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Tuesday, 14 January, 2003, 22:06 GMT
Q & A: Justin Rose
Justin Rose
The Dunhill Championship was Rose's first Tour win
Justin Rose returns to the scene of his European Tour breakthrough when he defends the Dunhill Championship in South Africa this week.

Britain's Rose sprang to prominence when, as an amateur, he finished fourth at the Open at Royal Birkdale in 1998 before turning pro, only to miss 21 straight cuts.

But the 22-year-old won four tournaments in 2002 and finished ninth on the Order of Merit.

The Hampshire player tells BBC Sport Online of his ambitions for 2003.


How do you prepare for the new season?

Physically, I feel great as I've been doing some training during my time off.

Mentally, coming back to competitive golf after a break is a bit tough, but I try to stay focussed and get back into it as quickly as possible.


After a successful 2002, do you feel you've arrived as a player now?

Justin Rose won the dunhill Championship in 2002
Rose tastes success

I certainly feel I had a great year in 2002, winning four times.

But there is always room for improvement.

I still have so many goals, such as playing in a winning European Ryder Cup team and winning a Major.


What goals have you set yourself for this year?

My next goal is to win a Major.


How much is your late father still an influence on your career?

My father will always have a huge influence on my life.

Every day I use something that he taught me in golf. The family always remember nice stories about him and I am still learning from his positive qualities.


How much have your early experiences as a pro forged the player you are today?

Turning pro so young was a big learning experience for me.

It made me quickly realise what life can be like on Tour and it has paid off.

The missed cuts made me stronger and certainly have played a part in me becoming the player I am today.


How much are you looking forward to your first Masters at Augusta?

I am really looking forward to experiencing the Masters, playing with the top guys and giving it my best shot.

Justin Rose chips in at the 18th at Royal Birkdale in 1998
Rose was fourth in the 1998 Open

They have made a few changes to the course in the last couple of years so I feel I have a slight advantage over some of the guys.

I have never played there before so I won't notice the changes like they will.

I grew up watching the Masters on television and to be able to go and play there myself is an honour.


Which other players do you think will stand out this year and who could be the year's surprise packages?

Australia's Aaron Baddeley. Also, Bradley Dredge of Wales really impressed me last year and I think he could be the surprise package in 2003.


How close are you to being the man that dethrones Tiger?

That would be great but at the moment, Tiger is pretty far ahead of the rest of us. It is great that there is someone like him to chase.


If it was a choice of winning a Major this year or finishing the season as European number one, which would you take?

If I had to chose, I would prefer to win a Major though obviously either would be a great achievement.

This week's golf from around the world

Mercedes Ch'ships

South African Open

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