia in 2017.

“I think next year is going to be about majors and just overall recovery, maybe not playing too much and being as fresh as I can for those,” Rose added.

“At Augusta I'm always there or thereabouts on the leaderboard every year. I feel good there. I know how to play the course, I read the greens well there. If my iron play sharpens up, which is has done a little bit of late, I think it's a great opportunity for me.

“The Open Championship is not one that I've historically played that great at, but I think I'm ready to break that kind of spell a little bit and have a great opportunity this year, especially making a run from the cut line to finish second.

“Then the PGA Championship, there's no reason why I can't play well in that one. Those are kind of in my wheelhouse, those types of golf courses.”

As for those new clubs, Rose will start 2019 playing irons made by the Japanese company Honma Golf, although he will still use TaylorMade's ball and woods.

TaylorMade is opting to sign younger players and did not renew their deal with Sergio Garcia at the end of 2017, even though he had won the Masters that April.

Rose had spoken cryptically in his winner's press conference on Sunday of “things that I need to get figured out,” but when asked specifically about the change of equipment he told “Where there's smoke, there's fire.”

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