Justin Rose has broken ranks from golf’s leading players by criticising the new schedule for 2019, which features four majors in as many months. This week’s Open Championship rounds off a major season that used to end with the US PGA; that tournament has been brought forward to May from August and Rose believes the new calendar is detrimental to competitor preparations.
The former world No 1 said: “In my opinion they’re too soon. It’s too condensed. As a professional in terms of trying to peak for something, the process that’s involved in trying to do that can be detailed and it can be longer than a month. So that’s my reasoning for that.”
Rose’s comments at Royal Portrush are especially noteworthy because he was last year’s winner of the $10m FedEx Cup bonus on the PGA Tour. An earlier finish to that series of events – this year August, as opposed to September – is one factor in this new professional schedule. The FedEx top prize rises to $15m this year.
“I think it’s pretty much driven by FedExCup, wanting to finish on a certain date, everything else having to fit in where it can,” Rose added. “For me, major championships should be the things that are protected the most. That’s how all of our careers ultimately are going to be measured. Thirty, 40 years ago there wasn’t a FedExCup so if you’re trying to compare one career to another career, Jack [Nicklaus] versus Tiger [Woods], it’s the majors … they’re the benchmarks. For them to be tweaked so much I think is quite interesting at this point.”
Rose, who won the 2013 US Open at Merion, admitted his career aspirations would change should he lift the Claret Jug for the first time on Sunday. “I think if you [have] won both Opens, that’s a lovely pair, no doubt,” he added. “That would be halfway towards a grand slam. If I was able to do that then I would immediately shift to I’m 50% of the way there.
“The next one is really important for me, because it makes the next two feel possible. When you’re a quarter of the way there, looking at it, it’s quite an uphill climb. But when you’re halfway you’re kind of at the tipping point. For sure, the next major is going to be an important one for me. I’ve definitely given myself some looks. And if I keep doing that I know, the door will open again.”