LOS ANGELES — Over a week ago, the PGA TOUR was in central California for the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The course conditions were difficult as the raging winds pulled players’ shots away from their desired destinations. One golfer, Justin Rose, battled the environment while fighting a four-year winless streak.
The 42-year-old former World Golf Ranking No. 1 golfer was now No. 71. His highest finish of the season was ninth place after ending the previous season with two missed cuts and a withdrawal. Not much of his game was reminiscent of his younger self.
“There’s moments there where there’s a gap between winning and where you are feels huge where in reality the gap between where you are and winning is actually much smaller than you think,” Rose said.
Despite feeling far from winning, Rose shot a 69 in the first round. Then, in the second round, he matched his score. He entered the weekend in the running for a win before locking in and shooting a combined 12 under par over the final two days. He won by three strokes over second-place finishers Brandon Wu and Brendon Todd, and his world ranking jumped to No. 35.
Much more like his younger self.
“I think it’s been a long time since I’ve obviously had a chance, got a win under my belt,” Rose said. “I think the elation and just kind of the memories and the excitement of winning is just an incredible feeling that you realize, wow, I’ve missed that feeling.”
A different set of clubs and a winning mentality contributed to his success at Pebble Beach. He relied on his intuition to pick out new clubs with softer shafts and more forgiveness. Now, he will be back on the course Thursday at The Genesis Invitational with relatively new clubs and an increased sense of confidence.
“You always tell yourself as a golfer you’re trending, but you know, ultimately, you need a result at some point to kind of validate that mindset,” Rose said. “So definitely a little bit of relief and kind of gives me that confidence now to kind of like settle into the year and to readjust the goals and keep moving forward.”
He has yet to test his talents at Riviera Country Club this year but is excited to play the course with high spirits.
“I feel like the team’s rebalanced itself, people working with me, there’s a great energy, we’re all kind of motivated, there’s some fresh blood there,” Rose said. “Yeah, we’re all hungry to get back after it.”
After the tournament, he hopes to use his renewed self-assurance to make the Ryder Cup team this year and win a major championship.
“I’m still getting opportunities to win, and I still feel like there’s tons of improvement left with what I see my journey being,” Rose said. “Yeah, to win these tournaments would be extra motivation.”