Healthy Rose eager to start 2014 campaign at Riviera

Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:10pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

PACIFIC PALISADES, California (Reuters) - While U.S. Open champion Justin Rose is champing at the bit to play his first competitive golf of the year, Jimmy Walker will look to maintain his sizzling form at this week's Northern Trust Open.

English world number five Rose, who heads a strong field at Riviera Country Club, has been recovering from tendinitis in his right shoulder and is eager to test his game in tournament conditions as he launches his 2014 campaign.

"I'm feeling good," Rose told reporters while preparing for Thursday's opening round on the iconic par-71 course laid out in the Santa Monica Canyon. "A lot of hard work went into me being here.

"It was a race against time to really get back playing. I've only really been hitting balls, drivers, for about a week, 10 days now, so it really has been down to the wire. It was important for me to get out and play some competitive golf."

Asked to assess the state of his game, Rose replied: "My game's felt really good at home. I'm swinging it really nicely and everything technically looks really good.

"Had an opportunity to spend a lot of time on my short game, but when you get a scorecard in your hand everything is a little different."

Rose, who believes his tendinitis set in after he threw a golf ball to his caddie 70 yards back down the fairway during the Barclays tournament in August, has always enjoyed competing at Riviera, despite never finishing better than joint ninth.

"I've never really contended to win because I've never been able to put four rounds together here," said Rose, whose tie for ninth in 2011 was his only top-10 at Riviera in eight previous starts.   Continued...

Justin Rose of England tees off on the first hole during the first round of the DP World Tour Championship golf tournament in Dubai November 14, 2013. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah