GULLANE, Scotland — A month after winning the U.S. Open, Justin Rose still hasn’t settled on an engraver to etch his name into the trophy he brought home from the Merion Golf Club.
But the Englishman already has someone in mind: Garry Harvey, the silversmith who will engrave the name of British Open winner on the claret jug within moments of the final putt dropping Sunday at Muirfield.
“I’m hoping I’ll get a two-for-one deal this year,” Rose chuckled Wednesday. “With the U.S. Open, you get it done yourself. So I’m hoping I’ll get a discount for bulk.”
It would be hard to come up with a better finish to what’s already been an eventful few weeks for Rose. Since capturing his first major, he has dined with Prime Minister David Cameron, signed hundreds of autographs and watched from the Royal Box as countryman Andy Murray captured the Wimbledon men’s singles final.
And just like Murray, who won the U.S. Open last fall, Rose would love to possess both trophies at the same time, a feat only six golfers — all among the game’s greats — have accomplished in the century-plus history of major championship golf. The roster of that exclusive club speaks to just how tough a task it is: Bobby Jones (twice; 1926 and 1930); Gene Sarazen (1932); Ben Hogan (1953); Lee Trevino (1971); Tom Watson (1982); and Tiger Woods (2000).
“The challenge for me is going to be staying in this tournament, not being dragged back to Merion every five minutes,” Rose said. “If I’m left alone, just me and my caddie, it’s pretty easy to focus on what I need to focus on. It’s when you have the outside distractions that prevents you from doing that.”
MAKE MINE A MOPED
With all the buzz generated by 19-year-old Jordan Spieth’s win Sunday at the John Deere Open, four-time European Tour winner Matteo Manassero revealed life isn’t always glamorous for rising young stars.
Asked when he planned to buy a Ferrari, the 20-year-old said he’s only had his license briefly and that Italian law limits the size of the engine in the cars he’s allowed to drive for the first year.
“How small? Like a bike?,” he was asked.
“I actually don’t know that,” Manassero replied.
The tournament doesn’t start until Thursday, yet the most entertaining shot at the British Open may already have been hit.
It belonged to short-game wizard Phil Mickelson, who won the Scottish Open on Sunday and arrived at the 17th green during a practice round to find his ball nestled in light rough halfway up a small knob alongside the putting surface. The left-hander grabbed a wedge and with his back to the flag, feathered a shot that arched softly and landed behind him and rolled to within a few feet of the pin.
It was captured on video by golf blogger Geoff Shackelford (see it here: bit.ly/1aIRehR ). Scott Piercy, one of Mickelson’s playing partners during Monday’s round, tried replicating the shot without success.
“I haven’t hit it in so long, I just looked at it and thought I’d give it a try. I didn’t know anybody was filming,” Mickelson said.
“Hopefully,” he added a moment later, “I won’t have to hit that shot this week.”