Actually, it was an equipment snafu that made Rose's first months as a pro so difficult. On the eve of the British Open his driver was either misplaced or stolen. Its replacement—pulled at random from an equipment rep's bag on the practice range—served him well that week, so Justin continued to use it. Before long, though, he was hitting only three or four fairways a round and, despite his efforts to correct the problem, his swing became overly steep and unsynchronized.
"Four weeks ago I took the club in to have the swing weight checked," says Ken. "It was D-naught! There's nobody in the game who could swing a club with a shaft that light." Rose switched back to a driver with a D-6 swing weight, and overnight his distance and accuracy returned. "You've got to know your equipment," says his dad. "That's the biggest lesson we've learned."
Yet to be learned: how to kill time in foreign lands. Ken likes to go out at night, but his grind of a son prefers to watch some telly and be in bed by 10. "Sometimes," Ken says, "I twist his arm, and we go to a movie."
Was Justin foolish to turn pro so young? "I don't think so," says his dad. "Definitely not," says the fledgling pro, who dismisses his recent struggles with a smile. "It hasn't really dented my confidence," he says.
To prove it, he lashes a low, piercing drive into a crosswind so strong that his father has to hold his straw hat on with two hands. "Good shot, that," yells Ken, watching the ball drop safely between a pond and some grassy mounds.
It was a needed reminder that Rose, like his three counterparts in the States, is in it for the long haul. Chuasiriporn will probably turn pro after the NCAAs next May, assuming she passes Biological Anthropology and Introduction to the Lower Extremities. Kuchar might dip his toe back in the endorsement stream next summer, after another showcase at Augusta. Martin will drive on toward his goal—a PGA Tour card. "I know I can do it someday," Martin says.
Actually, they all said that.