VIRGINIA WATER, England (Reuters) - Wentworth is littered with sand traps and world number six Justin Rose says he needs to avoid them at all costs to achieve a “bucket-list” target by landing this week’s BMW PGA Championship crown.
The European Tour’s flagship tournament represents a local event for the 34-year-old Londoner and, aside from golf’s big four prizes, it is the title he craves the most.
“Outside of the major championships I cannot think of a tournament I’d like to win more than this one,” Rose told a news conference on Wednesday.
”I’ve been coming here from about the age of eight and watching the great players and being inspired to go back to my home course and practice.
“Come tomorrow there will be a lot of familiar faces in the crowd for me and it always makes it very special.”
When the action gets underway in Thursday’s opening round, Rose will be doing his utmost to navigate his way round the sand traps, even if it means aiming for the rough at times.
“There are bunkers everywhere and strategy off the tee is very important,” said the 2013 U.S. Open champion.
“You need to drive the ball well this week. You can’t play this course from the bunkers so that means being conservative in some areas and in other areas flying a bunker and accepting being in the rough.”
If Rose needed any extra incentive to do well it came at Tuesday’s Players’ Awards dinner as British Open and U.S. PGA Championship winner Rory McIlroy and U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer mingled again with their triumphant European Ryder Cup team mates.
”That was phenomenal,“ said the Florida-based Englishman. ”A really inspiring night to see what’s been achieved by guys who play on the European Tour and a very motivating night.
”The theme was the ‘Happiest Days Of Our Lives’ and there were so many great memories that the Ryder Cup creates and to have an opportunity where you get most of the team back together and have that moment to reminisce.
“That was a very cool moment,” added Rose.
Editing by Ken Ferris