ANOTHER solid performance from Justin Rose last week makes me think he could be ready to mount a challenge at the fifth Major, The Players Championship, which tees off on Thursday.
The Players at Sawgrass is notorious for its last two holes, particularly the 17th, but taken in its entirety is not overly long or that difficult.
What it does have is thick rough, meaning that it rewards good, accurate driving, and, along with Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia, they do not come much better at that than Rose.
The Englishman, like Rory McIlroy and a few other high-profile Europeans in the Ryder Cup reckoning, is showing further glimpses of form as the season progresses. Fifth place at the Wells Fargo Championship on Sunday made it back-to-back top 10 finishes for Rose.
The US Open champion faces a very strong field, though, despite the absence of injured world No1 Tiger Woods, including former winners Garcia, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar and Henrik Stenson.
Also taking part will be JB Holmes after his victory at the Wells Fargo earned him a late place and completed a remarkable comeback from injury and illness.
The American was only competing at Quail Hollow on a medical exemption following two rounds of brain surgery, a broken ankle and chronic elbow problems.
But big-hitting Holmes, 32, held on despite a late wobble to claim his first PGA Tour title since 2008, and given what he’s been through that goes down as a fantastic win.
Finally, well done to Chilean Felipe Aguilar, who played the back nine in 28 – including a brilliant 2-2 finish – to crown an incredible final round of 62 and pinch the Championship at Laguna National title in Singapore by one shot at the weekend.
Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam