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Rose feels he is closing the gap on top two

Ryder Cup experience gave Englishman huge helping of confidence

Image Credit: HADRIAN HERNANDEZ/Gulf News
Justin Rose meet the press at the 2013 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at The WestinHotel Abu Dhabi Golf Resort and Spa in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi debutant Justin Rose feels is he very close to making up the gap between him and the world’s top-ranked players — Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods.

Currently ranked No 5, Rose differentiated between the ranking and his game and said he felt very positive after last season.

“I think status is something I’m a long way from, but I believe my game is not far at all,” the South African-born Englishman said at a press briefing at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club. “I think that’s two very different things. I’m very happy with my skill set. I’m very happy that I can close the gap or hopefully make the gap disappear with some hard work. The status is obviously something that’s left everybody else but I think from a golf point of view, that’s what I’m excited about is that I’m very close to the very top end of the game and I still feel I have a lot more to give.”

The 32-year-old said he draws this confidence from his three recent experiences — his role in Europe’s dramatic comeback against the United States to win the Ryder Cup, his victory in the eight-man Turkish Airlines World Finals in October and his second-place finish in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

“I think Ryder Cup was big for me,” Rose said. “Just really making putts when I needed to. That was huge. And then backing it up, in Turkey I think; even though Turkey was a casual type of environment, it was still going head to head against the world’s best. That was again another big week for me, confidence-wise. And then Dubai again, I think just the way I went down the stretch there.

“So there’s three very positive experiences on which I can draw. You just have to keep putting yourself in that situation and there will be times when you’re in that situation, you feel comfortable and you don’t win. I just know that if I keep doing what I’m doing, those chances are going to come more and more often.”

Commenting on his debut here, Rose, who has nine titles against his name — four in North America and five on the European Tour — said: “I think this is a great place to start the season on many levels. Obviously, there’s a great field assembled here and that’s who you want to compete against. The other thing about playing in the desert is you typically get a golf course that’s in good condition. So a perfect place to start the season and see exactly where your game’s at.”