The forgotten man re-entered centre stage, as Justin Rose made the weather-hampered AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Championship his own: in completing his fourth round with a brilliantly crafted 66 for a total of 18-under-par 269 for a three-stroke winning margin, the 42-year-old Englishman ended a four-year winning drought on the PGA Tour.
This was like the Rose of old, as the 2013 US Open champion – set to move from 71st up to 35th in the world rankings – completed the remaining nine holes of his final round on the famous links course to a backdrop of a wild ocean spray battering the shoreline.
Rose, who had led by two overnight, birdied the 11th (from 30 feet), 13th (from 20 feet) and a 10-footer on the 14th hole in an error-free victory march; his composure demonstrated especially by his play of the par 5 18th hole, where he opted to hit an iron off the tee. The wisdom of that gameplan was exemplified by how his playing partners brought trouble into play, Peter Malnati’s drive finishing on a pebble terrace and Kurt Kitayama pulling a fairway wood second shot straight into the Pacific.
There would be no waywardness from Rose, who was in total control of his own destiny in winning for the 11th time on the PGA Tour and for the first time since Farmers Insurance Open in 2019. In a year, still early, that has been dominated by his fellow Europeans Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy, Rose’s win added yet further evidence that Luke Donald’s hand at the Ryder Cup in Rome later this year is gathering strength.
Rose had made an impromptu decision in the run-up to the tournament to change elements of his equipment. “I made a change out of the blue,” he admitted of putting new irons with new shafts into his bag.
Yet, somewhere inside him, he’d also suspected that this kind of form was near. “If I had to think about one thing it was just knowing I’m trending, just sometimes when you’re trending you kind of try a little too hard. I think the format this week, playing with amateurs, kind of just mellowed me out to the point where I let it happen. I let my good golf come forward. It’s obviously a learning lesson in that. One thing I have realised is obviously I haven’t been playing enough great golf, but when I do play half decent I do give myself chances to win,” said Rose.
He added: “Obviously a win does give you a lot of belief. We always know we can do it, but sometimes you got to see the proof. That does make me feel good.”
Rose ultimately finished three strokes clear of joint runners-up Brendon Todd and Brendon Wu.
Séamus Power, who had been in contention at the midway stage of the weather-affected tournament which was extended to a Monday finish, fired a final round 69 for a nine-under-par total of 278 to finish in tied-15th. Power, who will seek to bring that momentum on with him to the WM Phoenix Open starting on Thursday, moved from fifth to fourth in the FedEx Cup standings.
Meanwhile, Pádraig Harrington – who has finished 4th-MC-T25th in his three tournament run on the DP World Tour – is set to switch his attention back stateside in the coming weeks, mixing between the Champions Tour and the PGA Tour.
However, the 51-year-old three-time Major champion doesn’t have making Europe’s Ryder Cup team in Rome later this year as one of his principal targets: “I think that ship has sailed,” said Harrington, adding: “I would basically have to go out and win a Major or something like that. I won’t be scraping my way in. If I make the team, it would be obvious. You don’t make it by playing on the Champions Tour but if I did something obvious, like I played well on the PGA Tour, won some events, something like that ... if it’s your priority to play Ryder Cup, then you’d have played Wentworth last year, you’d have played Italy.”
Harrington is set to play in the Chubb Classic on the Champions Tour next week before playing back-to-back weeks on the PGA in the Honda Classic and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.