Rose still determined to realise childhood dreams

Justin Rose used to be rewarded with chocolate or toys for good performances as a young golfer, but now he wants to turn his childhood dreams into reality by lifting the Claret Jug.

England's Justin Rose.

The 34-year-old is the highest-ranked home player in this week’s 144th Open at St Andrews – eighth in the world – and is considered England’s best chance of ending a barren spell at the game’s oldest major which dates back to Sir Nick Faldo in 1992.

His best finish in 13 appearances remains his debut as an amateur in 1998 when he tied for fourth as a fresh-faced 17-year-old, but Rose is determined to realise his long-held ambition of becoming an Open champion.

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“It would mean the world. It would be a realisation of a lot of childhood dreams and hard work,” said the 2013 US Open champion.

“Obviously growing up this is the one tournament that I dreamed of winning.

“My dad used to encourage me to get out there and play and set little targets and goals and keep me interested, whether it be a Mars bar on the way home or a train set at the end of the year.

“I had a lot of confidence in myself and belief that I was going to go on and be a professional golfer.

“I used to pose my follow-through in the garden in the reflection of the window and pretend it was the front cover of a magazine.

“I kind of had it in my mind always about where I wanted to go with it – Ryder Cups and major championships.

“In the quiet moments where you’d spend hour after hour on the putting green at your home club I’d say ‘This one for The Open’, ‘This one to win the Ryder Cup’.

“It’s nice to be here as the top-ranked British player and someone with a legitimate chance to go on and win it.

“It’s nice to have sort of made the most of those dreams.”

Rose looked to have played himself into some good form after back-to-back 66s at last week’s Scottish Open but he fell away over the weekend to finish 12 shots behind Rickie Fowler.

That may work in his favour on the Old Course as expectation will be slightly lower on him, but he knows he has to still harness the energy of home support.

“Being a little less hyped, potentially, I think that’s a good thing,” Rose said. “I’ve been in this situation a number of times, so it’s not new on me.”