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Five years is a long time in golf and Justin Rose can attest.

The last of Rose’s five Ryder Cup appearances came back at Le Paris National in 2018 when his game, and the whole sport, was in an entirely different place.

“It definitely feels a little bit different,” the Englishman tells as he prepares for his sixth battle with the United States.

“The last time I was playing in the Ryder Cup I was pretty much the number one player in the world, had just come off the FedEx Cup win and playing my best ever golf. Now it’s an uphill climb to have made the team and I’m delighted to be there.”

Rose agonisingly missed out on one of Padraig Harrington’s three captain’s picks two years ago, so will not carry any scar tissue from that chastening defeat at Whistling Straits when pitching up at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club this week.

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And the former US Open and Olympic champion has long had Rome on his mind, with victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am back in February going a long way to securing one of six wildcards in Luke Donald’s side.

“I’m definitely going into it with the gratitude of having made the team,” he says. “But the job is to score points so I’m really trying to get my game as sharp as I can to give myself some good opportunities to lock in some points.”

Getting blue on the board has rarely been a problem for Rose in Ryder Cups. His 13-8-2 record already makes him a legend of this contest and his tally of 7.5 points from 10 foursomes matches will make him difficult for Donald to leave out on Friday morning.

But now a wily veteran at 43, Rose can also play a vital secondary role as an unofficial vice-captain for his skipper. The oldest player in the team by seven years, he will be another sounding board in a European locker room that includes four rookies.

“Maybe my role might be more than just points,” he acknowledges. “Maybe if there is a question that some of the youngsters to have, maybe I’m best placed to answer a couple of things.

“Rory [McIlroy] has played a lot of Ryder Cups as well but just to give my perspective if needed. I’m not going to try too hard to fall into that role because I want all the lads to do what they want to do. 

“Luke has definitely mentioned that to me, keeping an eye out for everyone and being a voice of reason in there.”

“I think it’s a really nice feeling team in terms of the blend,” he adds. “You’ve got myself – experienced – some guys that are playing unbelievable golf in [Viktor] Hovland, Rory and [Jon] Rahm. Obviously the youngsters coming through will be the engine room of this team for years to come.”

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Of those youngsters, Ludvig Aberg is the one everyone is talking about. The Swedish phenomenon is 20 years younger than Rose, only joined the paid ranks four months ago and is yet to play in a single major.

It’s fair to say, though, that long before his maiden victory at the Omega European Masters up in the Swiss mountains, Aberg was making quite the impression.

“I started hearing about him in the summer,” Rose recalls. “He played the group behind me at the Canadian Open and I kept looking back and there was this ball miles down the middle of every fairway so that really caught my eye.

“We’re happy he was able to get a win under the belt and that will hopefully take the pressure off him.”

Rose is clearly excited about the potential in Donald’s side, but what about the course itself? The talk at Marco Simone centres around the thick, punishing rough set up with the aim of giving the Europeans a definitive edge on home soil.

While Zach Johnson’s American side will still back themselves to find the short stuff more often than the Europeans, Rose hopes his team can pounce should the combination of brutal long grass and fervent home support cause the walls to close in on their opponents.

“It’s bad,” Rose says after his first impressions of the rough during Team Europe’s early scouting mission in Rome. “By design we’re a good team off the tee. You’re looking for the smallest advantage if you can find one and maybe that’s in our wheelhouse.

“If you’re playing away from home and you’re in the rough all day and you’ve got the crowd against you it’s going to feel like an uphill struggle. That’s what we’re after.”

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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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