Justin Rose Wins at Congressional, Congressional Wins Respect

To provide a sense of just how hard Congressional Country Club was on Sunday, only six players were under par in the Quicken Loans National. For the week, only ten were. Out of the carnage came Justin Rose and Shawn Stefani in a one-hole playoff won by Rose.

Ironically, Stefani lost his chance when he drove his ball into the left rough, got line of sight relief from the grandstands and then hit his second shot into the pond that wrapped around the left edge of the green. He tried to play a knockdown shot under tree limbs that was perfect were it not for the right to left slant of the fairway that funneled the ball straight into the pond.

Ironically, because Rose did the exact same thing on his second shot on 18 in regulation for the same reason. Both of them ended up shooting 1-under on the day and they still ended up in a playoff. Yet another measure of how tough the course was; nobody was able to make a move, Andres Romero’s 3-under being the low round of the day. That only got him to T5, an outcome he was surely pleased with.

But the great mystery was the undoing of Patrick Reed, the leader by two at 6-under going into the round. He shot 6-over and ended up finishing T11. Yet another measure of how difficult the course was.

He started his day great with an opening birdie on the 1st. And then he doubled the 2nd. But then he birdied 3 to get back to even par on the day. He showed himself a fighter when he bogeyed the next two and then bounced back with two birdies to make the turn still at even. It was the back nine that was his undoing: double, double, par, bogey, bogey and then snuck out of Dodge with a birdie and capitulating bogey.

“Just seemed like everything that could go wrong back nine, did.”

But unfazed, he’s using it as motivation:

“Yeah, I did a lot of things great this week. But this definitely burns and definitely get me more fired up for more events coming up.”

“You know, any time you put yourself in position on Sunday to win, you know you’re doing something right. I’m going to keep on trucking along, keep working hard and hopefully keep getting myself in these positions. I was 100 percent going into this week on closing [out a 54-hole lead] and now I’m 75 percent. It’s still pretty good odds. So hopefully I can continue and get ourselves in that position and close it off.”

One of the joys of being an exempt player on Tour is there’s always next week. So put today’s troubles behind you and press forward.

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2 Responses to Justin Rose Wins at Congressional, Congressional Wins Respect

  1. Neil says:


    I am interested in researching the mental side of the golf game through statistics and I found your blog the other day. It is great stuff. I am looking for a story on how aware players are of their tournament position as they play the final hole. Are they looking at the leaderboard? It is so hard to sift through articles and find quotes, but your blog does it so well. Any point in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.


    • Bill Rand says:

      Thanks for your comment and kind words, Neil.

      The current consensus among players who have been quoted is to ignore the leaderboard in favor of being totally focused on each shot. Anything that takes you out of that is an anathema to: “being in the moment,” “staying in the present,” “just taking care of my business,” et. al. The theory is that there is nothing you can do about what another player is doing anyway, so you might as well exclude it from your thoughts. That, of course, eliminates any possibility of an adrenaline rush coupled with a still higher level of consciousness that might cause you to play better.

      I can’t begin to precisely steer you to every relevant instance that I wrote about this topic, but I did a search in the blog for “watching the leaderboard,” and, without reading them all, found over 30 before I satisfied myself that there are a bunch. I don’t know how it got selected, but the first hit was, “Leaderboard Watching,” that looks at both sides of it from some big names on the LPGA.

      I hope this is a good start for you. Please feel free to email me at the Contact button at the bottom of the right hand column if I can be of further help. Thanks again.