By Rory Carroll
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – Justin Rose acknowledges that he cannot compete for distance off the tee with the power hitters of the PGA Tour but the Briton says his precision and game management make him a match for anyone — just like tennis great Roger Federer.
Rose, who won Olympic gold in Rio, said trying to match the ball speeds of some of his rivals would be bad for his health and his swing, and pointed to Federer as an example of how success can be achieved without overpowering an opponent.
“I look at Roger Federer. There’s guys that serve at 135 (miles per hour), but he serves at 121 in the corners,” Rose told reporters on Tuesday ahead of his title defense at the Farmers Insurance Open.
“He’s at the back end of his career, so it’s incredibly effective,” he said of the Swiss, who is looking for a record-extending 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.
“I’m not going to be a 185 ball speed guy and if I chase that it is going to hurt me and it’s going to hurt my swing and body because you’ve got to reabsorb that force.
“But I can serve it 121 in the corners is kind of where I’m at. And for me, that’s like 172, 175 ball speed.
“If I can carry the ball 300 (yards) in the air, I can compete on any golf course against any player. So that’s kind of my benchmark.”
Rose, 39, also said he was looking forward to defending his Olympic title at the upcoming Tokyo Games.
“It’s been a wonderful three and a half years to this point,” Rose said.
“It’s been definitely one of the highlights of my career and something I’m very keen to try and defend.
“I think Tokyo’s going to be a wonderful host city. Obviously Japan’s a great golfing nation and I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of excitement and from what I can tell, I think it’s going to be well attended and well supported by the players.”
Rose will be paired with two other former world number ones — Jason Day and Jordan Spieth — at the Farmers Insurance, which kicks off on Thursday.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)