TONY JACKLIN praised Justin Rose's courage after watching him become the first Englishman to win a major championship for 17 years.
Rose's win at Merion was the first English triumph in a major since Nick Faldo won the Masters in 1996 and the first in the US Open since Jacklin claimed the crown in 1970.
It was the 32-year-old's first major win at the 37th time of asking and capped a remarkable resurgence after a difficult start to his professional career.
Rose burst on to the scene with a fourth-placed finish in The Open at Birkdale in 1998, but missed his first 21 cuts after turning professional.
He has since climbed the world rankings, winning tournaments on both sides of the Atlantic, and Jacklin believes those initial struggles only made him stronger.
He said: "He had that audacious chip in at Birkdale when he was 17 and then witnessed the difficult time he had after turning pro and all the struggles that he had. To fight through that takes a lot of courage and what was shown was exactly that.
"It takes a lot of courage to win a major championship.
"I was proud of him and I'm delighted for him.
"He's a good guy and he's good for the game and he hopefully will open the door for more British players to give us some of the same."
Three-time Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher echoed Jacklin's sentiments and thinks that Rose is now reaping the rewards of his commitment to his craft.
"He had really all the credentials from the start," he said.
"He was a great amateur player and played in the Walker Cup.
"He did have a setback when he first turned pro, he missed 21 cuts in a row when he turned professional so he's come through that and obviously he's a very special player to have come through that.
"He dug deep. He wanted to take his career to another level so he decided to go and live in America, where most of the majors are played, and he's done absolutely brilliantly.
"He has done well in recent years in majors. In 2003 he finished fifth at the US Open, he has led the Masters and last year he was third behind Rory (McIlroy) at the US PGA.
"I think you need all this experience so that when you do get yourself in a position like he got yesterday he can grab that experience that he's had in the the past and make it so useful."
A final-round level-par 70 secured Rose the title by two shots from Phil Mickelson and Jason Day on a day when the lead changed hands several times.
Rose, Mickelson, Day and Hunter Mahan were all in the hunt on the back nine, but a sensational par on the last, reminiscent of Ben Hogan's fabled one-iron from 1950, was enough to secure the title.
His drive up the last landed right next to the plaque which marks the spot from where Hogan hit his second shot and Gallacher believes Rose's cool-headed par ranked as even better than that of the nine-time major winner.
"It would seem by everyone that the last hole at Merion is one of the toughest holes in golf," he said.
"He hit an imperious drive at the last, sitting right beside Ben Hogan's plaque where Ben Hogan hit his one-iron on the green that is so talked about today.
"Well, to be honest, Justin Rose hit a better four-iron than Ben Hogan hit a one-iron and under the same pressure as well."