JUSTIN ROSE surpassed Nick Faldo as the most successful Englishman in the modern era on the PGA Tour and then dedicated a 24th worldwide win to his caddy following a two-shot victory in the Farmers Insurance Open.
Rose birdied two of his closing four holes in a score of 69 to capture a 10th Tour title by two shots with a 21-under par total on the Torrey Pines course.
Both Faldo and Rose were tied on nine PGA Tour victories apiece with the six-time Major winning Faldo securing his last Tour title at the 1997 Nissan Open.
Remarkably Rose won for a first time in just his second 2019 PGA Tour event using a new set of Honma clubs.
“I am really happy I realy challenged the status quo and sort of changed everything up in trying to get better and that is thanks to the guys at Honma as I have felt really comfortable with the clubs immediately,” said Rose.
“It’s a whole new-look me and I don’t mind that if it’s going to produce this winning golf.”
And as Rose strode triumphantly down the final hole he mouthed to a TV camera: “This one is for you, Fooch”.
Rose was referring to his long-time caddy Mark ‘Fooch’ Fulcher, who is recovering after undergoing heart surgery.
And with Rose speaking earlier in the week of how ‘Fooch’, who caddied for him in some of his more-important wins including the 2013 US Open success, 2016 Olympic Gold Medal and three of five victorious Ryder Cups, had been texting him from the comfort of his England longue-room.
“There is a lot of cool things with this win, so today’s been a good day,” said Rose.
“To win 10 Tour titles and be now in double digits, that sounds a whole lot better than nine.
“It’s also been sort of an emotional week, a different week. Obviously I dedicated this one to my caddie Fooch, who’s sitting at home and probably finding it much harder to sit at home than actually being out here and probably harder than the heart surgery itself watching this weekend. This one’s for him.
“I mean, 21 under par around Torrey Pines is great golf obviously, but you had to do it. Adam Scott got right there and played some great golf coming down the stretch. It was a tricky day today. A three-shot lead is never easy, and just the start was anything that could go wrong did go wrong.
“So, it felt like I had to work hard for this one today. I guess to win in the position I am in the world rankings, too, kind of makes it — there’s a few little extra special pieces that make this win a fun one.”
Rose explained that Fulcher’s recovery following mitral valve replacement remains on a good course.
“He’s doing well,” Rose said. “He’s in his own room now up there, which is great. He’s got to stay in the hospital for another week or so just to continue to be checked out, but he’s making progress.
“As for his return. I don’t know, anything from six weeks to three months really. I’ll expect him to be back for the Masters and anything before that would be a bonus.”
Aussie Adam Scott was runner-up posting a 68 for a 19-under par tally and with Rory McIlroy signing-off for a 69 to share fifth place at 14-under par.
Tiger Woods stormed home producing five birdies in a 67 to share 20th place at 10-under in his first event of the new year.
“It was good to finish in double-digits as I was talking about yesterday, so it felt good,” Woods said.
“That was the goal starting out the day, and after three-putting there at 6, wasn’t ideal. I still had one par 5 left, but I had a birdie at 8, birdied 9, so the goal was to shoot something that got me into double digits and I did.
“I’m very proud of that. Got to have these little goals when I’m not in contention to win a tournament, but still something positive to end the weekend and the week on.”