Justin Rose will be pulling up to Augusta National for the Masters this week with the World No. 1 ranking and the return of his normal caddie, Mark Fulcher.
The 38-year-old Rose moved up from No. 2 to the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking this week ahead of the first major of the 2019 season. But the two-time Masters runner-up will also have a familiar face back on the bag for him at Augusta National.
Fulcher, who has served as Rose’s caddie for over a decade, will be on the No. 1 player in the world’s bag at the Masters this week for the first time since he had heart surgery in January, according to ESPN. More commonly referred to as “Fooch”, Fulcher served as Rose’s caddie for two practice rounds at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play last month.
While Fooch was sidelined due to his heart procedure, Gareth Lord stepped in as Fulcher’s temporary replacement on Rose’s bag this year. Lord, who had once been Henrik Stenson’s caddie, helped Rose capture his most recent Tour victory this past January at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Rose dedicated his win at Torrey Pines to his caddie watching him at home.
Now, the former U.S. Open champion has his right-hand man back in action at an event that Rose has been knocking on the door at for some time. Along with his two runner-up finishes in 2015 and 2017, the 10-time PGA Tour winner has racked up three other T10 finishes in the last 12 years.
Rose spoke on Monday about how much Fooch has wanted to get back on the bag and the preparation he’s been putting in over the last few weeks.
“I know time has been going very slowly for him and he’s been chomping at the bit to get back, but he’s stayed very much integrated and engaged in my game,” Rose said during his Monday press conference. “One of his best mates out here on Tour is Gareth Lord; and they have been communicating a lot with what has been going on and Fooch has come down to see me on my weeks off on a couple of occasions.”
However, history has not been kind to World No. 1’s at the Masters since the inception of the rankings in 1986. Only three players on four occasions have held the top spot in the world and gone on to win the green jacket. The last golfer to accomplish the feat was Tiger Woods in 2001 and 2002, his second and third Masters titles.
His last appearance on Tour at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play resulted in a T9 finish. Rose, who enters with the third-highest odds to win this week at 12/1, has registered five T10 finishes in seven starts during the 2018-19 season.
It would be one heck of a story if Fooch, in his first appearance back as caddie, helped carry Rose to his first green jacket.
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