ARDMORE, Pa. — Next week marks four years that Justin Rose first began working on his swing with Sean Foley. But in the moments after winning the U.S. Open for his first major championship, Rose referred to him as more than just a swing coach.
He gave credit to Foley for improvements each year, particularly being able to hit the ball a little longer and a little straighter. Rose also mentioned a text that Foley sent him Sunday morning before he closed with an even-par 70 for his two-shot win.
"He said something along the lines of just go out there and be the man that your dad taught you to be and be the man that your kids can look up to," Rose said Sunday. "Really, that was my goal. Today was about winning the U.S. Open, but it was also about honoring great men that have come before us. A lot of us have that sort of situation with their fathers."
Rose lost his father, Ken, to leukemia in 2002 when Rose was 21 and is just starting to recover from a rocky start to his pro career. Rose describes their time together as quality over quantity.
As for Foley?
"I would say it's more than just a player-coach relationship," he said. "I regard him as a true friend, and I regard him as someone who if I ever had a question about golf or about life, he would be very much at the top of my list. He's a very interesting character and very strong mentally. And he passes that on well."
ON THE BUBBLE: Jimmy Walker, who narrowly missed out getting into the top 60 in the world for an exemption to the U.S. Open, is on another bubble again.
Walker is among those who have three weeks to crack the top 20 in the FedEx Cup for a chance to get an exemption into the British Open. Walker is at No. 21. After the Greenbrier Classic, the leading five players — not already exempt — from the top 20 in the FedEx Cup will earn a spot at Muirfield.
Colonial winner Boo Weekley is at No. 8 and would appear to be safe. The other players inside the top 20 and not yet in the British Open field are Charles Howell III (No. 14), Sony Open winner Russell Henley (No. 15) and St. Jude winner Harris English (No. 17).
Right behind Walker are Byron Nelson winner Sang-Moon Bae, Scott Stallings and Martin Laird of Scotland.
The only other way for a PGA Tour player to earn a spot into the British Open would be to win the John Deere Classic, which is held the week before the Open.
MEMORABLE SECONDS: The U.S. Open has been held five times at Merion, and already four players who were runner-up are in the Hall of Fame — Gene Sarazen (1934), Lloyd Mangrum (1950), Jack Nicklaus (1971) and Phil Mickelson (2013).
Sometimes it's the strength of the leaderboard — not necessarily the winner — that shows what kind of championship test a course provides. Merion passes both tests. Of its five U.S. Open champions, all are multiple major champions except for Justin Rose, who won his first one Sunday at age 32.
Merion might not have the best list of second-place finishers for a U.S. Open.
Oakmont has held the U.S. Open eight times and its runners-up include Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk (2007), Colin Montgomerie (1994), Tom Watson (1983), Arnold Palmer (1962) and Sam Snead (1953).
The strongest list would have to go to Olympic Club in San Francisco, however. That list features Hogan, Palmer, Watson, Payne Stewart and Graeme McDowell.