TRIBUTES have been flooding in from the golfing world after Ken Rose, the father, coach and mentor of Justin Rose, died on Monday night following a long fight against cancer. He was 57.
Ken, who successfully guided Justin through the depths of the junior ranks on the Hampshire circuit to his current status as Britain's number one, sadly passed away just three weeks after fulfilling a dream in watching his son make his American debut in a Major at the USPGA in Minnesota.
"Distraught" Justin is currently mourning his father's death at the family home in Fleet with his mother Annie, sister Maggie and brother Brandon.
Ken was not only Justin's coach, but his best friend, and the pair forged a unique partnership both on and off the course ever since Ken thrusted a plastic club in Justin's hands at his Johannesburg home when he was just 11 months old.
Hours spent on the practise greens at North Hants GC with Justin as a boy paid off when, at 17, Justin not only qualified for The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, but also took the golfing world by storm in finishing fourth.
Ken caddied for Justin that weekend in 1998 as he had done since Day One, and then went on to successfully guide his son through the pressures of turning professional - especially after Justin had missed his first 21 cuts as a pro.
But Ken was sadly forced to take a back seat in the autumn of 2000 when he was diagnosed with leukaemia, leaving top golfing guru David Leadbetter to take over the reins.
Despite going through chemotherapy, surviving two remissions and then having further treatment earlier this year, Ken never left Justin's side and watched proudly as his son worked his way up the European Tour Order of Merit with his most successful season to date.
Justin, 22, dedicated his first ever career win this year in his native South Africa to Ken, saying: "My dad's not so well and he is the guy I owe most to. He has put a lot of time, a lot of hours into my game. This win is more for him than anyone.
"I've had so many lows but my dad's battle with illness puts it all into perspective. It made me scared of nothing compared to what he has gone through."
Ken's bravery in fighting this illness obviously rubbed off on Justin this season after climbing to 37th in the world rankings and fifth in the Order of Merit table.
Justin was proud to have his father by his side during his first win on British soil at the British Masters at Woburn in June, and also for his opening two rounds in this year's Open at Muirfield, where he played with world number one Tiger Woods.
Since Justin's sudden rise to stardom, Ken has been quoted as saying: "I've had tough times but at least I've lived long enough to watch Justin realise all his - and my - dreams. I feel very proud."
A spokesman for Justin's agent IMG, said: "Our thoughts are with the family at this very sad time and may we please ask that the Rose family are left alone to grieve in private. As you can imagine Justin is distraught."
The News would like to express its sympathy and deepest condolences to Justin and his family at this sad time.