Justin Rose is the current U.S. Open champion
Rose believes there is far less pressure on him than British tennis star Andy Murray
The 32-year-old is currently ranked third in the world
Englishman has always dreamed of winning the British Open
Two men – two champions – two completely different worlds.
But for Justin Rose that’s the way he likes it.
While Andy Murray has had to carry the weight of British expectation on his shoulders since he emerged as a talented teenager, Rose has been grateful to stay out of the limelight.
The golfer witnessed Murray’s dramatic Wimbledon victory over Novak Djokovic from the Centre Court’s Royal Box just days after his own triumph – a first major success at the U.S. Open.
While Rose has been able to progress quietly since bursting onto the scene as a promising amateur in 1997, Murray has had to cope with constant media attention and an entire nation watching his every move.
For Rose, those circumstances make Murray’s triumph even more remarkable – not that he envies the attention which goes with the Scot’s success.
“I think what he achieved captured the imagination so much,” Rose told CNN.
“If I was to go on and win the Open Championship then I think there would be some parallels to that but I’m not always the great British hope.
“I’m now the highest ranked English or British player but there are a few of us. There’s Rory, Luke Donald, G-Mac,” added Rose, referring to Graeme McDowell. “I don’t feel like I’m the only one which Andy is.”
Just as Murray’s life will never be the same again following his Wimbledon triumph, Rose too must adapt to being a major winner and dealing with all the hype which surrounds such a feat.
Since his victory at Merion, Rose has been on television screens across the world, had his picture splashed on the front cover of magazines and newspapers and appeared on countless talk shows.
For a man who often likes to spend time in the background with his wife Kate and two small children, the hysteria created by his success has come as something as a surprise.
The chance to get back on the golf course at Muirfield offers the chance for solace following a rollercoaster few weeks and Rose simply cannot wait.
“The Open has a special place in my heart,” he said.
“To win your home tournament is the one you dream of winning as a kid. It would be my favorite tournament to win. I’d be grateful to win any tournament really.
“Winning in golf can be far and few between but to win this is what I dreamed of as a kid.”
It was as a kid that Rose first shot to prominence – finishing fourth while still playing as an amateur at the 1998 Open at Royal Birkdale at the age of just 17.
His dramatic chip at the 18th from 50 yards went down in Open folklore although Rose admits his memories of the incident are somewhat vague.
“I’ve watched it and turned up the volume on the 18th to recreate the roar,” he said.
“I wish my memory was better. I went numb. It was a crazy way to finish and I don’t think I could take it all in.
“I was so young at the time. There was an embarrassed look up to the sky with me thinking, ‘what have i just done?’ tThat was my reaction with it.
“I’ve always said that to surpass that achievement I’d have to go on and win the Open. Maybe winning the U.S. Open has done that but I have had a very special relationship with the Open.
“Hopefully that will end up with the Claret Jug,” added Rose, referring to the iconic Open trophy
Following his success at the Open back in 1998 where he finished one shot behind Tiger Woods and two off the leaders, Rose was expected to bloom.
But after turning professional straight after his historic finish, Rose struggled badly, missing the cut in his first 21 events.
Now, 15 years later, Rose has come through and finally realized the potential which so many saw in him as a skinny teenager.
“I always believed in myself,” he added.
“I had to dig in and keep going. I was motivated by the fact I didn’t want to be the one week wonder, the flash in the pan at the Open.
“Golf is hard and has many aspects to it. It’s as much a mental game as a physical one. I’ve probably had the talent for a long time and people tell you that you’re good enough to do it but you have to truly believe it yourself.
“And when you can truly believe yourself, that’s when you can handle the pressure. In the past three or four years, I’ve developed a real deep rooted sense of belief.
“There was some scar tissue I had to cut down. Missing those 21 cuts was a traumatic start to my professional career.
“Then I had chances to win tournaments but didn’t quite put them away and again confidence can be dented. It has been slow progress for me but I’ve got a good team around me.
“They keep me on track and together we’ll put a good game plan.”
With one major title under his belt, Rose will now turn his attention to lifting the Claret Jug and fulfilling a childhood dream.
Ranked third in the world below Woods and McIlroy, Rose believes he is finally ready to compete for another major title.
“Winning at Merion has given me a tremendous amount of confidence,” added Rose.
“You hope you’re good enough to win a major, you think you’re good enough to win a major but it’s not until you do it that you know you’re good enough to win a major.
“You never know how you’re going to handle the moment. I always knew I would create chances to win but there have been great players before me that have had chances that have never been able to quite put it away.
“I feel fortunate to have that monkey off my back. I feel like I’ve only been ready to win majors in the past year or two. Hopefully now I’ve now got five to 10 years of good golf left in me. Hopefully I can draw upon that experience in a similar situation.”