European Tour

Justin Rose: Hurricane Dorian put life into perspective

Justin Rose (Getty Images)
Justin Rose (Getty Images)

St Andrews - Johannesburg-born professional golf star Justin Rose, who left South Africa to live in England with his family when he was five years old, has made millions from the game, has a huge fan base, counts among his achievements a US Open victory and an Olympic gold medal, and has reached No 1 in the world rankings.

So he's known all about what it's like to live the high life, but he spoke both humbly and eloquently this week in Scotland where he is playing in the $5-million Alfred Dunhill Links Championship following the aftermath of devastating Hurricane Dorian which caused so much carnage in The Bahamas where he and his wife Kate have a home.

The hurricane, a Category 5 storm with wind speeds of up to 350km/h, hit the archipelago early this month, killing over 50 people, leaving thousands unaccounted for and 70 000 needing humanitarian assistance.

"It really did put life into perspective and golf became insignificant at that point," said Rose. "When something like this happens there are very important things to think about when you might get a little bit ahead of yourself and above your station. Your putt lips out and doesn't drop in the hole and you think it's the end of the world.Those are the moments when you've got to check yourself.

"After the hurricane you see people's lives torn apart. Whole families being lost and whole homes lost. Kids orphaned. There are so many stories like this. You bump into people who have just lost an uncle.

"Then you meet someone who have a cousin they haven't heard from. They fear the worst. Watching it all has been so difficult, and you realise how vulnerable you are when you see the power of the storm."

The Rose's live in Nassau, about 160km south from where the eye of the storm hit, so they emerged virtually unscathed. But Rose says much of the relief work is now centred on Nassau where his wife has remained working and helping where she can.

"In a small community like The Bahamas when something so devastating happens, we definitely club together to help each other and we're all doing out bit to raise funds for the relief work."

The home of Rose's fellow professional, South African Thomas Aiken who also lives in The Bahamas and also has a wife called Kate, was damaged in the storm with part of the roof blown off and the house partly flooded.

Meanwhile Rose, who today plays golf under the English flag, is teaming up with superstar singer and actor Justin Timberlake in this week's separate pro-am competition in Scotland.

"I met Justin in Orlando where he was playing golf. He's pretty good and is off a two handicap, and we've become close friends. To me he's just Justin Timberlake, the guy who wants to play golf. But I've watched two or three of his shows and you then see him become Justin Timberlake with thousands screaming for him."

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