Three starts. Two wins. One third place. As he chases an historic third consecutive Turkish Airlines Open title, we asked golf statistics experts 15th Club to investigate why Justin Rose is so successful in Turkey.
By 15th Club’s Head of Content Justin Ray
Rose’s taste for Turkey assessed
Since the start of 2013, Rose has a scoring average of 66.75 in the Turkish Airlines Open. Everywhere else on the planet in that same span, his scoring average is 69.71. Rose has played in more than 150 official worldwide stroke play tournaments during that stretch, indicating just how much he thrives in Turkey.
Why is that, I hear you ask? Over the last two years at Regnum Carya, Rose has put on a ball-striking clinic, hitting more than 84 percent of greens in regulation. Justin has been a very good iron player for a long time, but his performance there has been a jump up, even for him. By comparison, Justin ranked eighth on the European Tour last season in greens in regulation – hitting about 73 percent. That’s a remarkable 11 percent difference.
From tee-to-green at last year’s Turkish Airlines Open, Rose gained 16.5 strokes on the field. Not only was that the best in the field, it was more than 6.5 strokes more than any other player. That’s huge. Jason Scrivener was second best for the week, with 9.96 strokes gained on the field.
His performance with his other 13 clubs was so good, it didn’t matter much that Rose ranked 65th out of 75 players for the week in strokes gained putting.
The most improved part of Rose’s game in recent years has been his putting, but it’s been vintage, spectacular play tee-to-green that’s fuelled his success in Turkey.
In a class of his own
Although Victor Dubuisson and Rose have each won this event twice, when it comes to scoring, Rose has been peerless in this tournament.
Among the 80 players in this event’s history with 12 or more rounds played, Rose’s scoring average of 66.75 is 1.56 strokes better than anyone else. Ian Poulter is second, at 68.31. Victor ranks fifth, at 68.50.
You don’t have to whisper it quietly, as with those numbers he’s the firm favourite to complete the trio of Turkish titles.
Why the ‘three-peat’ is so special
A ‘three-peat’ at a single event hasn’t happened often in the history of the European Tour.
Technically, there have been eight different instances of a player winning the same European Tour tournament three straight times it was held since the early 1970s, when the Tour formed. However, not all of them have been cut from the same cloth. Let’s review:
Ian Woosnam, Monte Carlo Open: Former World Number One ‘Woosy’ won the Monte Carlo Open over three consecutive years, in 1990, 1991 and 1992. Ian didn’t get a chance to win the event four times in a row – the 1992 edition was the last time this Open was held as a European Tour event.
Nick Faldo, Dubai Duty Free Irish Open: The Englishman won this distinguished championship three straight years, in 1991, 1992 and 1993. The first two titles came at Killarney, while the 1993 edition was at Mount Juliet.
Colin Montgomerie, BMW PGA Championship: Monty’s ‘three-peat’ at Wentworth is one of the more remarkable achievements in the history of the European Tour. Colin overcame elite fields to win the prestigious event in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
Ernie Els, Heineken Classic: The Heineken Classic was a tournament co-sanctioned by the Australasian Tour and the European Tour from 1996 through to 2005. The Big Easy won it three years straight, in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
Tiger Woods, three ‘three-peats’ in the WGCs: Tiger Woods is, technically, the only player in European Tour history with multiple instances of winning a tournament over three consecutive years. The catch is that two of those came in Ohio, while the other came across three different courses. Woods won the WGC Championship in 2005, 2006 and 2007 at three different venues. He’s also won the WGC Invitational three straight times at Firestone CC in Ohio – in 1999, 2000 and 2001 – and in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
Sergio Garcia, Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters: Following Sergio’s victory in this tournament in 2011, it didn’t form part of the European Tour’s International Schedule from 2012 through to 2016. In 2017, it returned, and Garcia took advantage, winning in 2017 and 2018. So, technically, that’s a three-for-three run.
As you can see, the achievement is rare – and it’s also come in many different shapes and sizes over the years.
Justin’s lone victory this year came in California, all the way back in January. A little November Turkey could be just what he needs to get back into the winner’s circle and join this illustrious list of hat-trick heroes.