July 16, 2019 / 2:54 PM / a month ago

Golf-Follow-up major proving elusive for Rose

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland, July 16 (Reuters) - When Justin Rose tied for fourth at the 1998 Open as a 17-year-old amateur he was immediately dubbed the next big thing. He then missed the cut in his first 21 events as a professional.

When Englishman Rose won the U.S. Open at Merion in 2013, a long overdue first major triumph, many felt it would open the gates to many more in the years to come.

He is still waiting.

Rose won the Olympic gold medal in Rio in 2016 as golf returned to the Games for the first time since 1904 and has been a key man in several European Ryder Cup triumphs.

But adding to his solitary major has been a frustrating business. He tied second at the Masters in 2015 and was second on his own in 2017 while at the 2015 PGA Championship he finished fourth.

Last year Rose almost pulled off one of the most amazing Open triumphs when he only made the cut by sinking a 15-foot putt on the final hole of his second round but was in the thick of a thrilling final day battle before finishing joint runner-up behind Francesco Molinari.

Rose will tee off on Thursday as one of the favourites, still fuelled by the belief he can win all four majors.

“I think if you won both Opens, essentially, that’s a lovely pair, no doubt,” Rose, 38, said at Portrush on Tuesday.

“That would be halfway towards a Grand Slam. If I was able to do that then I would immediately shift to I’m 50 percent of the way there.

“The next one is really important for me, because it makes the next two feel possible. When you’re a quarter of the way there, looking at it, it’s quite an uphill climb.

“When you’re halfway you’re kind of at the tipping point.”

Rose said even if he ends up with just the one he would be grateful but admits there have been disappointments, notably the 2017 Masters when he lost a playoff to Sergio Garcia having held the lead late in his fourth round.

“They are hard to win, and you’ve seen great players not win one,” he said. “Certainly I’ve had three second-place finishes in majors since (the U.S. Open win).

“I’ve had a couple of opportunities, for sure. Augusta, that was a one arm-in-the-jacket type situation.

“But you never skip through a career without a little bit of heartache along the way. I’ve definitely given myself some looks. If I keep doing that I know the door will open again.”

Even if he does lift the Claret Jug on the Antrim coast this week, however, Rose says it might not cut it with his son Leo, who has gone cricket-mad after watching England win the World Cup.

Asked if his son might pick up a golf club rather than a cricket bat, he said: “That would be nice for sure, although it’s proved quite difficult, to be honest.

“He’s in the garden until the sun goes down. He says, Dad, can you bowl a few at me? That kind of thing.” (Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

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