Whole lotta Rosie

TIM MCKAY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:32 AM ET

Before this season, Justin Rose was known as the prodigy who never quite met lofty expectations.

Yes, everyone remembers his magical run as a 17-year-old amateur at Royal Birkdale in the 1998 Open Championship. He delighted home fans with a hole-out birdie on the 18th hole to finish tied for fourth and promptly turned pro the following week.

It's well documented that he missed a number of cuts after turning pro and, after some moderate success in Europe, was a decent player on the PGA Tour.

However, with a pair of wins in the past month, Rose now is headed home a legitimate contender for the world's oldest open championship, July 15-18 at St. Andrews.

And he's taking along his not-so-secret weapon: Canadian swing coach Sean Foley.

Foley, who started working with Rose about a year ago, says he knew the young golfer had it in him to win at golf's highest level.

Foley suggested Rose also enlist renowned sports psychologist Gio Valiante and there has been no looking back, with the golfer making all but a few cuts since.

With his victory at the Memorial in the first week of June, Rose collected his first PGA Tour win (and just over $1 million US). He was in line for another victory two weeks ago at the Travelers Championship but blew up on the final day with a 75 to settle for a tie for ninth.

Foley said his student was disappointed about it but used it as a learning experience.

"I said, 'Look, Rosie, you gotta be there to choke,' " Foley said. "If you're in that position and you win three times out of 10, you'll be in the hall of fame."

Undeterred, Rose went out and won last week's AT&T National to vault to second in FedEx Cup standings.

So, Foley's star student should be a shoo-in for the Open, right?

Not so fast.

"Rosie is British, so he has a tendency to try too hard," Foley says, adding that if he's able to keep things in perspective, he should be OK.

Foley says he wouldn't count out another of his pupils, Sean O'Hair.

"Sean can make the ball go up and down like Star Wars, it's unbelievable," he said of O'Hair's ability to control the flight of the golf ball, which can come in handy at St. Andrews if the wind is blowing.

Foley, who is spending a rare week off at his parents' home in Burlington, Ont., is looking forward to the week at the British Open. He is taking his family with him and says it will be neat to give his parents "the experience of seeing what it's like when I'm calling from all over the place."

Foley's father is from Glasgow and they've rented a house about 900 metres from the first tee, he says.

Oakmont nasty

The nasty Oakmont Country Club has many predicting the U.S. Women's Open winner will shoot over par.

The players aren't mincing words, either, making their feelings about the course known via Twitter.

"For the record. I have never in all my life seen a golf course like Oakmont. This place is a beast and a half," wrote Christina Kim.

And perhaps the most telling comment came from Paula Creamer:

"Please be nice USGA!"

Open border

A record-tying 10 Canadians will be competing in the U.S. Women's Open, beginning Thursday at Oakmont Country Club. That number includes LPGA members Lori Kane of Charlottetown, Samantha Richdale of Kelowna and Hamilton's Alena Sharp, who is coming off a good performance at the Owens Corning Classic last week. Recently turned pro Kirby Dreher of Fort St. John, B.C., also is competing, as are Team Canada Development Squad members Rebecca Lee-Bentham of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Christine Wong of Richmond, B.C. Team Canada members Sara Maude Juneau of Fossambault, Que., Jennifer Kirby of Paris, Ont., and Nicole Vandemade of Brantford, Ont., round out Canada's largest contingent at the U.S. Open since 1998.


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