Tuesday, 11 September 2018
Justin Rose  (Getty Images)
Justin Rose (Getty Images)

 

Justin Rose has become World Number One for the first time after finishing second at the BMW Championship in Pennsylvania.

Rose came up just short in a play-off at Aronimink Golf Club on Monday, losing to Keegan Bradley at the first extra hole - but finishing second was enough to take Rose to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking.

This is the latest phenomenal achievement in a stellar career that has seen the 38 year old win one Major Championship, two World Golf Championship titles, an Olympic Gold medal and the 2007 European Tour Order of Merit.

Here is a look back at the Englishman's journey to the top.

Open performance at Birkdale as a 17 year old

His red jumper might not have been the perfect fit but Justin Rose seamlessly slotted into Major Championship folklore one afternoon in 1998. His game at Royal Birkdale had been as sharp as the smartly-cropped haircut - after all, it’s not every weekend a 17 year old amateur contends on his Major debut.

The boyish grin belied his ability. Deeply-etched, emotional scars would come, but these were Rose’s halcyon days. The only baggage he stepped onto the first tee with on that Southport Sunday was carried by his caddie.

Out of position in the rough coming down the 72nd hole, Rose’s Major story could easily have started with a slightly less Hollywood ending. His status as low amateur was assured but he needed to get down in two from 50 yards to save par. What followed was a shot from the Seve Ballesteros handbook of craft.

A deft escape landed softly on the green and ran into the cup, securing his share of fourth place. Cue that timeless celebration - arms raised and face turned up to the sky, with his father applauding triumphantly at the boy, his boy, revelling in the adulation.

Missed cuts after turning pro

In the immediate aftermath of that historic Birkdale afternoon, Rose made the leap into the professional game. What followed in the ensuing 11 months was the antithesis of those final-hole heroics. A raft of missed cuts, 21 in total, was a cruel second chapter, but surely played its part in shaping the man he has become.


He travelled the globe in search of a weekend. On June 27 1999, it finally worked out. After opening with a 75 at the Compaq European Grand Prix, he edged into the third round with a Friday 69.

Early European Tour wins

After securing a second-place finish at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in Johannesburg - the city of his birth - in January 2001, Rose went one better 12 months later, securing his maiden European Tour victory.

Having posted an opening 71, Rose produced back-to-back 66s on Friday and Saturday to put himself firmly in contention. And he saved the best for last, firing a closing 65 on Sunday to finish two strokes clear of Mark Foster, Retief Goosen and Martin Maritz.

Rose's three trips to Qualifying School were now firmly behind him - he was a European Tour winner at last.

And it wasn't long before Rose was back in the winner's circle - this time on home soil - at the Victor Chandler British Masters at Woburn in June 2002. But his second victory did not come easily. He first had to battle past countryman and his host that week, Ian Poulter.

Beginning the day three shots behind overnight pacesetter Phillip Price, Rose produced a 65 on Sunday to beat Poulter - who posted a 68 - by a single stroke.

Ryder Cup performances

Rose delivered three points on his Ryder Cup debut but he could not prevent Europe from losing the biennial showpiece in Valhalla. He was, however, on the winning side in his next appearance in 2012 - playing all five matches as Europe pulled off the 'Miracle at Medinah'.


He was an ever-present again in 2014, finishing unbeaten and as Europe's top scorer with three wins and two halved matches, including in the singles against Hunter Mahan. 

Things didn't go according to plan for Rose or Europe at Hazeltine in 2016 as he lost two and won just one of his matches alongside partner Henrik Stenson - albeit all three coming against the top US pair of Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth. He partnered rookie Chris Wood to victory in the Saturday foursomes but lost his singles contest to Rickie Fowler.

Order of Merit win in 2007

After contending for the 2007 Masters until a double bogey on the 71st hole, Rose lost a play-off for the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth but survived another to claim the Volvo Masters in November. By making the play-off with Simon Dyson and Søren Kjeldsen, Rose ensured he finished top of the European Tour Order of Merit and he then rolled in a 12-foot putt at the second extra hole to seal victory.

2013 US Open win

Sunday at Merion in 2013 was Father’s Day and it would provide the most stirring of subplots. Rose, who lost his father, Ken in 2002, began two off the pace set by America’s sweetheart Phil Mickelson but Merion had snared many of the week’s field and Rose needed the American to fall into its trappings and hope he could survive. 

Rose got through his front nine in one under par - Mickelson headed out in three over but eagled the tenth. Back-to-back birdies on the 12th and 13th put Rose in a strong position, particularly with Mickelson less than convincing. Just as in 1998, Rose arrived at the 72nd hole with something on the line. 

From around 240 yards, he sent his second shot on the par four 18th hurtling towards the pin. It ran up close, but rolled just off the green, leaving Rose a delicate up and down for par. Once the formality of his par putt was complete, it was clear where his thoughts lay. He immediately looked skyward, kissed his finger and pointed upwards, a rare tender moment on a course that had been inclined to rougher treatment throughout the week. Mickelson would eventually finish with bogey, confirming Rose’s two-shot victory.

His story had taken a decisive, and deserving, turn. No longer would Rose’s already impressive career carry an asterisk denoting his shortcomings on the Major stage. He had done it when it mattered. For Rose, on Father’s Day 2013, it really mattered.


  

2016 Olympics

Rose claimed golf's first Olympic gold medal for 112 years by edging out his Ryder Cup team-mate Stenson in a thrilling final-round battle in Rio. He carded a closing 67 at Reserva de Marapendi to finish 16 under par and two shots ahead of Stenson, with American Matt Kuchar securing bronze after a superb 63.

The outcome was only decided on the 72nd hole when Rose pitched to three feet to set up a decisive birdie and Stenson failed to convert his long-range attempt, the 40-year-old Swede also missing the return putt for par.

That left the stage clear for Rose to tap-in and seal victory before punching the air in delight.


He said: "It feels absolutely incredible. I've been just so determined to represent Team GB as best as I could, and it was just the most magical week, it really was."

Rose was made to wait a little while for his next European Tour win after claiming gold in Rio. After waiting until late 2017, two victories came along at once as he followed up success at the WGC-HSBC Champions with another at the Turkish Airlines Open.

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