Justin Rose on his bid to three-peat, plans for Tokyo and how ‘chaos’ of gymnastics have inspired him

Jack Rathborn
The Independent
Justin Rose is aiming for a third successive Turkish Airlines Open title: Getty
Justin Rose is aiming for a third successive Turkish Airlines Open title: Getty

Inspiration can often emerge as the determining factor for great champions as Justin Rose continues to pursue it in an effort to bury what has been a disappointing year.

After climbing back atop the world rankings a year ago following his successful defence of the Turkish Airlines Open, Rose now finds himself on the periphery in the Race to Dubai.

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Failure to thrive since a January victory on the PGA Tour has seen Rose dwindle, entering this week 29th in the standings, with Bernd Wiesberger out in front and fifth-placed Rory McIlroy chasing hard after four wins in his last 15 starts. But the former US Open champion intends to clinch a three-peat in a late surge before the lavish finale in the desert, which throws up the biggest single tournament winner’s cheque in the game at $3m (£2.3m).

Should he prevail this week at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal, Rose would join the esteemed company of Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam and Colin Montgomerie as the only players to triumph in three straight years on the European Tour. He admits the opportunity “sneaks up on you”, labelling it a ”cool moment” and “a little asterisk moment in your career”.

But despite treading water in recent months, slipping to No 8 in the current world rankings, Rose remains upbeat after allowing his mind to drift towards Tokyo next year and the defence of his Olympic title.

Rose has circled the date for the opening ceremony in Japan as his glittering career inches closer to a fourth decade. And with the prospect of mingling with the finest sporting talent at the Games, the Brit is eager to glean anything that will propel him towards further greatness.

“Inspiration I think and representing your country,” Rose explained when quizzed about the reason behind embracing the daunting turnaround from the end of next year’s Open Championship on July 19 to the opening ceremony in Japan on July 24.

“I got inspired (in Rio) and I got a feeling of what it was actually all about. If I just tried to make it just another golf tournament, who knows what would have happened.

“So I feel like any time you wear the crest or the logo of your national team, it inspires you to be the best version of yourself and I think just the emotion and the connection I got to Team GB by being there in the opening ceremony was part of the reason why I had that energy to play some of my best golf.”

While Rose is well-versed on the tranquil environment of his craft, he was able to mature in Rio with a heightened respect for other sports. There was even mild embarrassment after contemplating the hush that descends over golf’s spectators before each shot in comparison to the distractions other athletes face.

Justin Rose is already looking towards defending his Olympic title in Japan (Getty)
Justin Rose is already looking towards defending his Olympic title in Japan (Getty)

“My wife was a gymnast growing up and we went to watch the gymnastics,” Rose adds. “I could not believe the chaos that they perform in and around.

“The noise, the announcements, the movement of other disciplines going on, trainers literally walking around the bars while someone is running at the vault.

“This is four years of blood, sweat and tears, and they have to perform and execute their move with chaos and I thought, so God bless golf, where the marshal just takes one step in the wrong direction.”

For now then the job is to refine the process though, avoiding lengthy breaks in his schedule, which he maintains “ruined” his year and contributed to a first-ever missed cut at Augusta. He even yearns to sample team sport after witnessing the camaraderie among rugby and badminton players inside a Rio weights room three years ago.

“They were all looking for that extra one per cent,” Rose concludes. “They were looking for any advantage. It was really inspiring.”

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