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Rose sees opportunity for McIlroy

Justin Rose believes Rory McIlroy should relish the hype which will accompany him throughout this week's Open Championship at Sandwich.

McIlroy has been far and away the biggest story in golf all year, from his four-shot lead and last-round collapse at the US Masters to his record-breaking triumph in the US Open at Congressional last month.

Rose had a taste of such attention after finishing fourth in the Open as a 17-year-old amateur in 1998, with every subsequent missed cut as a professional - 21 in a row - recorded for posterity. He said: "It's a great opportunity. To be coping with that means you have already achieved great things. It's a challenge to relish."

He added: "I was not a seasoned great player. I did not have the skills to rely on that Rory does. He has done it for quite a long time now, he is much better equipped to cope than I was."

Rose will also hope he himself is better equipped to cope with Sandwich than he was eight years ago, when rounds of 79 and 80 saw him miss the cut by a distance and 140th out of 156.

"I hope so. I have really been looking forward to coming back," Rose joked. "I really enjoyed my practice round.

"It was nice to play it in calm conditions as a sort of baseline. It's a big improvement from 2003 in terms of course set-up.

"They haven't changed the nature of the course, you never like to see an historic links changed, but they've made some subtle changes, almost invisible.

"I think the winning total will be under par, but I think you will need to earn your score. There's a lot of trouble. If you get aggressive in the wrong places you are going to make bogeys. You have to make a lot of putts from 30ft because it's tough to get it close."


From Belfast Telegraph