Justin Rose admits the BMW PGA Championship is one of the tournaments he would love to tick off his career “bucket list.”
Rose claimed his first major title in the US Open at Merion last year and can count a World Golf Championship event among his 13 tournament victories around the world.
The 33-year-old has also played on two Ryder Cup teams – including the 2012 ‘Miracle at Medinah’ – but has never won the European Tour’s flagship event at Wentworth, a tournament he used to attend as a spectator.
“It’s a bucket-list tournament for me,” said Rose, who lost a play-off to Anders Hansen in 2007 and also finished joint second in 2012.
“It’s a tournament I grew up watching as a kid so it’s definitely special to me. Apart from the majors, a World Golf Championships or two possibly, I don’t see a tournament I would more like to win.
“My form is good, I’ve been playing well and building some nice momentum. I’ve had three top 10s in a row, three top fives in my last two and I feel like there’s more to squeeze out of my game, too.
“I feel that the next couple weeks I can progress even more and if that translates into wins, that would be fantastic. It would be great to win heading into Pinehurst, but at the same time I feel like my game is in good shape to put up a good title defence there.”
Rose has brought the US Open trophy from his home in Florida to display it on the first tee during the tournament and added: “For years I’ve seen all the biggest trophies in the game sit proudly on the first tee during this championship, so it’s an amazing feeling for that to be my turn now.”
Rose will partner defending champion Matteo Manassero and Ryder Cup team-mate Lee Westwood in the first two rounds as he looks to build on his share of fourth place in the Players Championship a fortnight ago.
The world No 8 was given a two-shot penalty in the third round after his ball appeared to move as he prepared to play his third shot to the 18th green, but that penalty was rescinded before the final round because only “enhanced technological evidence” had been able to show the ball had moved.
Luke Donald was also second in 2010 and third in 2008, while the likes of Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter have relatively poor records in the European Tour’s flagship event.
“I think every individual is different,” said Donald. “I think some holes just aesthetically suit your eye, whether the course design is good or bad.”
European No 1 Henrik Stenson has not played at Wentworth since 2010, but the Swede can replace Adam Scott as world No 1 this week, depending on his result here and Scott’s in Texas.