Justin Rose seeking to successfully defend title for first time
Former US Open champion has impressive record in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Justin Rose has not been outside the top 15 on his last four outings at TPC Louisiana. Photograph: Kevin C Cox/Getty Images
The former US Open champion, who has not played since finishing tied for 10th in the Masters, has not been outside the top 15 on his last four outings at TPC Louisiana.
Since missing the cut in 2011, the 35-year-old Ryder Cup star has finished 10th, 15th, eighth and first and is a total of 60 under par, with his last 16 rounds all at par or better.
“Defending is difficult,” Rose said. “I think obviously winning is difficult, so therefore defending is difficult just as a by-product of that.
“You almost have more chance of defending than you do winning because you’re coming in on good memories, you’re coming in on a course that you feel comfortable on.
New body of work
“But also you’ve got to realise that the course doesn’t realise that you’re defending champion. You need to go out there and build a whole new body of work around this week, so that’s my goal,” he said.
Rose’s two-week break after the Masters will be his last for the foreseeable future due to a hectic summer schedule caused by golf’s return to the Olympic Games for the first time since 1904.
“The opportunity to play in the Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we’re going down there and we’re taking a full week down at the opening ceremonies just to feel what it’s like to be a member of Team GB and just take it all in.
“If I was to win, I think that would just be one of my career highlights. There’s obviously the ultimate question people want to ask: is it more important to win a Major or the Olympics, and that’s a real tough question. They both stand out in their own right.
“But I think anyone who wins the Olympics, it’s always going to be that kind of special thing that they were able to achieve in their career. So yes, I’m excited about it.
“Depending on who wins it, it could really grow the game. If someone from a developing nation or developing golf nation won it, I think that would be huge for golf.”
World number one Jason Day is also in the field as he looks to bounce back from a third round of 79 when tied for the lead in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head in his last event.
“After the five weeks that I had on the road, by the Heritage week I was a little tired,” Day explained. “On top of it, there were certain things that had kind of crept into my game, bad habits that, when you’re playing a lot, you don’t have time to work them out.
“Last week was a good week for me to get onto the range and chipping green, putting green, and really try and work some of those kinks out.”
European Tour: Greystones’s Paul Dunne failed to make the field for this week’s China Open by securing a top-10 finish in Shenzen last week – he slipped from ninth to 31st after a final-round 76. Irish golf will be represented by Michael Hoey and 2008 champion Damien McGrane, who is making his first appearance on tour since last October’s Portugal Masters.