US Open 2014: Can Justin Rose break 25-year curse and retain trophy?
Justin Rose is hoping to join an exclusive club of two as he prepares to become the first player for 25 years to successfully defend the US Open title at Pinehurst this week.
Rose was the first English winner of the famous trophy since Tony Jacklin in 1970 following his two-shot victory at Merion last year.
However, no player has ever been successful in retaining their title since Curtis Strange in 1989, and Rose has admitted it will be a “whole new challenge” at Pinehurst as the set-up is substantially different to that of Merion.
Rose is obviously loathe to hand over the trophy, but is adamant it will be back in his possession come Sunday evening.
"I’ve got very comfortable living with the trophy, it still makes me smile when I pass it in the house and I still get the good feelings," Rose told Sky Sports News.
"I’ve enjoyed showing the trophy off to people and pointing out names like Hogan, Nicklaus, Palmer, Player and Watson, and then you get to me at the bottom of the list. It’s still surreal.
"I’ve gone through different phases. There was the elation after winning it, and then there’s a period where you put too much pressure on yourself in the months after it. "I think there’s a period where it’s not that enjoyable, and then you start to get very comfortable with it and feel very proud.
"But you then start to think about winning more of them, and that’s the important thing. You have to take what you learn from the experience and apply it again and again.
"I’ve got to the point now where I have to think about giving it back, so I’ve been focussing hard on 1988/89 and Curtis Strange being the last man to repeat.
"I’m looking forward to it. I’m running into some good form after a slightly slow start to the year for a couple of different reasons.
"But there’s a lot of big tournaments coming up, and the US Open is obviously front and centre in my focus."