Justin Rose Almost Becomes Next David Duval
By Merf under PGA Tour

I’m not saying he’s about to chase down Byron Nelson’s 11 PGA Tour victories in a row or anything, but Justin Rose could very easily have three straight wins right now. He might not impress you with the way he handles the lead on Sundays, but is anyone in the world playing better than Rose right now?

Maybe the better question is: Why the heck didn’t Rose play in the St. Jude’s the week before the U.S. Open? His second win of the year would have gotten him into the U.S. Open field.

Yes, the wheels came off last week, so Rose doesn’t have three wins in a row. But let’s play what-if for a second. The guy who once missed 21 cuts in a row and hadn’t won on the PGA Tour until this May was on the verge of something special. Rose almost won three PGA Tour events in a row, a feat no one in the 14 spots ahead of him in the world rankings has done. Only the guy 15 spots ahead — Tiger Woods — has won at least three in a row. (And I couldn’t figure this out for sure, but I think you can say that about everyone ranked behind No. 16 Rose except David Duval, who got off the schneid in similiar breakthrough fashion in 1997.) How tough is winning three PGA Tour events in a row? Only five players in the history of golf have put together a longer streak.

Could Rose have won No. 4 at St. Andrews? I don’t think anyone would be surprised if Rose pulled a Dustin Johnson at the British Open. He hasn’t totally conquered his nerves. But he’s trying, as he said after winning the AT&T National.

I felt like I really did put into play the lessons I learned at Hartford. I played much slower and I really felt calm. I didn’t feel like the nerves got the better of me at all the whole weekend, so I was much better at that. Still never easy to close these things out, I’ll tell you.

Is Rose your favorite for the British Open? Until this year — and maybe even including it — his career highlight was holing out as a 17-year-old amateur on the 72nd hole to tie for fourth in the 1998 British Open at Royal Birkdale. Now he’s back for the British Open, a month after getting snubbed from the U.S. Open and making the rest of the PGA Tour pay for it.

Bodog.com has Rose at 20-1 now, or tied for the seventh best odds with U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, who may or may not sober up by the time the British Open comes around.

Your favorite? Tiger Woods (7/2), who made a clutch birdie on No. 17 at a pro-am in Ireland on Monday to break 80. Wonder who his pro was?

Phil Mickelson is listed at 12-1, Lee Westwood is 14-1, Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington are 16-1, and Rory McIlroy is 18-1. Tom Watson and Greg Norman are lumped into the field bet.

Can Rose win the British Open? At least he’ll get the chance to find out this time.

[AP Photo/Matt Slocum]