Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

June 18, 2013

Rose breaks through, gives England a major title

ARDMORE, Pa. — The most recent golden era of golf in England had everything but the one prize that brings credibility.

A major championship.

Lee Westwood and Luke Donald reached No. 1 in the world. Ian Poulter turned into a rock star in the Ryder Cup. There was a strong supporting cast that included Paul Casey. Always lurking, and finally delivering, was Justin Rose.

The only player at Merion who never had worse than a 71 over four demanding days, Rose passed his biggest test Sunday when he split the middle of the 18th fairway with his tee shot and hit a 4-iron that set him up for a par on the toughest hole to win the U.S. Open.

The question no longer is why the English can’t win a major. It’s who might be next.

“I really hope it does inspire them,” Rose said after his two-shot win over Phil Mickelson and Jason Day. “I think it was always going to be a matter of time before one of us broke through. It was just going to be who. And I always hoped it was going to be me to be the first, obviously. But I really hoped that it has broken the spell, and guys can continue to match up some for themselves.”

Westwood for the last five years gave England its best hope. A 15-foot birdie putt was all that kept him out of a playoff in the 2008 U.S. Open won by Tiger Woods. He missed another playoff at Turnberry in the 2009 British Open when he three-putted for bogey from long range on the 72nd hole. He had a one-shot lead going into the final round of the Masters in 2010, but couldn’t hold off Mickelson.

Donald became the first player to win the money title on the PGA Tour and European Tour in the same season, and he stayed at No. 1 for 56 weeks. That gave him the distinction of being No. 1 going into the most majors — seven — without ever having won.

Poulter was runner-up in the British Open at Royal Birkdale in 2008, though his best play was when he wore Europe’s colors in the Ryder Cup.

And then there was Rose.

His win at Merion made him the first Englishman since Tony Jacklin in 1970 at Hazeltine to win America’s national championship. And he became the first from England to win any major in 17 years, dating to Nick Faldo’s six-shot rally to beat Greg Norman in the 1996 Masters for his third green jacket.

“Tony Jacklin was a pioneer,” Rose said, referring to the two-time major champion. “Golf has become a lot more global. There are more international players over here, so to see us players come through and win championships ... Jacklin did it maybe when it was out of the norm. And we certainly grew up dreaming about emulating him.”

England, a proud golfing nation, was in danger of being morphed into a much broader group. It was part of Europe, which got three majors from Padraig Harrington of Ireland and one from Martin Kaymer of Germany. The Union Jack has been carried in recent years by Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke. The last British player to win a major was Paul Lawrie at Carnoustie in the 1999 British Open.

England has its own niche in history, and the timing of Rose’s win was symbolic.

This is the 100-year anniversary of Francis Ouimet putting American golf on the front of the sports pages when he took down English heavyweights Harry Vardon and Ted Ray at The Country Club. Vardon won seven majors, same as Sam Snead and Arnold Palmer. Also part of that great triumvirate was J.H. Taylor, whose five majors includes one footnote — the only man in major championship history to have the lowest score in all four rounds.

Now, the Cross of St. George can fly proudly.

“Congrats finally an Englishman wins a major,” Poulter tweeted late Sunday evening.

That the lot fell to Rose should not have been a surprise.

A year ago, he led the PGA Tour in greens hit in regulation. Going into the U.S. Open, he was tops in total driving, which combines the ranking of driving distance and driving accuracy. At some point, it began to dawn on the 32-year-old Rose that this major might be the one he was most likely to win.

“I felt like this tournament really began to be on my radar as possibly the one major championship that would suit me the most,” Rose said. “I had always felt good at Augusta, always dreamed about winning The Open Championship. But I thought this one actually might have been my best chance. I really targeted Merion. ... So I just love it when a plan comes together.”

The rest of his career took time for everything to fall into place.

Rose famously holed a long pitch shot on the final hole at Royal Birkdale in the 1998 British Open when he was 17, and he turned pro the next week. Instead of blazing a trail, he never flamed out by missing 21 consecutive cuts. He never lost hope, however, and eventually matured into the complete golfer everyone thought he might be. Rose won on two strong courses, Muirfield Village and Aronimink. He captured a FedEx Cup playoff event on the PGA Tour. He won his first World Golf Championship last year at Doral.

And now this.

“He’s got loads of talent, a great game, a great work ethic,” Hunter Mahan said. “He’s just one of those guys that had to keep plugging along, and keep trusting himself more than anything else — just trust his abilities, because his abilities are really second to none.”

Rose should have had a notion he could handle the big stage. It was just under nine months ago when he was headed to a crucial loss — against Mickelson, of all people — in the Ryder Cup at Medinah last year. Rose holed a 12-foot par putt on the 16th, a 35-foot birdie putt on the 17th and a 12-foot birdie putt on the last hole for a 1-up victory, the key to Europe’s remarkable rally.

That was a team win for Europe. This was for England.

“It’s been too long, really,” Donald said. “I think we’ve had a lot of talent come out of England, and hopefully we’ve broken our bad period. This will be a great win for Justin, and for England.”

Rose ended his night by tweeting a photo of the shiny U.S. Open trophy as the centerpiece of a dining table, champagne glasses ready to be filled.

Cheers.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Lamons-main.jpg Tahlequah wrestler Hestin Lamons adds to memorable season with All-State triumph

    Hestin Lamons’ fitness regiment has been a grueling one this summer. It paid off in a big way at the All-State wrestling dual on Wednesday night.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • ropin-make-a-wish.jpg Dirteater, others help Make-A-Wish

    The event will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Tickets are $5, with kids 6 and under free.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Photo-for-Shinn-story.jpg Coaches preview Sooners season

    Toby Rowland addressed the elephant in the room even before Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel arrived at Journey Church on Wednesday.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Date set for Keys football physicals

    Before scheduled practices can begin in order to prepare for the season, players must first receive a physical.
    Next Tuesday, Aug. 5, Keys High School will be administering physicals in the high school cafeteria.

    July 31, 2014

  • Keys-Dakota.jpg Playing both sides of the line

    Recently, Keys High School football standout Dakota Matlock was nearly severely injured in a terrifying car wreck.

    Matlock is coming off a stellar gridiron season for Keys High School. On offense, Matlock ran for over 1,000 yards for the Cougars. In his sophomore season, Matlock led Keys in tackles from the safety position.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bassmaster.jpg Crossing, and fishing, the Delaware

    Bassmaster Elite Series anglers to compete Aug. 7

    BASS has fished out of some legendary venues over the years (including Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans), but never Philadelphia, which is host of the Bassmaster Elite at Delaware River, Aug. 7-10, 2014.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mison.jpg Mixon’s attorney says incident with woman self-defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon says the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hooper.jpg Sparking the flame

    Sequoyah High School’s Justin Hooper looking to lead this year

    Last season was Justin’s last chance to play alongside Cody at Sequoyah High School.
    Justin had to battle to win the Indians starting tailback. The coaching staff did not know who was going to be the Indians starting running back coming into fall practice.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NSU-fishing-team.jpg NSU teams compete in fishing tournament

    Three teams from Northeastern State University’s Bass Fishing Team competed in the Fishing League Worldwide College Fishing Tournament on Grand Lake in Grove on Saturday, June 21.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Johnson, East win easily at All-State

    Jake Johnson was able to hold off Lawton MacArthur’s Trent Meisel at the Class 5A state tournament in May. On Monday at the All-State tournament at Cherokee Hills Golf Club, Johnson had it much easier against Meisel.

    July 29, 2014

Poll

Do you think "blue laws" related to Sunday alcohol sales in Oklahoma should be relaxed? Choose the option that most closely reflects your opinion.

Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars, and liquor stores should be open.
Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars only; liquor stores should stay closed.
Liquor stores should be open Sundays, but drinks should not be served anywhere on Sundays.
The law should remain as it is now; liquor stores should be closed, and drinks should be served on Sundays according to county option.
No alcohol should be sold or served publicly on Sundays.
Undecided.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Stocks