Over the next 10 days, until we get to the New Year, we will be rolling out the top-10 best golf moments of 2013. After much deliberation and debate, we picked what we thought were the 10 moments you will remember about this season a decade from now. We continue with No. 5 and Justin Rose's win at Merion. (No. 10 is right here, No. 9 is here, No. 8 is here, No. 7 is here, No. 6 is here)
You know what major championships bring each year? Storylines. We sit around thinking of every possible story that might come from Olympic Club or Pebble Beach or Augusta National and present it without really having any idea who might emerge victorious come Sunday.
In the last 10 years we've had Tiger Woods win majors as predicted, but we've always seen Tom Watson nearly win a Claret Jug at the age of 59, Darren Clarke actually win a Claret Jug out of absolutely nowhere, and Charl Schwartzel birdie the final four holes at the Masters to win as barely a blip on the radar before the Masters began.
The one theme that continued to come up at majors was a simple one; when is someone from England going to win a major?
Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose continued to tease us with the idea of a major win, but none of them could pull it out, and while the talent continued to come from that country, it was the big four events that continued to haunt these guys.
When 2013 kicked off, Rose was on a short list of guys that most thought could snag a major, molding his game into a lethal combination of precise driving (he was 27th on tour in driving accuracy in '13) and incredible iron play (ninth in greens in regulation), and we were all just waiting for the week that the putter would heat up.
It happened at Merion, where Rose simply outlasted a leaderboard that was absolutely stacked with big names, having to jump Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, Schwartzel, Steve Stricker, Donald and Billy Horschel on Sunday, with Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Jason Dufner chasing from behind.
Rose closed with a U.S. Open style final round, shooting an even-par round of 70 that was good enough to beat Day and Mickelson by two shots, but it was a lot closer until Rose hit one of the shots of the year on the 18th hole to set up a par, which basically felt like a birdie to the players considering how tough the final hole played at Merion.
Rose's win is definitely one of those moments that not only was big for one of the most liked players on tour, but big for England, and a group of pro golfers, that have long waited for another major champion to emerge.