(Photo credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
Father Time has not caught up to Justin Rose just yet.
The Englishman may say he wishes he were 10 years younger, but he's still spry enough to win on the PGA Tour, as he did in February at the ATT Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Rose's world ranking (No. 37) is smaller than his age (43), and at the RyderCup this week at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club near Rome, he's the oldest player on either team.
Rose is filling an elder statesman's role for Team Europe vacated by the absence of countrymen Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, Spain's Sergio Garcia and Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell, none of whom were considered for the Ryder Cup after they defected to LIV Golf.
Those players are largely responsible for helping Europe win seven of the past 10 Ryder Cups, including a home winning streak that dates back to 1997.
"I think that when you look at like in our team room ... (at) people that are still connected to the European Team, and I would say invested in the European Team, there's still a lot of winning culture around what we do," Rose said Wednesday, pointing to captain Luke Donald of England, vice captain Thomas Bjorn of Denmark and others.
"So obviously in life and in business and everything, there's obviously transition phases where you need to look to new leaders, and what would be great is if you can kind of slip through that period of transition unaffected, and you know, you start to look to the next generation obviously to come through and to start to kind of have that winning culture."
Despite being well into his teens when teammates such as Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and Jon Rahm of Spain were born, Rose said he feels "like one of the boys and one of the team members" this year. He's also marveled at the ability of Europe's four rookies: Robert MacIntyre (Scotland), Sepp Straka (Austria), Nicolai Hojgaard (Denmark) and Ludvig Aberg (Sweden).
"I think my job as one of the experienced players on the team is to have an open-door policy," Rose said. "If I just make them feel comfortable enough that they want to ask a question, let's hear it and I'll do my best to give some type of perspective. But I think until that point just let them roll, and I think that's what they bring to the team, and that's why they are a very important aspect to the team, and I think this team has a beautiful blend to it because of that."
Straka was asked Tuesday what advice he's asked of Rose or McIlroy this week.
"Yeah, a typical question like 'What do you on the first tee box when you can't feel your arms?' kind of thing," he cracked.
Rose will play in his sixth Ryder Cup, just one fewer than McIlroy's seven, and he has an overall record of 13-8-2, including 7-2-1 in foursomes play. But he didn't make the cut for the 2021 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, leaving him missing the competition and his teammates.
"I think the emotions are when you do miss a team, it's an opportunity to look inward and go, 'OK, well, clearly I wasn't valued enough or I wasn't playing well enough, and I don't like that feeling, so I need to do something about that,'" Rose said. "You know, not looking at I should have been picked or they did me wrong. It's, 'OK, well, you've got to start right here,' you know what I mean. Take things in my own hands. That was very much my mindset coming into this one.
"But the job starts Friday. Job's not done by making the team."
--Field Level Media