Justin Rose not feeling pressure ahead of US Open title defence

The 33-year-old became the first Englishman to win the major since Tony Jacklin achieved the feat in 1970 with a two-shot triumph 12 months ago.

American Curtis Strange was the last man to defend the US Open in 1989, but world number nine Rose is hopeful of repeating that feat.

And because this year’s event will be played at the Pinehurst Resort – and not the Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania – Rose insists he does not feel the weight of expectation.

“If I was going back to Merion there would be the memories and expectation, and comparisons to how you played the year before,” Rose told Sky Sports News ahead of the second major of the year.

“But because it’s a different venue I see it as a whole new challenge. Can you adapt and can you bring your game like you did the year before to a new venue?

“I think Pinehurst will require a whole new set of skills. I think there will be a lot more running the ball along the ground and there”s a more extreme short-game test.

“But if I was able to come out on top at Pinehurst I would feel great about winning on two very different courses.”

Rose is looking forward to being announced as the defending champion when he takes to the first tee on Thursday and said he is pleased with his form leading into the event.

“I’ve had that honour (being announced as US Open champion) a few times,” he said.

“The first time it happened was at the Travelers Championship right after the US Open, and I was smiling while hitting my tee shot.

“It’s a great moment, but there’s no better moment than at a US Open when you’ve won it the previous year. You then realise how big that tournament was.

“I’ve got very comfortable living with the trophy, it still makes me smile when I pass it in the house and I still get the good feelings.

“I’ve got to the point now where I have to think about giving it back, so I’ve been focusing hard on 1988/89 and Curtis Strange being the last man to repeat.

“I’m looking forward to it. I’m running into some good form after a slightly slow start to the year for a couple of different reasons.”

Rose will begin the tournament playing with American Phil Mickelson ” who finished in a tie for second last year ” and English amateur Matthew Fitzpatrick.

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