Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.
|(© USGA/Joel Kowsky)|
The 32 year old Englishman, who first rose to fame as a 17-year old amateur when he chipped in at the final hole to finish fourth in the 1998 Open at Royal Birkdale, carded a level par final round 70 to win the title with a one over par total of 281. His win, the first by an Englishman in a major for 17 years, meant a heart-breaking sixth US Open runner up finish for Mickelson on his 43rd birthday.
But not only did Rose have comforting words for the left-hander, the manner in which he closed out his victory by tapping in from a couple of inches for a closing par before gesturing to the heavens in tribute to his late father Ken, was spine-tingling and an example to youngsters everywhere.
“Yes, the look up to the heavens was absolutely for my dad,” Rose said. “Father’s Day was not lost on me today. You don’t have opportunities to really dedicate a win to someone you love. And today was about him and being Father’s Day.
“I got a beautiful text [from coach Sean Foley] that said go out and be the man your dad taught you to be and be the man that your kids can be proud of and look up to. That’s how I tried to carry myself out there. My dad was the inspiration the whole day.”
Rose also paid tribute to Mickelson the man.
“This is definitely a tough defeat for Phil. Five times or something, I guess now six times second in the U.S. Open. He’s such a great guy to play golf with and to have for the TOUR. I love the way he plays the game. He plays fearless golf. He keeps everybody guessing. He’s entertaining. And I feel fortunate to have been able to beat a world class player that he is on a day like today.
“He’s also on Father’s Day. I mean, he really showed the true spirit of fatherhood being at home for his daughter’s graduation earlier in the week and putting a tournament as his second priority and that’s very admirable.”
Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.