Like a good wine, Justin Rose is improving with age, and a superb end to the year has set him up nicely for an assault on the majors in 2018.
The 37-year-old has just one major on his CV to date, taking the 2013 US Open with a majestic display at Merion. However, he came mighty close to doubling that tally at this year’s Masters. A playoff loss to fellow Ryder Cup star Sergio Garcia at Augusta was difficult to take, but he put it behind him to win three times, including back-to-back triumphs at the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open.
An eight-stroke success in the Indonesian Masters was the perfect way to end his year, and Rose will head into the new campaign full of confidence after securing 11 top-10 finishes worldwide.
Having burst onto the scene by finishing tied-fourth at the 1998 Open Championship and holing out from the rough on the 72nd hole, it took the South African-born ace a long time to establish himself as a professional on the European Tour. However, now playing on both side of the Atlantic, the Englishman is one of the top names around and sits sixth in the world ranking having narrowly missed out on winning the Race to Dubai title from compatriot Tommy Fleetwood.
Rose has made it clear that his target is to win another major, and there seems every reason to suggest he will achieve his aim, although it gets tougher every year as more and more talented youngsters emerge. The likes of Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson are dominating the scene at present while young Spaniard Jon Rahm is now a serious contender for major honors, but Rose seems able to hold his own against the best having won an Olympic gold medal in Rio back in 2016.
Mental strength is key in any sport but particularly in golf when things can unravel quickly if a player’s swing is not functioning correctly or he is struggling on the greens. Rose appears to have the ability to put adversity to the back of his mind and just go about his business in a calm manner.
While players such as Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell seem to have struggled by combining life on the European Tour and in the US, Rose has embraced it and will host next year’s British Masters at Walton Heath. He picks and chooses his events wisely and will continue to play the majority of his golf on the PGA Tour while fulfilling his commitments in Europe.
The Ryder Cup will doubtless be a target as Europe, still licking their wounds from a drubbing at Hazeltine, hope to regain the trophy at Le Golf National in France.
Rose has played in four Ryder Cups, winning twice, and he is certain to be one of the leading lights for Thomas Bjorn in late September. (Why not check out all the tips and predictions in the run up to the Paris event at Bet and Skill?)
Some players tend to fade in their late 30s, but Rose keeps himself supremely fit and it would be no surprise to see him lifting more silverware in 2018.