Jul
2
2010
Rose Poised to Bloom or Wilt…Again
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Just last Sunday, Justin Rose, who won his first PGA Tour victory at The Memorial last month, collapsed with a final round 75 after holding the 54-hole lead by three shots at the Travelers Championship. So the question this week was whether he could bounce back from the recent meltdown. He answered on Friday, firing a six-under 64 to take the 36-hole lead by a stroke over Jason Day and Charlie Wi.

Now inquiring minds want to know if he’s learned from his mistakes — and if he can hold on over the weekend. Via ASAP transcripts:

Closing out a golf tournament is difficult. You do learn things, and depends how long it takes until you give yourself another situation whether you really — when you learn something, you’ve got to practice it for it to become natural, right, so if you’re not in contention that much, it’s very difficult to learn the lessons or to put into play the lessons that you learned.

So this week I’m very happy to have the opportunity to go out there, test myself and put into play what I learned last week. On Sunday I really thought that I went out there thinking very well. Everything from that perspective was the same. My game plan didn’t change, my strategy didn’t change and my commitment didn’t change. I just felt a little bit more tight, which is, I think — that’s the human body; do you know what I mean?

Yes, we do. At least I do. And with golf, a game that requires such precision, the tiniest discrepancy can make a huge difference — mechanically and mentally.

Rallying from setbacks is nothing new for Rosey, who entered the professional ranks with great expectations, either. There was a time when he was forced to face the media under less pleasant circumstances when he was missing cuts every week. “My career’s been about resolve. Get knocked down three times, stand up four,” he told the Golf Channel in his post-round interview.

Another guy, who is finding himself in the same unfamiliar position lately, could probably use some of Rose’s advice. Tiger Woods scrambled to shoot a lackluster even-par 70 to sneak in the cutline. He’s ten shots out of the lead, blaming his awful putting for his mediocre scores.

Speaking on his game, his words sounded like they came from a 20-handicapper rather than the world’s number-one golfer. “It’s not quite where it needs to be, not quite sharp yet,” he said. “I hit it awesome, putt awful. I putt great, hit it awful. It’s always something.”

That could also be said of the distractions in his life. This week he’s been making headlines for multiple non-golf related items, which would take a toll on any player — even the once invincible Tiger Woods, who, over the past seven months, has proven to be very human.

“It’s still hard for him right now,” Rose said. “I’m sure we’ve all had distractions in our lives and stuff like that, and to bring your best onto the golf course when you’re being probably depleted in so many other areas mentally, it’s difficult.”

But don’t bet against him. Rose weighed in on the state of Tiger’s game — which was similar to what we’ve repeatedly heard from Tiger — he’s close.

“[B]y all accounts [Tiger] hit it a lot better yesterday, drove the ball much better, and when he starts driving it well, you know his game is never far away because the putting I think is probably more — that’ll come with confidence,” said Rose.

Well, Tiger will be doing what he referred to as “dew-sweeping” on Saturday morning and hoping to cut into Rose’s lead. Perhaps he’ll channel his frustrations into a weekend charge, like the “old” Tiger would. Meanwhile, Rose will try to put last week’s lesson into play.

Oh, change! — it’s never easy to get used to, huh?