By Andrew Both
ST. LOUIS (Reuters) – World number three Justin Rose has declared his back healthy for the PGA Championship starting on Thursday, even though he will play the course “semi-blind”.
Rose pulled out of last week’s World Golf Championships event in Ohio, and has learned this week’s course at Bellerive by walking it with only a wedge and putter in hand.
“I haven’t actually played a practice round in terms of going out there with my golf clubs,” he said on Wednesday.
“I have walked each nine and got some visuals.”
But the Englishman dispelled any suggestion he would not be ready to go on Thursday.
“I hit some balls (on the range) today and felt absolutely fine and comfortable with my swing and the way it’s moving.
“If ever there was a major championship to be able to play semi-blind, this is the course to do it on.”
He was referring to the soggy conditions following torrential rain that has left the greens and fairways soft.
This will make it pretty much a paint-by-numbers tournament where a player gets a yardage, picks a club and fires away at the pin without having to put too much thought into it.
Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion who tied for second at last month’s British Open, says he pulled out last week as a precaution more than anything, with a busy schedule coming up, including next month’s Ryder Cup.
“I wouldn’t say there’s any injury per se,” he said. “I just had a facet joint tighten up.”
Rose joked that not having a practice round means at least his psyche has not been dented.
“The great thing is I haven’t hit a bad shot in two days,” he said.
(Reporting by Andrew Both, editing by Ed Osmond)