Rose eyes huge opportunity

11/6/2013 11:45:00 AM
Justin Rose  (Getty Images)
Justin Rose (Getty Images)

Justin Rose is relishing the opportunity to further close the gap on Race To Dubai leader Henrik Stenson as The European Tour’s season finale edges ever closer.

This week’s lucrative US $7million Turkish Airlines Open by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism offers the perfect opportunity for Rose, sitting in third place, to further close the gap on the money list.

Form certainly seems to be on the side of this year’s US Open Champion, who finished tied fifth in the WGC – HSBC Champions last week to Stenson’s joint 31st.

As a result, he is sitting just 325,100  points behind the Swede, who is aiming to emulate Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy by winning the money titles on both sides of the Atlantic having already triumphed in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup.

The upshot is the Race being beautifully poised and set to be decided at next week’s DP World Tour Championship.

Rose said: “I think last week was in a sense the perfect week for The Race to Dubai to tighten up.

“Henrik, the leader, didn't have the best week and a few of the chasing pack had good, solid weeks and gained some ground.

“There's obviously a lot of money at stake here and, if Henrik was to win, he'd probably be in a very strong spot.

“But the likelihood is that it will all come down to Dubai, which I think is exactly what you want for the tournament, the final tournament of the year.”

Failure to end the season as The European Tour’s overall winner would hardly detract from a year in which Rose finally got over the hump to win his first major.

And yet, even after what he surely considers his finest individual campaign to date, further success is driving the Englishman on.

Asked how much importance he places upon winning his home Tour, Rose replied: “Yeah, it's right up there for sure.

“I think at this point, it's now the goal for the year.  I think it would be the icing on the cake.  I think to do well on The Race to Dubai, you have to play well in the majors and the World Golf Championships events.

“So that's always the focus, the beginning part of the year.  And I think if you play well in those tournaments, it really crosses over on both tours, and that's really the way to play a worldwide schedule is to play well in the majors and the World events. 

“That continues to be my goal and, having won my first major, you really get a taste for it and you want to really make that your priority.

“But, having won The European Tour Order of Merit, I would say before I won the U.S. Open this year, that was my career achievement and something that I was very proud of.

“So to have the opportunity to do it for the second time, in the modern era, in the new format, would be great.”

Either way, Rose – more than most – will ultimately look back on 2013 as a positive year.

Asked to sum up his season in one word, he said: “Amazing. It's definitely a dream-come-true season.

“Winning a major is I guess what I've dreamed of for years; well, ever since I've played the game, that's been the benchmark and the goal. So to have it now done and dusted is an amazing feeling.”

If he can triumph this week and ultimately prevail next week in Dubai, he may need an even more positive adjective.