sport

Rose warns Masters debutants

Justin Rose believes history will be against Masters debutants Stephen Gallacher, Victor Dubuisson and Joost Luiten next week.

Fuzzy Zoeller was the last man to win on his first appearance at Augusta National in 1979, and the only other debut victories were recorded by Horton Smith and Gene Sarazen in the first two years of the tournament.

Gallacher, Dubuisson and Luiten have earned their places in the field with excellent performances worldwide and are also flying high in qualfying for the Ryder Cup in September.

But Rose has warned them that they face a tough task merely to complete 72 holes at Augusta.

"The learning curve at Augusta is steep, very steep," said the US Open champion, who has never finished outside the top 40 in eight Masters appearances.

"I think the general rule is that if you make the cut the first time at Augusta, then that's a successful performance.

"Certainly that's how it was framed in my mind in 2003. I played with Adam Scott and Charles Howell, which was a great pairing.

"We were all in a very similar mould, at similar ages and breaking through at that time. I think all three of us made the cut and I remember having to two-putt the ninth hole to make it on the number.

Relief

"I was on the wrong level and was putting down one of those ridges. It was an incredibly fast putt so I did my best to lag it, but still knocked it past and had a four-footer to make the cut, which I made. I still remember the feeling of relief now.

"Just playing at Augusta is an amazing experience for any first-timer, it's an amazing experience going for the 10th time, to be honest with you.

"It's one of the few tournaments where you play practice rounds even though you don't really need to.

"You already know the course and your strategy, but you can't resist getting out there on that golf course. It's a magical place and I can't wait to get back there."

Sky's coverage of the Masters starts with the par-three contest on Wednesday. Tune in at 7pm on Sky Sports 4