PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Justin Rose started the week at Oak Hill with an errant drive.
The U.S. Open champion was involved in a fender-bender near the course, though no one was hurt.
“I guess accidents are accidents,” he said Wednesday. “You can never know exactly quite why they happened. I figured I looked left, I looked right, (had) the gap to cross the road to turn left, and a car essentially came out of nowhere. So it was one of those situations where, unfortunately, hit the front left and a bit of a dink. Obviously, it’s embarrassing.”
Wreck aside, Rose feels more at ease coming into the PGA Championship.
He’s ready to start competing for another major title, rather than just savoring his first.
“I feel like it’s something to look back on at the end of my career,” Rose said Wednesday, one day before the start of the year’s final major.
“All of us at this point in our career need to have our heads down, need to play as hard as you can, need to amass as much success as you can. And you look back at it in 10, 15 years’ time and think, ‘That was good, that was bad, I could have done more, I should have done this, should have done that.’ Only at that point are you really going to know what you can achieve.”
Sure, he’s still relishing the idea of being a major champion. It was a big relief to remove that hole in his résumé. And, used properly, it should give him a sense of confidence coming into the PGA, proving he can hit all the right shots on a pressure-filled Sunday at one of golf’s biggest events.
But he’s got to use it the right way.
Clearly, Rose had not moved past his triumph at Merion when he played in the British Open three weeks ago. He was in no shape to handle the rigors of Muirfield, failing to even make the cut.
“I wasn’t ready with my body,” he conceded. “I wasn’t ready with my game.”
Rose spent extensive time back home in England after winning the U.S. Open, which cut into his normal workouts and practice time. While it was a joyous time, catching up with family and friends who were there for much of his journey, it also was an experience that left him a bit uncomfortable.
“I think it’s the back-slapping you get from everybody, which is obviously very nice,” he said. “But it also in some ways can prevent you from staying fully focused on what’s ahead. People want to keep talking about Merion.”
Coming into Oak Hill, he’s been able to get back into his regular routine.
The trophy is stashed away at home, where it should be. Rose can certainly reflect on his accomplishment in the quiet times, but his main focus is on winning another major.
He doesn’t want to be a player who was one-and-done.
“I feel like I’m back to being disciplined,” Rose said. “I feel like I’m back to being really in the present and motivated for the rest of the year.”
Per custom at the PGA, Rose will get the honor of playing the first two days in a group with the other major champions from this year, British Open winner Phil Mickelson and Masters winner Adam Scott.
“I’m really looking forward to that experience for the first time,” Rose said, “and looking to really turn a fantastic year into an incredible one.”