Justin Rose: ‘My dad always believed I was capable of doing this’The newly crowned US Open champion admits he can now reflect on a ‘traumatic start’ to his professional career
Justin Rose awoke in Pennsylvania on Monday morning as the third-ranked player in the world, a major winner and a history maker.
On a July Sunday at Royal Birkdale in 1998 it would have seemed inconceivable that Rose would wait 15 years for such prominence. Memories of the fresh-faced teenage amateur who holed an approach shot to the 72nd hole at the Open Championship came flooding back as Rose claimed the US Open at Merion, thereby becoming the first Englishman in 43 years to achieve the feat.
It would be inaccurate to portray the intervening years as a struggle for Rose. Prior to his triumph at Merion, the 32-year-old had won a World Golf Championship event, three other titles on the PGA Tour and established himself as one of the finest players in the game. Nonetheless in the early stages of his professional life Rose endured no shortage of turmoil, both personal and professional.
His major success was dedicated, fittingly, to his father, Ken, who died from leukaemia in 2002. Rose spoke about that loss, emotionally but so impressively and while keeping composure in the aftermath of his victory. “I was 21 when my dad passed away and I always think about it, as the time together we had was quality not quantity,” he said. “I would rather have had 21 fantastic years with my dad than 40 years of a relationship that was so-so.