Justin Rose has reaffirmed his commitment to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics despite the prospect of another hectic summer schedule which he believes contributed to a so far “disappointing” 2019 campaign.
Golf’s four major championships are now condensed into a four-month block between April and July after a controversial redrawing of the calendar, with next year’s Olympics and Ryder Cup likely to pose further dilemmas for the world’s best players.
Rose can make history at this week’s Turkish Airlines Open by becoming the first player since 2000 to win a European Tour title three years in succession but is without a victory since January.
“I think that I've sort of struggled with a little bit of the rhythm of the schedule,” said Rose who took February off to stay fresh for the majors, a decision he now believes halted his momentum.
“I felt like this year, from a roulette point of view, for example, I was trying to play very specific numbers. Next year, I might just cover the board a little more and hopefully hit,” he added on plans to adapt his preparation.
Rose became golf’s first Olympic champion since 1904 in Rio three years ago and has spoken effusively about the experience which many elite golfers seemed to view with indifference.
The opening ceremony in Tokyo will take place just three days after the final round of the Open Championship in Sandwich, Kent, but Rose is not considering passing it over.
Asked about what he gained from the last opening ceremony, Rose said: “Inspiration I think, and representing your country. Those are some of the reasons why my performance in Rio happened was because I got inspired and got a feel for what it was all about. If i just tried to make it just another golf tournament who knows what would have happened.”
Rose defends his Turkish Airlines Open title at a different venue to his two previous wins, with the tournament returning to Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Belek.
Rose finished third when he last played in Belek in 2013, and is hoping the positive vibes he feels in this part of the world can continue.
“There’s definitely something in the water here – the weather and the style of golf is really nice here too. You can liken it to Sotogrande or Valderrama. Tree-lined, really fun golf.” he said.
The Turkish Airlines Open is the opening stage of the European Tour’s Final Series – three season-ending events that will decide who wins the Race to Dubai.
European golf is revelling in some much-needed time in the spotlight thanks to the PGA Tour’s decision to finish their Fedex Cup in August so as not to clash with the start of the NFL season.
Leading contenders Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick have elected not to play this week, so Race leader Bernd Wiesberger and third-ranked Shane Lowry have a chance to take control of their own destiny with a strong showing in Turkey.
Open champion Lowry said finishing the season as European No 1 would be “the icing on the cake”, and he begins his challenge alongside Rose and Wiesberger in the headline group on Thursday.
The top 60 in the rankings will progress to next week’s Nedbank Challenge in Sun City, South Africa before being whittled down to 50 for the DP Tour Championship in Dubai where a £6.5 million prize fund is at stake.