Rustenburg - Justin Rose won his first professional tournament in South
Africa when he won the Nashua Masters in 2002, and after his US Open
Championship victory in June this year, he is happy to be back on South African
The world number five is at the Gary Player Country Club for
the revamped 30-man field of 2013 Nedbank Golf Challenge, and he will find a
lot of local support for him out on the fairways when the tournament gets
underway on Thursday.
“South Africa’s very close to my heart, not only because I
was born here, but also because I have a lot of family here,” said Rose who was
born in Johannesburg.
“My brother lives in Jo’burg and my mom lives down in
And while he may have the crowd-pulling power of the likes
of Ernie Els to deal with, as well as the presence of the likes of fellow major
champions Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen, he is relishing the chance to
tee it up for the local fans.
“To play in front of South African crowd who love
their sport is always good fun,” he said.
Rose, who is making his fifth appearance of the Nedbank Golf
Challenge – his best result came in 2007 when he finished second behind Trevor
Immelman – has been off for a couple of weeks, and not entirely sure how it
will all come together at Sun City.
“I’ve had two weeks off back home and haven’t been able to
practice, so I’m knocking off a bit of rust,” he said.
“We’ll see how this week
goes and I’m just going to take it slow and steady, trying to play my way into
a bit of form this week.
"But my game is never far away and I’ve been playing
consistently for the whole year.
"I expect to put myself in the mix to some