Justin Rose: Going on Novak Djokovic style diet key to Masters display and 10lb weight loss
A Novak Djokovic-style diet has Justin Rose “feeling better than ever before” and makes him readily able to extract the many positives from a performance which would have been worth at least a play-off in 13 of the past 14 Masters tournaments.
Only David Duval previously knew what it felt like to shoot 14 under around Augusta and leave Georgia without a Green Jacket. While Rose is understandably disappointed not to become the first European to win the Masters in 16 years, he believes the new regime, which he began a month ago, has helped him to turn the corner after a woeful start to the campaign.
Rose initially sought out a dietitian to assist with his allergies, but he soon discovered the extra benefits of the healthier lifestyle. Rose feels that it has helped with his flexibility.
“I have given up gluten, like Djokovic. It worked for him – he is a little whippet,” Rose said. “I reckon I have lost eight to 10 pounds and I feel so much better for it. My joints feel amazing, no soreness, no early morning creaks. It has been amazing. I’m still training and still lifting in the gym and have kept my strength up. It’s just the unwanted stuff that’s disappeared. But I did go back on the beer last night.”
Surely nobody would begrudge him that. In fact there was plenty to celebrate for the 2013 US Open champion, who burst back into the world’s top 10. Having missed three cuts in four events and then finished outside the top 30 at the Houston Open in the week before Augusta, this was what he called a “momentum starter”.
He said: “There’s two ways to look at it. You can think that I shot 14 under and I’ll take that next year and the year after that and take a lot of confidence from that. But you’ve got to play it on the day, too. I felt like there were moments in which I could have done better and I’ll learn from those moments and think about them.
"But overall, I was happy the way I stuck with it, and to come here with not a lot of form so far this season, to finish tied second [with Phil Mickelson] is obviously a good result. I feel like my season is now under way.”
Since making his breakthrough at Merion two years ago, Rose has often told us that the rest of his career will be about the majors, as well as making himself indispensable to Europe in the Ryder Cup, as he was at Gleneagles last September.
But as he endured his worst spell in four years in February and March, Rose lost sight of his primary ambition.
“You look at Rory’s year last year, it was all about how he played in the summer. And [when he was missing cuts] I kept telling myself it’s a long year and that this year for me is going to be about April to September, when the big tournaments come around, and that’s when I want to play well.
“I’m very happy it turned around this week at a major, but the thing that was most important for me was the fact I have not been in contention this year and did not have any positive vibes on which to draw. So I was really pleased at how comfortable I felt in that situation, playing last group in the Masters on Sunday. That makes me very hungry to get there again very soon.”
Rose plays in New Orleans next week and will then be one of the favourites at the WGC Matchplay. In San Francisco, he will be joined by two other Englishmen who also finished in the top 10 at Augusta. Paul Casey and Ian Poulter tied for seventh and for the former this meant a return to the world’s top 40 for the first time in more than three years, a humbling period which saw the former world No 3 fall out of the world’s top 100. “I didn’t have my A game so the fact I posted a top 10 was wonderful,” Casey said.
“It was just great to be back there – I missed it for a couple of years and have already guaranteed my ticket for next year [by finishing in the top 16]. I feel like I’m firing again the way I used to, so with some good world ranking points I’m moving in the right direction.”
Nevertheless, Casey is sticking to his plan to resist rejoining the European Tour until next year. That means he will not be eligible to earn Ryder Cup points this year when the race to Hazeltine begins in August. But he is confident of making his first appearance since 2008. “I have already talked to Darren [Clarke, the Europe captain] about it. I’ve told him I will be part of it. I will be there.”