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Justin Rose aiming higher

New European number one Justin Rose believes he is capable of becoming as good as anyone in world golf, with the possible exception of the peerless Tiger Woods.

"I think number two is a legitimate goal," the 27-year-old Briton told reporters after his Volvo Masters victory in Spain on Sunday secured the order of merit title and catapulted him to seventh in the world.

"I think number one is a fair way right now but for the rest of us normal guys, number two is a good goal."

Rose, who first flowered as a 17-year-old amateur when he tied for fourth in the 1998 British Open at Birkdale, feels he has finally come of age as a player.

The statistics back up his contention. Not only did he beat fellow countryman Simon Dyson and Dane Soren Kjeldsen in Sunday's season-ending playoff at Valderrama, he also produced four excellent performances in this year's majors.

Rose finished equal fifth at the U.S. Masters, joint 10th at the U.S. Open and tied for 12th position in the British Open and U.S. PGA Championship.

"This year has been so much more comfortable out on the course," said the Englishman. "I'm not out there shaking like a leaf any more.

"I'm pretty calm, pretty collected and feel like I'm in control of my body and emotions. I feel like I'm able to enjoy the occasion and enjoy the moment...and you need to be able to enjoy it down the stretch."

Rose suffered his share of trials and tribulations after bursting on the scene at the 1998 British Open.

He turned professional the same year and began his career in the paid ranks by missing 21 consecutive cuts.

Rose also lost his coach and father Ken, who died of leukemia in 2002.

Five years later, his order of merit triumph has been all the more spectacular because it was achieved by the Florida-based professional in only 12 tournaments.

Rose, though, is not planning to relax.

"Winning majors is what really drives me," he said. "Ultimately I want my career to include a major championship.

"I think I've won the British Open a thousand times on the putting green at home. It's something I've dreamed about since I was a kid."



November 7, 2007


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