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Has Justin Rose Finally Arrived?

Michael FitzpatrickFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2010

19 Jul 1998:  Leading amateur Justin Rose of England receives the silver medal after the British Open at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Lancashire, England. \ Mandatory Credit: David  Cannon/Allsport
David Cannon/Getty Images

CROMWELL, Conn.Justin Rose has been waiting 12 years to show the PGA Tour exactly what he is capable of doing.      

Rose first arrived on most people's radar screen when he tied for fourth as an amateur at the 1998 Open Championship. 

Immediately following his success 1998 Open, Rose decided to turn pro at the young age of 18, which was a decision that was questioned by many critics who considered him to be way too young, and way too inexperienced to take on the brutally difficult world of professional golf.

But how can you blame a guy who just missed out on several hundred thousand dollars at the Open Championship because he was playing as an amateur rather than a pro?

Are any of you out there prepared to toss hundreds of thousands of dollars down the drain so you can play college golf and continue to compete in amateur events that cost you money to play in rather than the other way around?

I didn’t think so.

However, Rose proved most of those critics correct when he missed his first 21 consecutive cuts as a pro.  

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It would take Rose four years to win his first European Tour event (2002 Dunhill Championship), and 12 years to win his first PGA Tour event (2010 Memorial).

But 12 years, four European Tour wins, three World Cup appearances, and a Ryder Cup appearance later, Rose is 18-holes away from winning his second consecutive PGA Tour event.

With a win Sunday afternoon at the Travelers Championship, Rose would join Tiger Woods (2009) and Vijay Singh (2008) as the last three players to have won consecutive starts on the PGA Tour.

It may seem like a lifetime since that skinny, baby-faced kid chipped in on the 72nd hole of the 1998 Open Championship, and sent shock-waves throughout a golf world that was totally unaccustomed to seeing amateurs contend for major championship titles, but Rose is only 29 years old and just entering the prime of his golfing career.

Whether Rose wins this afternoon at the Travelers Championship or not, he will enter the 2010 Open Championship as one of the favorites, which despite posting just four top-10s finishes at majors since the 1998 Open Championship, seems to be right where Rose belongs…even if it has taken him 12 years to get there.

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