Published On: Tue, Apr 9th, 2019

Justin Rose determined to banish the curse of the world No 1 at the Masters | Golf | Sport

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A rating of best on the planet at anything would normally be a cause for celebration – and Rose was duly pleased with the promotion – but it comes with a weight attached at Augusta National.

Not since Tiger Woods in 2002 has a world No1 won a Green Jacket and only three have done so in history.

It is the sort of negative statistic which could prey uncomfortably on the mind.

But Rose said firmly: “I’m not going to take on that story. I have won as world No1, which is something that was important to me – I was able to do that in San Diego this year – but clearly to win a Major as No1 would be even more fantastic. I use it as maybe a little inspiration.

“DJ has been the No1 in the last year-and-a-half predominately so I think the weeks I am No1, it’s really cool.

“I feel like I haven’t had my run yet where I’ve separated myself as the No1 player in the world. That’s a goal of mine, still.

“I feel like I’ve had a decent year so far. I’ve had enough good golf to give me confidence and I’ve had enough poor golf to keep me working hard, which is sometimes a good place to be.”

A win at the Masters would put clear water between Rose and the rest at the top of the rankings.

He has a strong record around Augusta, having finished runner-up in 2015 and in 2017, when he lost a “heartbreaker” to Sergio Garcia in a play-off.

The Green Jacket looked to be his for the taking when Garcia, two shots adrift, went into a bush at the 13th in regulation play, but he escaped with a par and from there the Spaniard clawed his way back to win at the first extra hole.

It was the one that got away for the Englishman, who said: “That was the first Major I’ve been close to and not won. It wasn’t like a hole in the heart but it was a bit of a downer maybe for a few months there.

“I took comfort in the fact that you can’t get through a career without something like that happening. It just taught me that when you win a tournament you need that little bit of luck on your side.

“Sergio had a break on 13 – that’s the way it goes sometimes when you win.

“Henrik Stenson pointed out to me that at the Rio Olympics I rode my luck against him a couple of times, skipped my ball through a few fairways and bushes here and there and came out on top. Henrik pointing that out to me made it easier to accept and swallow.”

The pain of that near miss was numbed to a degree because Rose already had a Major in his back pocket from the 2013 US Open at Merion.

The surprise, given the consistency which has taken him to world No1 on five occasions, is that he has not added to that single Major since.

He said: “I’ve seen some guys go through a career and not be able to get that elusive first Major and no doubt it’s a hole in any career if you don’t get it done. but certainly I’d love to use the word ‘multiple’.”

The rankings suggest the time is right for the 38-year-old this week headed into this season’s opening Major.

Augusta National plays to its own set of rules, though, and one of them appears to be that the No1 all too rarely finishes No1.

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