HOYLAKE, England — Justin Rose heads into the British Open as probably the hottest player in golf after winning back-to-back titles for the first time in his career, at the Quicken Loans National last month and the Scottish Open on Sunday.
He is playing as well as he ever has, and the experience of winning a major — the 2013 U.S. Open — makes his case even more persuasive at Royal Liverpool. But he has failed to crack the top 10 at his home major since finishing tied for fourth as a 17-year-old amateur in 1998. Rose missed the cut at three of the past four British Opens.
"Thousands of times I have won the Open Championship, in my mind," Rose said. "This is probably the one I've dreamed about the most."
Rose said he just has to stay in "the zone" and not get carried away with the expectations that predictably have been placed on him by a British public desperate for a triumph in an otherwise miserable sporting summer. He doesn't think that will be a problem, and he puts that down to winning the U.S. Open.
"I have (a major) under my belt. The monkey is off my back," he said. "And I now have a model that works."
McIlroy's head: Pay no attention to what Rory McIlroy shoots in the first round Thursday, because it hardly matters. His cumulative first-round score in 13 stroke-play events this year is 44 under par. His cumulative score in his 13 second rounds: 9 over.
"It's just got into my head," McIlroy, a two-time major winner, said of his second-round struggles.
"I may be putting a bit too much pressure on myself going out on Fridays and trying to back up a score. … It's something that I need to go out and pretend like it's a Thursday again and go out and just … I don't know."
Calcavecchia out: Mark Calcavecchia, the 1989 Open winner, withdrew because of airplane flight issues from the United States, he said on Twitter. "American Airlines killed us for no reason weather was fine #dontgetit," he said. He will be replaced by first alternate David Hearn.