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Olympic Countdown

Rose: Gold medal would be ‘a career highlight’

Englishman excited at the prospect of playing in Rio

By Michael McEwan

Justin Rose has said that winning a gold medal for Team GB in this year’s Olympic Games would be ‘one of my career highlights’.

The Englishman is almost certain to qualify for the Games in Rio de Janeiro, where golf will make its return to the Olympic fold for the first time in more than a century.

However, unlike other players, who have either already withdrawn themselves from consideration for their respective countries or cast skepticism on golf’s inclusion in the event, former US Open champion Rose says that he is excited at the prospect.

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“If I was to win, I think that would be one of my career highlights,” said the 35-year-old Englishman. “There’s obviously the ultimate question people want to ask: is it more important to win a major or the Olympics? That’s a real tough question. They both stand out in their own right. But I think anyone who wins the Olympics, it’s always going to be that kind of special thing that they were able to achieve in their career. So yes, I’m excited about it.”

Rose’s enthusiasm for golf’s return to the Olympics is in stark contrast to some of his fellow major winners.

Adam Scott, a long-standing opponent to golf’s inclusion in the quadrennial sporting showpiece, announced in April that he was making himself unavailable to represent Australia. The former Masters champion, a close friend of Rose, said he had made his decision ‘as a result of an extremely busy playing schedule around the time of the Olympics and other commitments, both personal and professional’.

He was quickly followed by South African duo Louis Oosthuizen and CharlSchwartzel, whilst Fiji’s Vijay Singh and another Australian, Marc Leishman, also ruled themselves out.

Rose, however, seems hugely excited about the prospect of teeing it up in Rio, where he will most likely be partnered by fellow Englishman and Masters champion Danny Willett.

Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson are expected to represent the USA, whilst Rory McIlroy has assured his team captain Paul McGinley that he will be there to represent Ireland.

“Depending on who wins it, it could really grow the game,” added Rose. “If someone from a developing golf nation won it, I think that would be huge for golf, so we’ll just have to see.”

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“I don’t know what it’s going to do to grow the game worldwide but that’s the hope. That’s just the real reason for it [being included]. The Olympics has a broader appeal and the chance to play in it is aonce-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I want to go down there, go to the opening ceremonies just to feel what it’s like to be a member of team GB and just take it all in. So, yes, I’m excited about playing.”

The Englishman also revealed that he plans to prepare for the Olympics in the same way that he prepares for major championships.

“I’m treating them exactly the same,” said Rose. “I like to try and get to the venue ahead of time, try and get a couple of practice rounds in when the course is somewhat quiet and you’re not having to push along the speed of play to try and keep up.

“I feel like, if you want to take 25 to 30 minutes on a particular green because there’s something that you really want to figure out, then fine. That’s what I like to do at a major championship. But you can’t do that on a Tuesday or a Wednesday because you have to keep up with speed of play. So, yeah, I just like to get there ahead of time, give myself an extra day or two, and that’s what I’m going to do for the Olympics, too.”

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