AKRON, Ohio (Reuters) - Winning his first major title at the U.S. Open in June has unquestionably been the golfing highlight of Justin Rose’s career, but the Englishman said it also taught him the lesson of never resting on his laurels.
Rose tied for 13th at the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship and then missed the cut at the British Open 12 days ago in his next two starts, proof that every week on the circuit comes with the slate wiped clean.
“Coming into this week as a major winner, the way I view it is that it really shouldn’t make any difference,” he told reporters on Wednesday while preparing for Thursday’s opening round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
“The golf course doesn’t know that. Each and every week you’ve got to build a whole new body of work. If you keep coming back to the past and resting on your laurels and being U.S. Open champ, that doesn’t work.
“After the U.S. Open I found that time constraint wise, I’d miss the odd session in the gym and the odd practice session just because there was a lot going on, and your game soon lets you know about that.”
Rose felt he had gone into the British Open at Muirfield a little under-prepared, and ultimately paid the price as he missed the cut for only the second time in 11 starts on the 2013 PGA Tour.
“I was doing my best to get 100 percent ready that week, I think I came in a little bit under-prepared with my body, under-prepared with my game,” said the world number four.
“And on that kind of golf course, there’s a lot of variability out there, just the whole setup, how fast it was playing. You either kind of got into it or you didn’t. I found I just didn’t adjust to it well enough or fast enough.”
Asked whether he had suffered because of his increased number of media commitments since winning the U.S. Open, Rose replied: “Time management has always been something I’ve had to work on and fight and struggle with, so it’s no different.
“But it’s just a good reminder of what makes me tick. I think it’s perfectly manageable. I don’t think life has been crazy since winning the U.S. Open. It’s all pretty much manageable, just good for me to relearn those lessons.
“The last couple of weeks I’ve had the chance to get back to normal, get back to doing all the good things that work for me and hopefully beginning to feel really good about my game once again.”
A five-times winner on the PGA Tour, Rose has been paired with British Open champion Phil Mickelson for the first two rounds at Firestone Country Club, a heavily tree-lined layout where he tied for fifth last year.
“This is a venue that I really enjoy being at,” the 33-year-old said. “It’s a golf course that really lets you know where you are with your game, very straightforward in the sense that you need to play good golf.
“You need to drive the ball well, and it offers you the opportunity that if you do do that, you can play well. But certainly if you’re off your game, it lets you know as well.”
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Julian Linden