Justin Rose ready for PGA after back injury at Firestone

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              Justin Rose, of England, leaves a news conference at the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club, Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Justin Rose skipped playing practice rounds for the PGA Championship, preferring instead to rest a sore back that forced him to withdraw from last week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

He walked each nine at Bellerive Country Club, though, and he thinks that’s good enough.

“The great thing is I haven’t hit a bad shot in two days. So I’m coming in feeling pretty good about that,” the world’s third-ranked player said jokingly. “I just feel like walking it has been quite an interesting experience. … I feel like I’ve actually got a clear vision of the golf course.”

Rose explained that by walking the course, and only doing a bit of chipping and putting, he was able to better focus on the setup. He could examine potential pin placements and where to avoid trouble off the tee, rather than letting the technical parts of his swing cloud his thoughts.

“I have the time to look around a little more closely,” he said. “I’m not dictated by where I’ve hit my ball, and then you kind of get concerned with that and those visuals.”

Rose admitted it’s a different way to approach a major championship, but the winner of the 2013 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills has been in enough of those that he knows what to expect. He lost in a playoff to Sergio Garcia at the Masters last year, and twice he’s been top 5 at the PGA.

As for the back, Rose said a joint tightened up last week and that he could have played through it had it been the end of the season. But with the PGA Championship on deck, not to mention the FedExCup and Ryder Cup, the prudent decision was to bow out at Firestone.

“I hit some balls today and felt absolutely fine and really comfortable with my swing and the way it’s moving,” he said. “It’s been a slightly different preparation for me this week because of it, but I think it’s all been about trying to get to Thursday and be ready for Thursday.”