European golfers confident for Shanghai Masters
With the glory of the Ryder Cup still fresh in their minds, Englishman and European teammates ride a wave of confidence to Lake Malaren
World number one Rory McIlroy may be everyone's favourite to win the BMW Masters starting today, but no player is riding a high like fellow Ryder Cup hero Justin Rose.
The world number five's performance to beat Phil Mickelson in the final-day singles may have got lost in the euphoria of Europe's victory, but Rose rode that wave to his next event - a Turkey shoot in Istanbul - and added Tiger Woods' and Lee Westwood's names to his list of recent scalps.
"I'm hoping not to come down from that high just yet," said Rose, on the eve of the new US$7 million European Tour event at the Lake Malaren Golf Club near Shanghai.
"I know Ian Poulter still catches himself at home thinking about the week and thinking about what Ollie [captain Jose Maria Olazabal] must be thinking at home with the Ryder Cup sitting on his mantelpiece.
"I think, for all of us, it's still very fresh in our memories. It's going to take a few more weeks before we're fully over it," Rose, 32, said.
Those memories may fade a little this week as a 78-strong field, boasting four of the top-five players in the world and 11 members of the European Ryder Cup team, start the final push in the Race To Dubai.
"I've been in a rich vein of form and there's lots to play for. There are some big events and an exciting finish with the Race To Dubai," said Rose, who is second on the European Tour money list with €2,376,628 (HK$23.97 million) and hot on the heels of McIlroy (€2,813,962).
"Rory is playing a lot of golf through the run up to Dubai. I figure I'm going to have to win one of these two weeks to give myself a really good chance in Dubai," said Rose, also referring to next week's US$7 million HSBC Champions at Mission Hills in Shenzhen.
"A lot of times you can get to this point in the season and be burnt out and looking forward to a break. But I still feel very motivated and hungry. There's a lot more to achieve. So that's the key for me."
Fellow Ryder Cup star Graeme McDowell yesterday singled out Rose's performance in the final three holes against Mickelson as one of the defining moments of their "crazy" comeback to beat the Americans at Medinah and Rose spent the following week trying to put the pieces together.
"I spent a week watching the playback and the broadcast and sort of piecing together how that week happened from everybody else's point of view. We knew it was a great achievement at the time, but when you start to hear what other people thought, the magnitude of what we achieved that day definitely hit home."
Rose went to Istanbul and won the eight-man Turkish Airlines World Golf Tournament, where he beat Westwood to scoop the US$1.5 million jackpot.
"If you come back to real life and real tournaments and you're not in contention, the thrill of that week seems a million miles away," Rose said. "I went to Turkey and won straight afterwards. Luckily, I was able to get into contention and feed off all those positive memories in the Ryder Cup, having to make key putts at the right time.
"I felt excited to get the club back in my hand that week because of the momentum and the excitement."
McDowell, meanwhile, said he had pushed the reset button as he prepared to play five events in the next six weeks.
"I'm ninth in the Race To Dubai right now and I could do with a couple of big weeks to get myself in a decent position going into the World Golf Championship," the Northern Irishman said.
"I'm keen to put a shine on what's been a good/frustrating/should-have-been/could-have-been kind of year."