What do Merion, Muirfield Village, Congressional, Valderrama and Royal Aberdeen have in common?
Two things. One, they’re all exceptionally tough. Two, Justin Rose has won around them all.
In winning 16 times across the PGA Tour and European Tour, the Englishman has made a habit of taming some of the world’s toughest tracks. No surprise, then, he’s planning to draw on those experiences when this year’s Open Championship is staged at arguably the most fearsome course of them all – Carnoustie.
Asked by bunkered.co.uk if his impressive past record on tough layouts will stand him in good stead at Carnoustie, Rose replied: “To be honest with you, that’s the way I’m trying to frame it in my head. I do really enjoy the tougher tests. I like it where par’s a good score and if you shoot under-par, you make inroads into winning a tournament.
“I’ve always liked the ten-under-par winning score because it shows that the course is playable and there are birdies to be had but you have to respect par.
“I think Carnoustie could well be that way this year. Obviously, in 1999, we saw how they set up the golf course. They probably did it a little bit unfairly, a bit too harshly. But I’ve also played the course and been able to shoot some really low rounds during the Alfred Dunhill Links. So, I’ve seen it play both ways. You can’t fake it around that golf course. You have to play really good golf but I believe it fits into my wheelhouse.”
Rose, 37, will warm up for the championship by playing the Scottish Open at Gullane. It will be his first appearance in Scotland’s national open since the event last visited the same East Lothian venue in 2015, where he was the defending champion following his win at Royal Aberdeen a year earlier.
“The Scottish Open win in 2014 was definitely a memorable one,” he added. “It was the first time I had gone two in a row, after winning in America the previous week. I really got to love the golf course and had a very special week.
“The last time I played at Gullane in 2015 I followed up with a sixth place finish in The Open, so I’m looking forward to teeing it up there again, and to two good weeks of links golf.
“The Scottish Open is a fantastic tournament and I’m glad to be back and vying to lift the trophy again. There’s definitely something special about playing golf in Scotland. The crowds are so knowledgeable and appreciate good play which always makes for a good atmosphere.”
See Justin Rose and Co. at the 2018 Scottish Open. Tickets are priced from £15. For more details, visit www.asiscottishopen.com