Houston - Twelve months after losing a playoff at the
Masters and Justin Rose will return to Augusta National treating the Georgia
course as "a new piece of work."
Since the bittersweet moment his good friend Sergio Garcia
birdied the first extra hole to win the green jacket, Rose has endeared himself
to the sport in the manner the 37-year-old Englishman has conducted himself in
losing what would have been a second major triumph.
Rose accepted the defeat with dignity and decorum and often
in the intervening 51 weeks has sung the praise of Garcia.
And Rose, who tees off on Thursday at the PGA Houston Open,
says he will return next week to Augusta National knowing the golf course holds
no fears, no favours and no regrets.
"My outlook is I would like just to win a Masters in my
career, whether it's next year, whether it happens five years down the
road," Rose said.
"I would like to win more majors than one given the
true choice, but just to win Augusta once would be amazing. I feel like I know
the golf course. I've played well. I know my chances are going to come again,
so I'm not putting too much emphasis.
"My other thought is there's really not one blade of
grass that is there that was there last year. So pretty much for me it's a
fresh body of work and that's kind of how I'm going into it."
Fifth-ranked Rose, who sat out last week's WGC Match-Play
after finishing third at Bay Hill, arrived into Houston in much the same form
as a year ago.
He has had four top-10s since the start of 2018, exactly the
same number as in the same period a year ago.
But when asked to compare his game to a year ago Rose said:
"It's a lot better."
"I was trending nicely, had a nice west coast last
year, felt good going into Augusta, felt like I was going through the gears
slowly this time last year and obviously began to peak at Augusta, which was
lovely," Rose said.
"But I'm coming into the tournament generally more
confident, I think playing better, definitely putting the ball better than I
was last year. But we'll see what that means. It doesn't mean much right
And to further prepare himself for his 13th Masters start,
Rose has some "fresh faces" in his bag via a number of new wedges.
"The wedges are just pretty much fresh faces as I've
had one wedge for all of this season so far," he said.
"Basically, I'm after as much spin as you can get on
the ball chipping more than the full shots, but chipping I think that really
helps when the greens get quick.
"This week will be a great place to test them out
because the way they mow the fairways the same as Augusta. They mow the grain
into you so you'll get good feedback on the bounce or what have you so this is
a great place to introduce some fresh wedges."