Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Justin Rose watches his drive on the 17th at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Friday. He finished the second round 8-under and sits atop the leader board.
Justin Rose watches his drive on the 17th at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Friday. He finished the second round 8-under and sits atop the leader board.

Short-term memory serves Justin Rose well in Abu Dhabi

Englishman has an up-and-down history at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship but leads this year's event after Friday's second round, writes Steve Elling.

ABU DHABI // To understand the incredible apex to which the world No 5 Justin Rose has climbed, you have to understand the nadir.

Interesting, they both involve the Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

You cannot know where you are going until you know where you have been? For Rose, it seems like it is the same desert locale.

A dozen years ago, when the course was opening, Rose was hired to appear at a ribbon-cutting of sorts after competing in the 2000 Dubai Desert Classic. At that point in his career, he not only wasn't a complete package, he was mostly a batch of broken parts.

After turning professional amid much fanfare at age 17, he missed his first 21 professional cuts, and had to go back to European Tour qualifying school in the autumn of 2009. Depending on how the story is recalled, when Rose played a few weeks later at what is now the home venue of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, he was hitting the ball so poorly, he did not complete the round.

When the 32-year-old English star arrived here this week, he was reminded of the outing - he had played alongside several media types who were invited for the club unveiling. He had virtually no recollection of it, which is just as well, given the state of his game at the time.

"I think that's possibly one of my greatest strengths, I don't remember that," Rose said, drawing huge laughs. Why would he care to? Not many players, even on the top shelf of the game, are playing better than Rose these days.

Rose shot a 3-under 69 in the second round and will take a one-stroke lead into the final 36 holes as he seeks his first victory in the UAE after finishing second at two different events in Dubai.

When it comes to negative experiences, like with most athletes, it pays to have a short memory. That day in Abu Dhabi 12 years ago might as well not have happened, his career was at such low ebb.

"It's been shelved very deep somewhere back in here," he said, waving a hand behind him, as if he was swatting a fly. "I don't even want to dig that deep to remember if you don't mind."

Staying in the moment, while it ranks as one of the game's ultimate clichés, is a much better place for the Englishman, who shot 62 in the final round in Dubai eight weeks ago to finish second.

Hesitant as he is to look in the rear-view mirror, he was not much more disposed to look at the next 36 holes and a potential victory, either.

"I'm not even looking that far ahead," Rose said. "You know, I like to look at the big picture and if I live and die by this result, it gets in the way of the rest of the season. I am looking to build and build."


twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Chris Burch will play fly-half as part of a new-look back line for the UAE national rugby union team that will face Singapore at The Sevens grounds in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National

Chris Burch to lead UAE’s charge against Singapore

he UAE’s bid to safeguard their place in the second tier of Asian rugby against Singapore next week will be piloted by a player who was contemplating retirement from the sport at this time last year.

 Seiichi Shimomura, centre, is part of a Japan squad that is the gold standard for sides such as the UAE, here in a Asian Five Nations rugby match at Dubai on May 10, 2013 and Singapore aspire to reach. Marwan Naamani / AFP

UAE and Singapore are rugby teams with a similar tale to tell

The UAE versus Singapore in rugby: a battle to see whether our expatriates are better than their expatriates, surely? Well, maybe not for much longer.

 Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is pictured before the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on March 1, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

 Sharjah Cricket Stadium's colorful past was never like this – the IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils was loud, raucous and commerical. Pawan Singh / The National

No need for rose-coloured glasses when Sharjah Cricket Stadium host IPL

Sharjah still plays well as India's home away from home when it comes to big-time cricket, but the commercial overtones were in overdrive.

 Jorginho accepts the challenge that lies ahead for Al Wasl's improvement, and the club says it will give him time ... if they see results.  Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Wasl will give Jorginho time but results in Arabian Gulf League are needed

Al Wasl officials said they will provide Jorginho, their new coach, sufficient time to change the club’s fortunes while also warning that his fate ultimately will depend on results.

 Mickael Barzalona riding Sudden Wonder, left, to victory in the Tattersalls Millions Trophy at Newmarket racecourse on April 17, 2014 in Newmarket, England. Alan Crowhurst/ Getty Images

Godolphin boosted by performances of two fresh horses at Newmarket

Be Ready underwhelms in Craven Stakes during otherwise successful day for stables


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National