From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Rocky Rose claims nail-biter at AT&T National

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There seem to be two types of player mentalities in today’s game — the Phil Mickelson mentality, and the Tiger Woods mentality. The “Woods” is obviously the type that’s known for closing out big tournaments and stepping on the oppositions’ throat at the right moment. The “Mickelson,” on the other hand, is known for the dramatic. This type of player is known for leaving the door ajar for the rest of the pack, only to stave off the rest of the field and win by a stroke on the 18th hole. He’ also known for melting under pressure and branding himself an “idiot” after blowing said lead.

After Sunday’s final round at the AT&T National, it’s safe to say Justin Rose falls into the latter mentality. While his even-par 70 gave him his second tour victory this season — both wins coming in a one month stretch — and moved him into second place on the FedEx Cup points list, it’s obvious to see that Rose’s game with the lead is questionable at best.

After eagling the ninth to extend his lead to five shots, Rose proceeded to give both shots back to the field with bogeys on the 10th and 11th. For a split second it looked like the Justin Rose we saw one Sunday at the Travelers Championship was making an appearance for the second straight Sunday.

But then Rose found his footing, stringing together seven consecutive pars to beat Ryan Moore by one shot. Like Mickelson, Rose appears to enjoy coming from behind more than he does sleeping on a lead going into the final round.

His first win of the season, at the Memorial, came to fruition only after Rose watched third-round leader Rickie Fowler stumble on the back nine. It was Rose’s final round 66 that allowed him to secure his first victory on the PGA Tour.

The Travelers Championship seemed like another cakewalk for Rose; that was until he found himself in the same position as Fowler at the Memorial, crumbling under pressure and handing the title to Bubba Watson.

While Rose had a little of his Memorial win and Travelers collapse sprinkled into Sunday final round, he managed to calm his nerves and do exactly what his golf psychologist, Gio Valiante, told him to do: stay within the moment and play at a calm, even pace.

You could almost see Rose slow things down after his bogey on the 11th hole. While his second shot on the 9th was the shot of the day — that happened to be CBS’s pick — it may have been his ability to breath and compose himself on the tee at the 12th that allowed him to win his second event of the year.

Sure, Justin Rose is still learning how to close out golf tournaments, but maybe, just maybe, that bogey on the 11th was exactly what he needed. Who knows, maybe Rose found the key to winning golf tournaments in the future.

Only time will tell. But if there’s one things that certain, it’s that Rose will make golf tournaments must-see tv when he’s in contention. Like Mickelson, he has a flare for the dramatic. And give the tour’s need for tight finishes to grab a viewing audience, Rose’s game could be exactly what Tim Finchem is looking for.

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Written by Jonathan Wall

07/04/2010 at 7:49 pm

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