Justin Rose returns to Muirfield Village Golf Club as the defending champion of the Memorial Tournament, and looks to build on his well-rounded performance from last year’s tournament.
Rose, a native of England, won his first PGA Tour event last year at the Memorial at age 29. Rose’s final-round, 6-under-par 66 proved to be enough to mount a comeback against rookie Rickie Fowler.
“Obviously, it’s really nice to come back to a tournament that I have had great memories from last year,” Rose said. “(The Memorial has) always been one of my favorite stops.”
Rose’s success last year started at the tee. He hit 82 percent of fairways during the four-day tournament last year, which tied for 10th best in the field.
“I felt like I drove the ball much, much better than I have done recently in the last month or so,” Rose said. “What I love about this golf course is that you can hit the driver, and you feel like it’s not taken out of your hands. But if you do miss, you’re going to be in trouble.”
Last year, Rose hit 74 percent of the greens in regulation, which tied for 14th in the field. Rose also avoided bunkers last year, finding himself in only eight during the weekend.
“My short game is turning around, chipping,” Rose said. “Bunker play is feeling really, really sharp.”
In 2010, Rose was on fire with his putter, averaging 27 putts per round, which was good enough for second best in the field.
“I believe I’m a good putter,” Rose said. “Deep down, I believe that’s why I have high expectations in my putting. I know I can make a lot of putts, but I’m being a little bit streaky.”
Rose led the field with 14 putts from outside of 10 feet.
“Making the right putt at the right time, which is what I managed to do in this stretch last year,” Rose said. “That’s what gets it done.”
Rose said he likes his chances of defending his Memorial title.
“My chances are good, and it’s going to be a matter of making putts,” he said. “What better course to come to than this with the greens the way they are. If you roll the ball well here, you can get on a great run.”