Years since an Englishman has won PGA? 99, Justin Rose's lucky number

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Years since an Englishman has won PGA? 99, Justin Rose's lucky number

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Years since an Englishman has won PGA? 99, Justin Rose's lucky number

ST. LOUIS – It’s been 99 years since an Englishman has won the PGA Championship. That year was 1919, when James Barnes won his second of two straight titles. He also won the inaugural PGA in 1916.

Luckily for another Englishman, 38-year-old Justin Rose, No. 99 happens to hold significance.

“My wife’s lucky number was always 9,” Rose said. “She was born on the 9th of March. When we got married (in 2006), I figured double the luck, 99. I always liked double numbers anyway.”

Since then, Rose has played a golf ball with the No. 99 on it. He also has the lucky number on his Twitter handle, @JustinRose99.

So entering the 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive, Rose wouldn’t mind a little bit of help as he looks to add to a major collection that currently features only the 2013 U.S. Open trophy.

“I’m looking for any good omen I can get,” Rose said. “Certainly, it is time. I’m playing well enough to do it.”

Rose has eight top-10s in 13 starts in 2018, including five straight. He won three times late last year, and added a title at Colonial in May. However, he was forced to withdraw from last week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational with back spasms, which Rose expanded upon Wednesday: “I just had a facet joint tighten up, left sort of SIJ (sacroiliac joint) just got a bit grumbly.”

The withdrawal was more precautionary than anything, Rose said, but it still has affected his preparation for the year’s final major. He hasn’t played a full hole – and won’t before Thursday – but he has walked both nines, one each on Tuesday and Wednesday, with a wedge and putter.

“Sometimes you see (the course) very clearly when you walk it,” Rose said. “You’re not focused on the shots you’re hitting. You’re not focused on your swing. You’re focused on the setup of the golf course, potential pin placements … you just get a bit of a clearer vision sometimes, or certainly I do. Sometimes I stand at the back of the green, and I have the time to look around a little more closely. I’m not dictated by where I’ve hit my ball, and then you kind of get concerned with that and those visuals.

“And the great thing is I haven’t hit a bad shot in two days.”

Rose clearly isn’t concerned. He’s well rested, has the No. 99s marked and ready to go, and is ready to bring the Wanamaker Trophy home to England for the first time in nearly a century.

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