JUSTIN ROSE would love nothing more than to become the first Englishman in 26 years to win the Open, but he believes a number of home hopefuls could challenge America’s recent dominance of majors.
Starting with Brooks Koepka’s 2017 US Open victory the last five of golf’s premier events have been won by 20-somethings from the United States.
I don’t know what I’d put it down to other than the American boys in the world rankings and on the golf course are performing really well.Justin Rose
In contrast an Englishman has not lifted the Claret Jug since Nick Faldo in 1992 although there have been European triumphs courtesy of Ireland twice (Padraig Harrington both times), Northern Ireland twice (Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy) and Sweden (Henrik Stenson) in the last 11 years.
“I don’t know what I’d put it down to other than the American boys in the world rankings and on the golf course are performing really well,” said Rose ahead of the 147th Championship at Carnoustie.
“The top end of American golf right now is incredibly strong. I think Tommy (Fleetwood, who finished second at last month’s US Open) showed how close the Europeans are to challenging that dominance.
“So it’s not like we’re a mile behind. It’s just they’re on a great run right now, and there’s no reason why a European player shouldn’t come through this week.
“Obviously, Tommy’s got a brilliant chance. Paul Casey’s got a great chance. He’s been knocking on the door many times now too. Paul is dangerous on links golf courses.
“Darren Clarke won one out of the blue years ago. Maybe it’s sort of a Westy (Lee Westwood) time as well. Rory clearly is probably even more dangerous at the minute because he’s been a little quiet. I find that Rory is always quiet for a while and then he’ll kind of kick back into gear.”
Rose made his major breakthrough at the 2013 US Open, but performances at his home major have been much less impressive.
The 37-year-old has had just one top-10 finish – at St Andrews three years ago – in 15 attempts since finishing fourth as an amateur at Royal Birkdale in 1998 when he chipped in at the last.
But that does not deter him and when asked whether he could win this week the 2013 US Open champion gave a confident “Yes”.
“I don’t mind expectation. I feel like you’ve got to be a big boy, and you’ve got to be able to handle that,” added the Englishman, who will celebrate 20 years as a professional on Friday.
“If you want to play at the top level, that’s what you’ve got to live with. I’ve got no problem with that.”