Careful preparation the U.S. Open key for champion Rose
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
(Reuters) - Justin Rose will be bidding next week to become the U.S. Open's first back-to-back winner in 25 years and he knows meticulous tournament preparation will give him the best chance of success at Pinehurst in North Carolina.
Twelve months ago, Rose produced remarkable poise and a Ben Hogan-like finish at Merion to claim his first major title by two shots, and he plans to replicate the careful strategy that worked so well for him that week on Pinehurst's No. 2 Course.
"My preparation's going to be key," world number nine Rose told reporters ahead of the June 12-15 U.S. Open.
"It's developing and designing a game plan that you believe will hold up over 72 holes that you can execute, that suits your game and that will produce the winning score.
"And that's what I did at Merion. I produced a game plan to shoot (around) even par, and that held up. So I need to do the same at Pinehurst."
Rose closed with a level-par 70 in difficult scoring conditions at Merion to post a one-over total of 281 and become the first Englishman to win the U.S. Open since Tony Jacklin at Hazeltine in 1970.
American Curtis Strange won consecutive U.S. Opens in 1988 and 1989 and Rose, who had not played a practice round at Pinehurst until this week, accepts that the challenge for him to follow suit will be difficult.
"I had not been to Merion until the week before the tournament last year so my preparation is going to be very similar," said Rose. Continued...