GULLANE, Scotland —
Rose acknowledged there were only so many similarities from a visual standpoint between the rain-soaked Merion course, located in suburban Philadelphia, and surprisingly dry Murfield, a seaside links course on Scotland’s eastern coastline.
“They’re polar opposite in the sense of how the ball is reacting on the ground, but they’re in the sense of strategy. At Merion, I hit a lot of irons off the tee. I played defensively, sort of conservatively, and I felt that was the best way to approach it. ... I was lucky that my game plan turned out to be exactly the right one, with 1-over par winning. That’s my challenge this week, to see the golf course the right way and set a game plan that not only keeps me out of trouble,” he added, “but is aggressive enough to make the most of the opportunities when they come around.
“So I think for me,” Rose summed up, “it’s going to be quite a cautious game plan off the tee.”
He grew up playing links courses, and nearly set the golf world on its ear by contending at the 1998 British Open as a 17-year-old amateur before slipping back to fourth place.
But Rose’s win at the U.S. Open was the first by an Englishman at the tournament since Tony Jacklin in 1970, and it became such a symbol of national pride that it was one of the first things Cameron mentioned when he sat down with U.S. President Barack Obama at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland recently.
“I see a British golfer has just won the United States Open,” Cameron needled his golf-loving fellow chief executive.