OPEN hopeful Justin Rose is looking to Sir Nick Faldo for inspiration as he attempts to emulate the last Englishman to win the Open this week at St Andrews.
The 2013 US Open winner is due to play the first two rounds alongside three-time Open champion Faldo, 57, who is contesting golf’s oldest Major for the last time.
A group that also contains in-form American Rickie Fowler, 26, is expected to generate clamour, but Rose plans to cope by adopting the poise of his unflappable elder playing partner.
“I think it’s quite easy if you think about yourself as a contender,” he said. “Nick in his heyday was very focused and he won’t be expecting me or Rickie to be anything but that for ourselves.
“Six major championships – he has been far and away the most successful [English] player. I’m really looking forward to having the opportunity to play with him.”
World No8 Rose is the highest-ranked Englishman in the field but in 12 subsequent visits is still to improve on the finish he mustered in 1998, when he tied for fourth as a 17-year-old amateur. Now 34, he admits finally lifting the Claret Jug would represent the fulfilment of a childhood dream.
“Growing up, this is the one tournament that I dreamed of winning,” he added. “I used to pose my follow-through in the garden in the reflection of the window and pretend it was the front cover of a magazine.
“In the quiet moments where you’d spend hour after hour on the putting green at your home club I’d say ‘This one for the Open’, ‘This one to win the Ryder Cup’.”