Rose gunning for second major

Justin Rose (Getty Images)
Justin Rose (Getty Images)
Gullane - He's dined with the British Prime Minister.

Watched the men's singles final at Wimbledon in the Royal Box.

Been hunted down by autograph-seekers wherever he goes.

Life has certainly changed for Justin Rose since winning the U.S. Open last month to end his drought in the majors.

But the Englishman wants that victory to remain in the past as he seeks back-to-back major wins at this week's British Open at Muirfield.

"The challenge for me is going to be staying in this tournament, not being dragged back to Merion every five minutes," Rose said Wednesday.

That's easier said than done.

Rose has been in his own little bubble over the last couple of weeks, spending time with his friends and family back in Britain.

The U.S. Open trophy has taken pride of place on the Rose dinner table and been passed around his school friends.

"I've tucked myself away," Rose said.

"I haven't been really doing anything crazy or elaborate.

"That's what I've enjoyed most about it."

He has been thrust back into the spotlight at Muirfield this week, however.

"I haven't seen most of the golfing world since I won at the U.S. Open," he said.

"So (there has been) obviously a lot of well wishes, which is great."

Rose hasn't played for three weeks, since finishing tied for 13th at the Travelers Championship a week after Merion.

He's needed that time to get used to his new status as a major champion.

But he's been around Muirfield plenty of times since last Tuesday — he had nine holes with six-time major winner Nick Faldo early Wednesday — and is raring to go, rather than feeling undercooked.

"Obviously the idea of the three weeks off was just to get basically my legs back under me, basically get back 100 percent ready to play again," Rose said.

"And I feel that's been the case.

"I've spent the last couple of weeks just with family and getting my hunger back for wanting to get back out on the range and get back into practice and get back into practice mode.

"I'm going to need that time if I'm going to get into contention and have a chance to win on Sunday.

"That's when the freshness and the break will serve me well.

"Obviously getting there is going to be the hard part."

Rose won at Merion by being accurate off the tee, playing conservatively and using irons over woods.

"He'll likely use the same approach at Muirfield where the ball will run and run on the hard fairways.

It's said to be a haven for good ball-strikers and Rose is one of them.

It's time for Rose, who is now up to third in the world, to make a run at the claret jug — 15 years since he emerged as a player of great potential by finishing tied for fourth at Royal Birkdale.

That remains his best finish in the British Open.

"I have put myself in some better positions than my results card says," Rose said.

"I do feel comfortable on links golf.

"I think having grown up having played so much of it in the amateur game, you know how to play it.

"The yardage book means very little this week.

"And I think only experience can really help you through that.

"I see no reason why I shouldn't do well here."

Rose arrived at Muirfield for the 2002 British Open in an Austin Powers-style Jaguar alongside Ian Poulter and was then grouped with Tigers Woods for his first two rounds.

"I think I'll be a little bit more under the radar (this time)," Rose said.

Now he's a major champion, there's a fat chance of that.

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