US PGA Championship: Tommy Fleetwood ‘can get over the line’ in a major
Justin Rose could climb to world number one for the first time with success at Bellerive
US PGA Championship 2018
Dates: 9-12 August Venue: Bellerive Country Club Coverage: Commentary on 5 live sports extra from 22:00 BST Thursday-Saturday; 5 live 20:30 Sunday; live text updates on BBC Sport website

Justin Rose says he is starting the US PGA Championship “semi-blind” having not played a practice round at Bellerive because of a back injury.

The 38-year-old Englishman, ranked third in the world, withdrew from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last week.

“It’s been a different preparation for me,” he said. “But it’s all been about trying to be ready for Thursday.”

“Going home and getting some, not just physical rest, but mental rest, could be a benefit.”

He added: “I could have persevered last week if it was the last event of the season or something like that, but with what’s coming up this week, with the FedEx Cup, with the Ryder Cup on the back end, it just wasn’t the prudent decision to play through.”

Rose has not played since finishing tied second at The Open Championship last month, sitting out of the WGC event at Firestone with what he described as a “grumbly” back joint.

Before the US PGA, the fourth and final major of the year, he walked around the Bellerive course in St Louis without his clubs on Monday and Tuesday.

“I have walked each nine and got some good visuals,” 2013 US Open champion Rose said.

“I hit some balls on Wednesday and felt absolutely fine and really comfortable with my swing and the way it’s moving.

“This golf course, the way it’s set up and the way it’s playing and the condition of it has afforded me… if there was ever a major championship, to be able to play it semi-blind, this is the course to do it on.”

Fleetwood ‘closing in’ on major

Rose’s compatriot Tommy Fleetwood says he is confident of “getting over the line” and winning his first major title in the near future.

Fleetwood finished second at the US Open in June – a shot behind Brooks Koepka – after carding a final-day 63, the joint-lowest round in the tournament’s history.

The 27-year-old then put himself into contention at The Open last month, before finishing 12th.

“I feel like I’m close and closing in,” said the world number 11.

Fleetwood has four victories on the European Tour and was crowned its number one player in 2017, when he won the season-long Race to Dubai.

But he is yet to win a major or a tournament in the United States.

Fleetwood’s US Open bid was damaged by a third-round 78, and he was one shot off the lead at the halfway stage of The Open before falling back on the Saturday.

Tommy Fleetwood says Bellerive seems to “require strong ball striking from us”

“Without a doubt, the next step in my career is to win in America and win a major,” he said.

“A lot of careers are defined on major championships. They are the ones that everybody wants to win and the ones everybody looks at.

“Since I’ve been playing well, and particularly since I’ve been playing well in the majors, I tend to look at them more.

“I have a sense of confidence and belief that I totally can get over the line and win one.

“It’s part of the plan, and it’s part of my career, hopefully, to have a couple of majors by the end of my career.”

Fleetwood played with eventual champion Justin Thomas in his opening two rounds at Quail Hollow last year and says he learned “a few things” from watching the American on the way to his first major title.

“The number one thing that stuck out really was how much he sort of struggled for a while in that first round, but stuck in, kept that belief and kept himself in the game and ended up winning a major,” Fleetwood said.

Meanwhile, European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn has pulled out of the US PGA with a back injury.

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