Tony Jacklin on Monday praised Justin Rose‘s courage after seeing him become the first English winner of one of golf’s major championships in 17 years with his victory at the US Open.
Rose’s two-shot victory at the Merion course in Pennsylvania was the first in a major since Nick Faldo took the 1996 US Masters title.
The South Africa-born Rose’s success also ended a wait of more than four decades for an English US Open champion since Jacklin’s own triumph at Hazeltine in Minnesota back in 1970.
Rose announced himself to the golf world as a 17-year-old amateur when he finished in a tie for fourth in the 1998 British Open at Royal Birkdale, in northwest England.
But he struggled early on in his professional career, infamously missing 21 consecutive cuts before winning his first event in the paid ranks in 2002.
“I was thrilled for him. I know what he’s gone through in his professional life,” Jacklin told BBC radio.
“I was obviously around when he had that audacious chip-in at Birkdale at 17 and witnessed the difficult time he had after turning pro and all the struggles that he had.
“To fight through that, it takes a lot of courage. What was shown at Merion was exactly that.”
Looking ahead, Jacklin said there was now no reason why the 32-year-old Rose could not win other major golf titles which, as well as the US Open and US Masters, also include the British Open and USPGA.
“It’s all about confidence and I’ve no reason to believe he couldn’t win four or five major championships,” said Jacklin, who also won the 1969 British Open at Royal Lytham, northwest England.
“He finished like a true champion,” the 68-year-old Jacklin added of Rose.
“It take a lot of courage to win a major championship. You have to stay in the moment, which sounds very easy but when the stakes are high it’s very hard.
“To come through it is fantastic and I was proud of him. He’s a good guy, he’s good for the game.”
Rose’s final round par 70 on Sunday saw him to a 72-hole one over par total of 281 and victory by two shots over US star Phil Mickelson and Australia’s Jason Day.
Jacklin was delighted that Merion lived up to its reputation as a tough course.
“Merion was the great examination it’s supposed to be — it was fantastic.”Published 17 Jun 2013, 15:57 IST