Golf | Commentary: Rose finally delivers major championship for England

By Associated Press  • 
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Charlie Riedel | Associated Press
Justin Rose’s win at Merion made him the first Englishman since Tony Jacklin in 1970 at Hazeltine to win America’s national championship.

ARDMORE, Pa. — The most recent golden era of golf in England had everything but the one prize that brings credibility.

A major championship.

Lee Westwood and Luke Donald reached No. 1 in the world. Ian Poulter turned into a rock star in the Ryder Cup. There was a strong supporting cast that included Paul Casey. Always lurking, and finally delivering, was Justin Rose.

The only player at Merion Golf Club who never had worse than a 71 over four demanding days, Rose passed his biggest test on Sunday when he split the middle of the 18th fairway with his tee shot and hit a 4-iron that set him up for a par on the toughest hole to win the U.S. Open.

The question no longer is why the English can’t win a major. It’s who might be next.

“I really hope it does inspire them,” Rose said after his two-shot win over Phil Mickelson and Jason Day. “I think it was always going to be a matter of time before one of us broke through. It was just going to be who. And I always hoped it was going to be me to be the first, obviously. But I really hoped that it has broken the spell, and guys can continue to match up some for themselves.”< /p>

Rose’s win at Merion made him the first Englishman since Tony Jacklin in 1970 at Hazeltine to win America’s national championship. And he became the first from England to win any major in 17 years, dating to Nick Faldo’s six-shot rally to beat Greg Norman in the 1996 Masters for his third green jacket.

Now, the Cross of St. George can fly proudly.

That the lot fell to Rose should not have been a surprise.

A year ago, he led the PGA Tour in greens hit in regulation. Going into the U.S. Open, he was tops in total driving, which combines the ranking of driving distance and driving accuracy. At some point, it began to dawn on the 32-year-old Rose that this major might be the one he was most likely to win.

“I felt like this tournament really began to be on my radar as possibly the one major championship that would suit me the most,” Rose said.

Rose should have had a notion he could handle the big stage. It was just under nine months ago when he was headed to a crucial loss — against Mickelson — in the Ryder Cup at Medinah last year. Rose holed a 12-foot par putt on the 16th, a 35-foot birdie putt on the 17th and a 12-foot birdie putt on the last hole for a 1-up victory, the key to Europe’s remarkable rally.

That was a team win for Europe. This was for England.

“It’s been too long, really,” Donald said. “I think we’ve had a lot of talent come out of England, and hopefully we’ve broken our bad period. This will be a great win for Justin, and for England.”

Rose to play this week in Travelers

Rose has no plans to take any time off after winning his first major championship.Nathan Grube, the tournament director at the Travelers Championship, said Rose’s wife, Kate, called shortly after he won his first major title, to confirm they would be in Cromwell, Conn., for this week’s tournament.

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