Altvater: Justin Rose channels Stephen Curry to win Zurich ClassicWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
Justin Rose posted 14-under-par for four rounds at the Masters Tournament, a score that normally would be sufficient to win — except for Jordan Spieth’s record-tying 18-under-par. Rose was forced to settle for runner-up.
He knew, however, his game was in a good place and accepted his fate. He took a week off and headed to New Orleans this week to compete in the Zurich Classic.
Every golfer understands the importance of a strong mental attitude. Eighteen holes in a round of golf can be a series of ups and downs that will test even the most mentally focused golfer.
Earlier in the week at the Zurich Classic, Rose and his caddy attended the Golden State Warriors versus New Orleans Pelicans NBA playoff game. They both were impressed with the mental toughness of Warrior’s 3-point specialist, Stephen Curry. Even though Curry could not connect early in the game, he kept firing up bombs until finally, he found his shooting touch and drained shot after shot.
Rose learned a lesson from that NBA game that he used during his rounds at TPC Louisiana. When short putts failed to find the bottom of the cup or felt he was playing below his capability, he maintained focus.
His caddy reminded him on more than one occasion to play fearlessly, like Curry. Subsequently, he holed a long putt or chipped it tight to the hole to right the ship and get his game back on track.
The great players Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods had that intense ability to concentrate on each shot to produce the best possible outcome.
Rose posted four rounds of 69-66-65-66 to finish at 22-under-par and win the Zurich Classic by one shot. Maybe more importantly, he learned a valuable lesson.
As a former U.S. Open winner, no one questions Rose’s ability to concentrate during one of the most grueling weeks on the PGA Tour. Grinding on every shot in a lesser tournament like the Zurich Classic is normally not a priority for the top professionals.
Rose is a gifted golfer with one of the best all-around games on tour. Channeling his inner Stephen Curry and gaining mental toughness may just be the recipe for future major championship wins.