Old Course has 'amazing way of defending itself' says Justin Rose of 59 talk in Open

Don’t underestimate the ‘Old Lady’. That was the message from Justin Rose in reaction to talk about a 59 being on the cards in the 150th Open.

Justin Rose pictured at the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.
Justin Rose pictured at the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.

The Englishman, who paid an early visit to St Andrews to make sure he was “inspired” for the milestone occasion, reckons the Old Course won’t necessarily be brought to its knees by the likes of Bryson DeChambeau.

“I think so,” replied Rose, the 2013 US Open champion to being asked if he thought a sub-60 score would be sacrilege at the home of golf. “But I actually think, though, that it has an amazing way of defending itself.

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“Just playing there in practice rounds, it makes you aware that angles are so important and the weather as well. It is very hard to get the ball three feet from the hole there, it really is.

Justin Rose hits some shots off the road at the 17th on the Old Course during a visit a fortnight ago in the build up to the 150th Open. Picture: St Andrews

“On a lovely day, you can play it feeling you are not going to make too many bogeys but to get the ball in the hole is not that easy at St Andrews.

“The greens are subtle enough that making putts isn’t that easy, either, so it has its defences. I think it’s the firmness that’s going to save it.

“If they do put pins near the bunker edges where there is a little bit of tilt, 15-20 feet is going to be a good shot a lot of the time.”

Rose burst onto the scene at just 17 when he tied for fourth in the 1998 Open at Birkdale. As well as winning a major, he is an Olympic gold medallist and multiple Ryder Cup player.

Is The Open missing link in his career? “For sure,” he said. “I think it would be a nice kind of rounding off. I sort of came to people’s attention in The Open and it would be a full circle from that point of view.

“From that brilliant childhood performance at Birkdale to a 42-year-old with lots of grey hairs winning it would be a nice bookend kind of moment.

“I still feel I have a little more in the tank and that’s what I am fighting for at the moment, trying to get my game relevant enough where I can still contend in the majors.

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“My level was not where it needed to be a few years ago and there have been a lot of reasons for that, but I think I still can be and that’s what gives me hope. For me to win this week, a lot of things have to go right, but I still think it is possible.”

Rose joked that his week playing in the wind at the Scottish Open had left him with a “sair heid”. But he’s arrived in St Andrews feeling good about his preparation, having been one of the first players to pay a visit after the Old Course was closed to the public last month.

“Yeah, I got a lot out of it,” he said. "It’s a golf course we all know well, but things change so much in different winds.

“It’s just getting your windows back in and that meant it was a valuable couple of days, as was going through all the placements we’ve had in the past and also trying to imagine where new ones might be.”

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