Justin Rose became the first English major champion since Nick Faldo when he won the US Open – and what a very English winner he is.
Okay, he was born in Johannesburg, but everything else about the 32-year-old smacks of England.
Golfers very often tend to be cool customers, carrying themselves with a slow swagger. The whole grace of movement goes with the territory of the game, smooth swing and all that.
But not Rose. His upright gait and awkward crowd acknowledgement look forced despite well over a decade on tour.
He has been playing on the PGA Tour for a while and the language has got to him a touch, but again he doesn’t often carry it off in interviews. He sounds like an Englishman speaking American. And well done to him for that!
There’s nothing awkward about his swing by the way. He’s no Ernie Els but the technique is probably the best out there, demonstrated amply by his two impeccable long shots down the 18th.
Another point to not about his performance at 17 and 18 is that he focused his way through the nerves. People sometimes accuse players of bottling key moments and ascribe the failure to nerves. I often think the failure is a lack of concentration allowing nerves to influence. True, pure concentration, what is often described as being “in the zone”, can dispense with negative nerve influence. That to me is the state Rose was in on those two closing holes.
But back to the English-ness of Rose, his reaction in the dressing room after Phil Mickelson’s chip missed was a very honest picture of the guy. Elated to have achieved a life’s goal, but also a touch of I don’t know where to put myself and general awkwardness. Again, excellent.
I don’t know if he had time to think about his acceptance speech but I don’t think I’ve ever heard a wiser one.
If he came up with this off the cuff then fair play to him – a career in politics beckons: ”A lot of us come from great men and we have a responsibility to our children to show what a great man can be.”