England's Justin Rose reacts after making his birdie putt on the 18th green during his final round on day 4 of The 147th Open golf Championship at Carnoustie, Scotland on July 22, 2018
St. Louis (AFP) - World number three Justin Rose sees limited preparation due to back issues as a possible blessing in disguise ahead of Thursday’s start of the 100th PGA Championship.
The 38-year-old Englishman withdrew from last week’s WGC Bridgestone Invitational due to back spasms and has only walked the Bellerive Country Club layout and hit off the driving range.
“Lack of preparation, I almost see it as a positive,” Rose said Wednesday. “You look up in the locker room, the physios are working overtime up there right now.
“There’s just a lot of boys struggling. More guys wearing tape this time of year than any other time of year. So it’s a tough time of year for everybody.
“Going home and getting some, not just physical rest but mental rest, could be such a benefit for me if I get into contention this week. It could be a positive the way things have panned out.”
Rose, whose history of back issues includes a three-month layoff in 2016, said his withdrawal last week was less of an injury and more of a precaution knowing the year’s last major event was a week away.
“It’s just one of those things. I just had a facet joint tighten up, just got a bit grumbly,” Rose said.
“I could have maybe persevered last week if it was the last event of the season or something like that, but just with what’s coming up this week it just wasn’t the prudent decision to play through.”
The 2013 US Open champion likes what he sees of the 7,316-yard, par-70 layout.
“I haven’t actually played a practice round in terms of going out there with my golf clubs. I have walked each nine and got some good visuals,” Rose said.
“I hit some balls today and felt absolutely fine and really comfortable with my swing and the way it’s moving. It’s all been about trying to be ready for Thursday.”
“I think this golf course, the way it’s set up and the way it’s playing, if there was ever a major championship to be able to play it semi blind, I think this is the course to do it on.”
Rose would overtake Dustin Johnson for the world number one ranking with a victory and the American finishing in a three-way share of seventh or worse.
It has been 99 years since the PGA Championship was won by an Englishman, Jim Barnes. Rose hopes that’s a good omen since 99 is the number he uses to mark his golf balls and part of his Twitter handle.
“My wife’s lucky number was always nine. She was born on the ninth of March. When we got married, I figured double the luck, 99,” Rose said.
“I always liked double numbers anyway. I thought it was a cool number to have on my golf ball, and it became part of my Twitter handle and all that stuff.”