By Larry Fine
AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) – Justin Rose has won a U.S. Open, Olympic gold, Ryder Cups and more than a dozen major tour victories worldwide but the 37-year-old hopes that his golf career will ultimately be graded on successes yet to come.
“I think how I’m going to be remembered in the game is really what happens from here onwards,” the Englishman told reporters on Monday ahead of this week’s Masters.
“So I had a great career, but there’s difference between a great career and whether it be a special career or a Hall of Fame career.
“If I go on to achieve some other really big championships, major championships, from this point on, then my career becomes more a special career than a great career.”
Two times a runner-up at the Masters, Rose believes he could take the next legacy building step this week at Augusta where he has come close to adding a second major on a track where he feels energized just by loosening up on the driving range.
“For some reason I hit the ball really well when I get on that range, and I think it’s just a place I’ve tended to play well,” the world number five said.
“It’s an energy thing as well. I feel like I put a lot of work into being ready for this tournament.”
Rose, who has three top fives in the Masters, said that being the first major of the year, his preparations begin sooner than for the others.
“Probably about a good six, eight weeks ago it starts creeping into your mind,” he said.
“I (finished) a month off four, five weeks ago with the hopes of being fresh and ready for this, and I played a nice run of golf since then.
“I played four of my last five weeks, so I feel certainly tout tournament sharp,” added Rose, who has tied for fifth at the Valspar Championship and third at the Arnold Palmer in a season that started with a win at the WGC Championship-HSBC Champions.
After the Arnold Palmer at Bay Hill, he traveled to Augusta for two rounds to learn more course nuances and come to terms with his playoff loss last year to frequent Ryder Cup team mate Sergio Garcia.
“I always just love being up here, and you always do tend to learn a thing or two,” he said.
“And I think for me last year after losing in the playoff, it was important just to come and walk the grounds.
The trip to Augusta always brings good feelings for the Briton.
“It starts by just driving up Magnolia Lane and feeling good and having good energy and feeling good about the place,” he said.
“That sort of love affair started my very first Masters in 2003. It’s become a happy hunting ground.”
Two decades on from his sensational major debut as a teenage amateur at the British Open and with a game suited for success at Augusta, Rose likes his chances to do something special this week.
“My skillset should produce a chance to win if all goes well,” he said.
“Not worried about the other players or the other variables. I’m coming in playing as good as I’ve ever played, so I’m excited about that.”
(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)