FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – Justin Rose had already won the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion and no longer had to answer questions about what it felt like not to have won a major championship.
But he still wasn’t totally satisfied and knew he was capable of collecting more major hardware.
So, his team sat down to figure out what, specifically, he needed to improve to compete more consistently at the biggest events.
“Four, five years ago we had a bit of a project within the team that we called Project 300,” Rose said Wednesday at Bethpage Black on the eve of the PGA Championship. “I felt like to compete on Tour and be one of the best players in the world you had to fly the ball 300 yards in the air.
“That seemed to be just a nice, round number obviously, but that was kind of the metric that would open up a few golf courses for me. It would make a difference.”
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While Rose has not won another major championship, he did win the Olympics in 2016 and won the FedExCup last season on the PGA Tour. His major championship results, however, have become more consistent and his driving distance has increased mightily.
In Rose’s first 13 seasons on Tour he collected seven top-10 finishes in majors. In his last five seasons he’s collected seven top-10s in majors.
Over the last decade, Rose’s driving distance average has vaulted from 286.4 yards in 2008 to a career-high 305.7 yards in 2018. He’s averaged over 300 yards in each of the last five seasons and knows that distance is one of the keys to success this week at Bethpage.
“We’ve been able to achieve that through technique and through fitness and various other factors,” Rose said. “I would say this is the kind of golf course where maybe you’re looking at the field not necessarily as 156 but maybe looking at 30-40 guys that can win this tournament based on length. I think driving the golf ball and distance will be a really big advantage this week.”