Justin Rose earned his second straight victory Sunday at the Turkish Open on the European Tour, moving closer to the coveted top spot in the world ranking.
Golf has become an entertaining spectacle of rising young stars trying to outdo each other each week. Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, Jon Rahm and Rory Mcilroy are all 28-years-old or younger, and they are all ranked top 10 in the world.
However, nestled in the top 10, lurking within striking distance of the No. 1 ranking, is 37-year-old Englishman Justin Rose. With his latest win, Rose proved that golf isn't just about the "next generation."
"I think I've always seen getting to No. 1 as a byproduct of winning the tournaments that I want to win," Rose said before the Turkish Open. "It's always been — it's not my primary focus, I suppose.
"But if the opportunity presents itself, I think it's just an amazing thing to have said on your C.V. that you've been world No. 1 at some point in your career. I think winning golf tournaments week-in, week-out is the motivation and I think that speaks more sometimes than your world ranking position.
"But I'm also very proud of the fact that the last four or five years, I've maintained a very solid world ranking. I haven't slipped below 15th in the last five years, and you know, the consistency of that is something that motivates me. But yeah, my highest is No. 3 in the world, and of course, always looking to improve and set new goals."
When Rose erased an eight-shot deficit behind Dustin Johnson two weeks ago to win the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, it marked his first win since donning gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Rose had close calls in between the two wins, including a playoff loss to Sergio Garcia at the 2017 Masters, but he seemed incapable of closing out tournaments in their final moments.
That has clearly changed, as Rose calmly came from behind two consecutive weeks to remind everyone he's still one of the best golfers in the world. In fact, Rose himself even believed the last two weeks completely changed the outlook of his year.
"I would have said — you know, it would be a B-minus probably a couple weeks ago," Rose said Sunday. "Good solid year, Top-10 in the FedEx Cup, it was good. But no win, can't really give yourself much more than a B-minus for that. Now I'm probably at an A-minus with one putt at Augusta away from being an A-plus.
"I've been very consistent this year. I've played a lot of good, solid golf and it just hasn't converted into wins. Now I've checked that box and now it begins to be a pretty good year."
A new breakout golfer emerges almost every week either on the European or PGA Tours. This week, it was Patrick Cantlay, who survived a three-man playoff to win his first PGA Tour title at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Cantlay, 25, has endured injury and personal setbacks during his young career, but he's now on pace to contend for a Ryder Cup spot next year.
Golf's crowded market of potential stars is good for the game. The Tiger Woods era was exciting, watching to see what he would do next. But ultimately, the game was designed to feature a more haphazard collection of stars, with a handful of top contenders lined up each week.
Guys like Rose, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson and Adam Scott — all in their late 30s to early 40s — may not receive the hype some of the aforementioned younger stars enjoy, but they are all still threats to win, which only strengthens the sport.