FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (Reuters) – It has been 100 years since an English golfer won the PGA Championship and Justin Rose has tweaked his preparations in a bid to peak at the right time and snap the drought.
World number two Rose is the highest ranked of 12 Englishman in the 156-player field at Bethpage Black this week trying to repeat Jim Barnes’s triumph at the 1919 PGA Championship.
“Yeah, that is a long time,” Rose told a news conference on Wednesday when asked about the English drought. “There’s plenty of (English) talent and firepower. You just need a bit of lady luck and the stars to align. But yeah, for me obviously I’d love to be the guy to get over the hump.”
Rose said he decided to change his approach after the gameplan he used going into Augusta National for last month’s Masters, where he missed the cut, failed him.
Rose, who counts the 2013 U.S. Open among his 10 wins on the PGA Tour, said he spent time at home last week and the approach has left him a lot fresher going into a course he has competed on three times before.
“I felt like at Augusta I did so much work in the run-up and early in the week that I felt like on Tuesday my game peaked, and then it sort of dropped off after that,” said Rose.
“Whereas major championship golf is all about playing well on the weekend. So for me it was about what do I need to do to draft into it and feel good for the weekend more than trying to get ready for Thursday.”
Rose, who will play the first two rounds with Americans Rickie Fowler and twice Masters champion Bubba Watson, is aware of the challenge that awaits given the daunting length of the 7,459-yard Bethpage Black layout.
But the 38-year-old Englishman set out about five years ago to fly the ball 300 yards off the tee and he currently averages 305 yards.
“That seemed to be just a nice round number, obviously, but that was kind of I felt the metric that would kind of open up a few golf courses for me. It would make a difference,” said Rose.
“I could be proved wrong, but I would say this is the kind of golf course where maybe you’re looking at the field not necessarily as 156 but maybe looking at 30, 40 guys that maybe can win this tournament based on the length, and I think driving the golf ball and distance will be a really big advantage this week.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both; Writing by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)