sport

Rose ready for comeback

Justin Rose will make his comeback from a two-month injury lay-off in this week's Northern Trust Open in California.

US Open champion Rose is set to return to action at the Riviera Country Club after being sidelined with a shoulder injury that forced him to miss the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on the European Tour and Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour last month.

The 33-year-old admits he has rushed his recovery in order to get back on the course and begin his preparation for next week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and then the Masters at Augusta National in April.

"A lot of hard work went into me being here," said Rose. "It was a race against time to really get back playing and get back strong.

"If I'm honest, I've only really been hitting balls, drivers, for about a week, 10 days now. So it really has been down to the wire.

"My immediate focus is just continuing to improve as a golfer and really have the discipline every week to go out and execute my skill set, which I believe is growing and getting stronger every week.

"That's how I'm going to play my best golf. That's how I'm going to contend in majors. Certainly I want to be 100 percent come April.

"I figured that I wanted to get out and play, and if I wanted to play well in the near future, I thought it was important for me to get out and play some competitive golf.

"My game's felt really good at home. I'm swinging it really nicely and everything technically looks really good. I had an opportunity to spend a lot of time on my short game, but when you get a scorecard in your hand everything is a little different. So I wanted so make sure I got my season underway."

Rose is a 25/1 chance with Sky Bet to make a winning return in the Northern Trust Open.

American Dustin Johnson is a solid favourite at 11/1 after finishing second behind Jimmy Walker (20/1) at Pebble Beach last week when he almost snatched the win with a 66 in the final round.

Defending champion John Merrick can be backed at 80/1 but Bill Haas represents a better bet at 25/1 after finishing 12th, 1st and 3rd in the tournament in the last three years.

South African Charl Schwartzel tied for third with Haas last year and he is a 33/1 chance, while English duo Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter are an eye-catching 66/1 and 80/1 respectively after their poor start to the year.

Catch the first round of the Northern Trust Open live on Sky Sports 4 HD from 10pm on Thursday.