Justin Rose is coming back to Scotscraig in Tayport 25 years on – but as tournament organiser rather than player.
Rose was just 14 when he attempted to qualify for the Open Championship in 1995. He was allotted a place in one of four Final Qualifying events at Scotscraig, the 13th oldest club in golf.
Now the former US Open champion is going to use the much-admired links at Tayport in Fife as a venue for one of the Rose Series events, a schedule of tournaments he and wife Kate organise for women professionals and amateurs.
Lockdown tournaments proved a huge success
The Rose Series was launched last year during the first pandemic lockdown to provide playing opportunities for women while the Ladies European Tour and top amateur events couldn’t take place.
The schedule of events proved such a success that Rose has put together another schedule, including a Scottish venue for the first time.
Scotscraig will host an event as part of the circuit’s second leg on August 7. It will follow Hillside in Southport (August 2), the championship links at Royal Birkdale (August 3) and the JCB Golf and Country Club (August 5).
The series will open at West Lancs on April 29 and take in Woburn (May 6), Brokenhurst Manor (May 13) and The Berkshire (May 21).
A final leg will be played at Rose’s home club at North Hants (September 20) and The Buckinghamshire (September 23). The grand final is at Bearwood Lakes on September 25.
First prize at each event will be £10,000, with £25,000 on offer to the winner of the grand final.
‘These courses are very close to my heart’
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Rose said the courses chosen were “close to my heart”.
“It’s great that we’ve been able to put this all together and there’s always so many to thank,” he said.
“These obviously include the female players themselves, as they were the ones which made the series such a hit.
“When you have pros with the profile of Charley Hull and Georgia Hall competing, it clearly ramps up the status and interest.
“The increase in prize money will concentrate the minds still further. I’ve always said you can’t beat the experience of having a card in your hand.
“As much as my schedule allows, I’ll be in attendance, especially as these courses are very close to my heart.
“There is Birkdale, and my home course of North Hants. Scotscraig is our first event in Scotland, where I tried to qualify for the Open as a 14-year-old.”
An honorary member at the Tayport club
Birkdale was where Rose announced himself on the world stage. Just three years after his Scotscraig attempt, he finished fourth in the Open at age 17. His holing out from the rough at the last for a spectacular birdie entered Open folklore.
But Scotscraig was where his Open career began. Although he didn’t qualify after rounds of 70 and 73, it proved to be a key milestone in his career the Englishman has never forgotten.
In 2018 Rose returned to Scotsctraig to accept an honorary membership of the club in a special ceremony.