Justin Rose has long been a trendy pick to win the Masters, and that’s not changing this year.
Rose, the World No. 2, has five career top 10s at Augusta National, including three in the last four years. In 2017 he lost a playoff to Sergio Garcia.
His ball-striking prowess is what makes him a perennial favorite, but he said on Wednesday that his home club, Albany in the Bahamas, will help with his Masters prep when it comes to Augusta’s speedy and difficult greens.
“I’ll be sort of talking to my guys at Albany and saying, OK, are there a couple of greens that you can pretty much brown out and 50-percent kill so they’re fast enough to practice on heading into the Masters, and they will do that,” Rose said on Wednesday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. “They do a great job of trying to replicate as best they can. So when I do go home on my weeks off I have opportunities to practice as similarly as possible. I’ll ask them to find pin placements that are two and a half, three percent slope. So I really start to see the ball breaking into the cup. It’s some of those visuals that are tricky to just click right into if you haven’t prepared for.”
After Bay Bill, Rose is in the Players Championship and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play two weeks later. He’ll take the week off before the Masters, which is April 11-14. In previous years the Shell Houston Open was the week before the Masters, but this year it’s the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio.
“Houston I really enjoyed playing that before Augusta, but I’m not really willing to risk going to a new venue that could be very windy and a much tougher test of golf before the Masters,” he said. “I felt like Houston was manageable, you don’t want to be working too hard, if you know what I mean. You want to draft your way into the major rather than kind of grinding your way into the major.”
Rose tees off alongside Henrik Stenson and Brandt Snedeker for the first two rounds at Bay Hill. His Thursday tee time is 7:43 a.m. ET off the 10th tee.