Players Championship: Rose has the right approach for Sawgrass test

Justin Rose
Justin Rose is full of confidence and enjoying his game
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There hasn't been a British winner of the Fifth Major since Sandy Lyle in 1987 but Ralph Ellis is backing Justin Rose to end that 31-year wait...

"Rose has the confidence from five top ten finishes and two in the top 20 from his last nine events. That must make him value to back either at [4.4] a top ten finish or still odds against at [2.48] for the top 20."

Commitment. When you've backed a sports star for a tournament, or a team to win a match, that's all you want from them.

There's nothing worse than having had a big bet and then whoever is carrying your money looks like they either couldn't care or can't handle the pressure. It's happened to us all at one time or another, though - I still have nightmares about laying Iceland because they couldn't possibly beat England at Euro 2016.

After a while, though, you begin to learn the players you can trust to give their all, even if they aren't having their greatest day, and over the last couple of years Justin Rose has become a fixture on my list of them.

I've followed him closely ever since backing him for his Olympic medal at Rio in 2016 when my bet at [14.0] for him to win the Gold Medal was based on the level of his preparation.

I thought of it a couple of weeks ago when, on just the third hole of the first day in the Zurich Classic in Louisiana, he stripped off to his underpants and waded into alligator infested waters to play a shot.

A winning mentality

His partner Henrik Stenson was in trouble, he'd gone into the water with his own drive, but rather than give up the hole in the fourball tournament he did everything he could to rescue it.

As it happened all it gave his side was a bogey and they lost the hole, but that's not the point. It proved how Rose, three years from his 40th birthday, is playing the game still because he loves it and he wants to win.

When it comes to the big tournaments he tends to hit his peak, too, as in his recent form tied 12th at The Masters and third in the Arnold Palmer Invitational tends to suggest.

And that's why I'll be trusting him at [36.0] to carry my money around TPC Sawgrass this weekend in the Players Championship.

Five recent top ten finishes

It's not just on sentiment, mind. Rose, number five in the world, ticks a lot of the boxes when you read Steven Rawlings detailed preview, especially where he flags up that stats for scrambling will be important.

Rose is number one on the PGA Tour for scrambling from the fringe, as well as ninth in putting and 22nd for Greens in Regulation. All of that points in the right direction even before you factor in his mental attitude.

Sawgrass is renowned as a test of temperament, a place where course management and patience are virtues and Rose is perfect for that. As he's grown older he's grown calmer, and few are better at thinking their way around a golf course.

He also has the confidence from five top ten finishes and two in the top 20 from his last nine events. That must make him value to back either at [4.4] a top ten finish or still odds against at [2.48] for the top 20.

At the very worst you know what you'll get from Rose, and that's a run for your money and maximum effort. It's the least you should ever expect.

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