While much of the golf world was busy anointing Rickie Fowler the 2010 Memorial Champion after running in front for three rounds, the rest of the PGA Tour was mounting up to prove to everybody that PGA Tour events are 72 holes in length.
The players were well aware of that and Fowler set out on Sunday to get his first PGA Tour win, only by the time the day was over it another youthful star that was stepping to the podium on the PGA Tour for the very first time.
In gusty conditions, on an impeccably prepared Muirfield Village golf course, Englishman Justin Rose tallied a magnificent 66 on Sunday to get a much coveted initial PGA Tour win. He had been the co-leader with Rickie Fowler after round one when they both shot 65.
Rose, who last won in 2007 at the European Tour’s Volvo Masters, has said he did not try and distinguish between wins anywhere in the world but admits it is a big relief to finally win in the United States, and specifically at Jack Nicklaus’ tournament. “I couldn’t think of a better place to win my first tournament. It’s a great day.”
Rose had had a number of top five finishes at The Memorial through the years and says he has always felt relaxed at the venue. “I have good feelings about this tournament every time I come here, second, fourth in the past. And something about the place that just — that I feel very comfortable. There is a horses for courses mentality too.”
No less than Jack Nicklaus himself related how he had told Rose a couple years ago that the South African born phenom who tuned pro at 17 would eventually win at Muirfield Village. “I’ve always thought Justin to be a really good player. Today — and I saw it all week. It really showed very, very well.” “His swing this week, I just thought was fantastic. And he putted well, too,” added the 18-time professional major winner at the closing press conference.
Rose, 29, was almost taken back when he was asked about the recent run of “Young Guns” – 20 something’s winning on tour and how he had extended the dominance. “I have always been described as young and a young gun and this and that, but I’m now getting to the point where I’m certainly not. Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, these guys are the true young guns out here. I think golf’s in great hands with those — with more than those two, but those two especially.”
Despite not having the final outcome he was hoping for Rickie Fowler was pretty impressive in handling the defeat and he earned a lot of respect from many as he held himself together enough to take 2nd place.. His final round 73 has a sloppy three over stretch on holes 10-12 but he righted his Orange-clad ship with a couple birdies in the middle of the closing nine. It was too late however, as Rose was charging to the victory and leaving Rickie in his wake by then.
Said Fowler, “It was an awesome week. Obviously not the round that I wanted today. Didn’t hit as many greens as I would like to, but we had a lot of fun. Justin put up a great round today, so got to give it up to him. And look forward to hopefully being in contention a little bit more often. Coming from Phoenix and feeling the nerves that I did there and playing this week, I felt really comfortable out there. I can just imagine the next time, being in contention; I’ll feel that much more comfortable.”
With his win Rose moves into the running to make the European Ryder Cup Team, a huge goal for him this year.
Of course he won’t have a lot of time to think about it until Tuesday, on Monday he will join a number of other PGA Tour pros, including Rickie Fowler, in a 36-hole U.S. Open Qualifier in the Columbus area.
With the form they showed this week, and if they still have enough energy, to see them both play their way through to Pebble Beach.
This report also provided to GolfWRX.com by Flagstick Golf Magazine (www.flagstick.com)