ARDMORE, Pa. —
Poulter was runner-up in the British Open at Royal Birkdale in 2008, though his best play was when he wore Europe’s colors in the Ryder Cup.
And then there was Rose.
His 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.
“Tony Jacklin was a pioneer,” Rose said, referring to the two-time major champion. “Golf has become a lot more global. There are more international players over here, so to see us players come through and win championships ... Jacklin did it maybe when it was out of the norm. And we certainly grew up dreaming about emulating him.”
England, a proud golfing nation, was in danger of being morphed into a much broader group. It was part of Europe, which got three majors from Padraig Harrington of Ireland and one from Martin Kaymer of Germany. The Union Jack has been carried in recent years by Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke. The last British player to win a major was Paul Lawrie at Carnoustie in the 1999 British Open.
England has its own niche in history, and the timing of Rose’s win was symbolic.
This is the 100-year anniversary of Francis Ouimet putting American golf on the front of the sports pages when he took down English heavyweights Harry Vardon and Ted Ray at The Country Club. Vardon won seven majors, same as Sam Snead and Arnold Palmer. Also part of that great triumvirate was J.H. Taylor, whose five majors includes one footnote — the only man in major championship history to have the lowest score in all four rounds.