Rose is confident of ‘level playing field’
England’s Justin Rose insists he has grown used to the circus which comes with playing alongside Tiger Woods and believes a home crowd will be a great leveller at Royal Lytham this week.
For the fourth time at The Open the 31-year-old has been drawn with the three-time champion, with Spain’s Sergio Garcia making up the group for the opening two days.
But while earlier in his career Rose may have been put off by the bigger galleries and associated distractions, he has now learned to take it all in his stride.
“Tiger has been on tour a long time now and a lot of guys have had a chance to play with him regularly,” he said. “No doubt there was a time when it was not necessarily a great draw but it has settled down a little bit and you get used to it.
“For me the Open Championship is more of a level playing field than playing with him in the States from how the crowd feel.”
The first time Woods and Rose were paired ten years ago produced scenes rarely witnessed before at the championship.
Woods had just won The Masters and US Open and was seeking the third leg of an unprecedented Grand Slam of all four majors, and virtually every camera at Muirfield was trained on him as he started.
Rose, fourth as a 17-year-old amateur in 1998, had just won his first two European Tour titles and he out-scored the American 68-70 in the first round but neither challenged as Rose came 22nd, with Woods 28th after horrendous weather on the Saturday when he shot 81.
They were also paired together in 2007, at Carnoustie, and St Andrews two years ago, and will tee off at 9.42am on Thursday and then 2.43pm on Friday.
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