Justin Rose: charting the rise of the new World No.1

Justin Rose becomes World No.1 for the first time in his career, and the fourth Englishman to achieve the feat. 

Sam Mellor's picture
Tue, 11 Sep 2018
Justin Rose: charting the rise of the new World No.1

From 21 missed cuts to World No.1... 

It only seems like yesterday that a fresh-faced 17-year-old was bursting - sorry blooming - on the scene by holing his third shot to the final green of the 1998 Open at Royal Birkdale. The shot still gives us goosebumps today.

Fast forward 20 years with a US Open, Olympic gold medal and nine PGA Tour titles to his name, England's Justin Rose has reached the promised land and fulfilled a childhood dream by becoming golf's new World No.1...


It's boyhood dream stuff, something I am incredibly proud of. It's been a good stretch of golf. I've played solidly over the past year. I'm delighted to get to the top.


Those in the know always knew the South African-born Englishman was destined for great things, even when he was failing to take home a pay cheque for 21 consecutive tournaments since turning pro straight after the 1998 Open. 

Rose found himself in the darkest of places on the European Tour, but knew there was light at the end of the tunnel. That came when making his first professional cut a year later at the 1999 Compaq European Open at Slaley Hall.

As tournaments came and performances improved, Rose gained in confidence by the month and landed his maiden European Tour title at the 2002 Dunhill Championship before going on to take the British Masters later that summer. 

Rose then faced a life-changing setback when losing his father Ken to cancer, aged 57. Ken was Justin's first ever golf coach and acted as his mentor. 

It was a huge loss for Rose, but now an inspiration for him to achieve as much as he possibly can in the game today. 

To Rose's credit, he bounced back quickly and excelled on the major stage with a fifth at the US Open in 2003 and 22nd at The Masters in 2004. 

Rose then added to his tally of European Tour titles in 2006 and 2007, and even notched four top-12 finishes in each of the majors in 2007.

The TaylorMade staffer battled a small dip in form for a couple of years, but then broke his duck on the PGA Tour at Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament in 2010, shortly before winning the AT&T National a month later.

Rose was quickly become a serial winner by 2012 and he landed his greatest victory to date at the 2013 US Open, when holding off Jason Day and Phil Mickelson at Merion. 

And who could forget Rose's memorable Olympic Golf victory when holding off Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar to land the gold medal in Rio. 

Rose is now considered one of the best ball strikers in the world, but that did not happen without hard work and dedication to his golf game, regularly obssessing over his shot data with swing coach Sean Foley - former coach to Tiger Woods. 

Foley is typically seen using TrackMan with Rose during practice sessions as they look to hone his skills and keep on top of his statistical trends throughout the season. Foley’s philosophy, rooted in analytics, is at odds with conventional wisdom. 

While proven off the tee, on the fairway and around the greens, Rose's putting has typically proven his major sticking point.

However, a recent switch to a claw grip has seemingly steadied the ship on the greens - Rose was ranked 127th in strokes gained-putting in 2017 and he now sits at 11th. 

As a result of a steadier hand on the greens, Rose has picked up 10 top-10 finishes in 2018, including four victories around the world since the WGC-HSBC Champions at the end of 2017. 

Despite agonisingly losing out to Keegan Bradley at the BMW Championship on Monday, Rose's consolation prize was a trip to summit of world golf. 

It may prove a brief stay given the bunched nature of the Official World Golf Rankings with Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas tucked closely in behind, but Rose will not care one bit. He's done it, and he joins Sir Nick Faldo, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald as the fourth Englishman to do so. 

It may have been somewhat of a worn out phrase over the past two decades, but Justin Rose has now well and truly bloomed. Congratulations Rosey!