Shoulder tendinitis has caused Justin Rose to play in just three tournaments this season. The Valspar Championship is his fourth start, and the world No. 7 said Friday he plans to make just one more – next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational – before he plays in the Masters.
That makes this week at Innisbrook a crucial one for Rose, who hasn’t finished better than T-17 on Tour since his fifth-place finish at the WGC-HSBC Champions in November.
“I think it’s nice to play golf, nice to feel like you’ve gained some confidence through the events that you’ve played,” Rose said. “It’s nice to be in contention and learn how you’ve handled it, and make adjustments if you need to or gain the confidence from playing well under pressure.
“That’s what you need going into a major, just to make sure you’re a 100 percent, mentally.”
Rose is off to a good start at Valspar after a second-round 3-under 68 had him just one shot off the lead at 3-under 139 when he completed his morning round.
He was 4 under through 14 holes before bogeys at Nos. 6 and 8. He bounced back, though, with a chip-in birdie at the par-4 ninth, his final hole of the day.
“(That) will make lunch tastes great,” Rose said.
Rose admitted a nine-week layoff after the HSBC Champions was not ideal, and that he’s had to shake off the rust since returning from injury at the Northern Trust Open. He had to withdraw from the Honda Classic two weeks ago because he didn’t feel like he was ready for four straight weeks of action.
Yet, one good finish at a tough Copperhead course can get him going in the right direction.
“I feel like I’m getting competitive,” Rose said. “I feel like this is the kind of golf course that tells you a lot about where you’re at. You can’t really get away with it around here.”