CARMEL, Indiana -- Justin Rose still can't believe his name appearson the same winners' list as Walter Hagen, Ben Hogan, JackNicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead and Tiger Woods. So imagine the thoughts racing through Rose's mind as he tries tobecome the ninth golfer to win consecutive BMW Championship/WesternOpen titles. Each of the eight previous back-to-back winners won atleast three majors and is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.Four of the eight are ranked among the PGA Tour's top-10 all-timewinners, and now Rose has a chance to join them, too. It's overwhelming to think that you grew up watching the WesternOpen and that you're a part of that tournament and that heritage, Rose told The Associated Press. |
When I won last year, they gaveme two trophies, and you know, it's not often that you win atournament and you get two trophies. For Rose, this year's tournament will be a whole new experience. It is temporarily leaving the familiar setting of suburban Chicago,where Rose won last year, for the PGA Tour's first stop inIndianapolis in more than two decades. Ticket sales for the Sept.6-9 event have been brisker than organizers anticipated. Few of today's players, including Rose, have played in Indiana asprofessionals.
Sunday night's short flight from the Memorial tournament in Dublin,Ohio, to Indiana marked the first time Rose had even been to theCircle City. About 15 hours later, the South African-born golfer got his firstglimpse of Crooked Stick when he, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels andCarmel Mayor Jim Brainard hit ceremonial tee shots in mistyconditions. These Brits hit all their best shots in lousy weather, Danielssaid.
So it was perfect today for Justin. Oddly, Rose, who has homes in London and Orlando, Florida, alreadyfeels like he knows this course. He remembers every vivid detail from Crooked Stick's last PGAevent. From the tale of John Daly's late-night arrival at the 1991PGA Championship to the to the roaring crowds that followed theninth alternate all weekend to Daly's fist-pumping stroll down the18th fairway, Rose recites the details like he was there in person.
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