Shooting 14 under par at the Masters would have made Justin Rose the champion in 11 of the years since his 2003 debut in the season’s opening major. It was his misfortune to do it the one time Jordan Spieth made history.
Which is why if he was offered that same 274 total when he stands on the first tee today, Rose would take it in a heartbeat.
“For the next 10 years, sure,” Rose said with a laugh, before reflecting on Spieth’s record-breaking 18-under finish that gave him a four-shot win over himself and Phil Mickelson.
“I think there were times in the final round I was a lot closer to him than the ultimate score portrayed. There was a momentum shift around eight and nine when I looked back at that. It was a routine up and down on number eight that I didn’t make and I hit a great shot into number nine that just skipped up onto the middle tee and I three-putted coming back down the ridge. I felt like that was a two- or three-shot swing there, had it gone the other way, obviously that’s a big if, everything changes going into the back nine. But Jordan was always able to make a putt to stay three or four ahead, which is obviously huge. He did a great job of keeping that distance.”
Rather than feel deflated at missing out, the Englishman is encouraged by his best performance at the Masters, his third top-10 finish in 10 appearances and the best of three top-10 finishes at the 2015 majors.
“If I look back at the 16th green, I had a putt to get to 16 under par, and you know, that level of performance would have won many major championships, and essentially I was beaten by an all-time great performance.
“So I take a lot of confidence from that; that any other year or many other years, that that level of performance is good enough to win. If you get beaten by a better guy on the week, you tip your cap. But I know that what I was able to do last year tells me I’ve got what it takes to win the tournament going forward.”
Happy this year to come in under the radar as attention focuses on the triumvirate of Spieth, Jason Day, and Rory McIlroy, the 2013 US Open champion feels he is coming to the boil just at the right time.
“Golf is in a great spot right now with the world number one trading around and the young guys really vying for that top spot. That’s fine with me. I think I’ve sort of been steady. I haven’t really had any fireworks yet this year, to sort of come in here with people having me at the front of their mind.
“I feel like all of my backroom work has all been fantastic and my preparation has been coming along nicely. Under the radar, but certainly feeling good with my game.”
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