Justin Rose’s goal of the week was to play well enough to watch the England vs. Germany soccer game on Sunday morning. Despite a poor showing on the greens, Rose settled with 68 on Saturday to grab a three-stroke lead going into the final round at the Travelers Championship — and perhaps more important, an afternoon tee time.
Just make sure he and his caddie are watching in separate rooms.
“I think I’ll make the decision not to watch it with my caddie because it would be way too much emotion,” Rose said. “We would probably both be burned out going to the tee, so I’m going to try and watch that game and conserve as much energy as possible because I know it’s going to be a thriller.”
As for his golf game, he’s keeping things in perspective. In his post-round presser, I asked him whether his frame of mind had changed going into Sunday had he not won The Memorial. His thoughtful response:
I think there’s less pressure on me tomorrow than there would have been had I not won the Memorial. Trying to chase down your first victory is a hard thing to do. So it’s one less thing I gotta think about, can I get over the line. I’ve done that now. So certainly I would love to win my second tomorrow, but again, it’s kind of getting ahead of myself, too. That’s what I’ve learned over the years is that 72 holes — that’s why it’s a 72-hole tournament because a lot can happen. I’ll sleep much easier tonight probably than I would have a month ago.
But not too well. While a three shot lead is relatively cushy, it’s deceiving at TPC River Highlands where the playing conditions set up for low scores. Just ask Rose — in 2005 he was in the same position when Brad Faxon fired a 61 to win.
While Rose knows he has to put together another solid round tomorrow, he also seems to feel very comfortable and confident with his game and position. He’s not even worried about locking up a spot for the British Open because, well, he basically has already.
After going 0 for 161 before earning his first PGA Tour win, going 2 for 2 would be pretty sweet. And that’s your cue to make predictable comments about a rose blooming. Oh man, too bad Jim Nantz isn’t in the announcers booth tomorrow. Encore reading of Bette Midler’s The Rose? Go low tomorrow, Justin. And go, England!