By Brian Keogh
Back problems could wreck Justin Rose’s bid to steal a march on his Order of Merit rivals.
The English ace, 27, can leapfrog Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington and go top of the money list if he finishes first or second in the Portugal Masters
But the disc problems that have plagued Rose this year flared up on a visit to his chiropractor last weekend.
Forced to pull out of yesterday’s pro-am as a precaution, Rose said: “I couldn't get off the table for five minutes when it happened, but I couldn't have been in a better place. He could piece me together again.
“I anticipate being okay tomorrow. I made good progress on Sunday and Monday, and when I went for a check-up on Tuesday he said it looks good.”
Rose must play at least one more tournament to meet the 11-tournament minimum required by the European Tour and revealed that he might play next week’s Mallorca Classic if he is unable to tee it up this week.
Ranked third in the Order of Merit, €248,702 behind Els and just €30,000 adrift of Harrington, he knows that he must take advantage of the absence of his main rivals this week.
Els is not playing any more European Tour events this season but Harrington will be back for the Volvo Masters showdown from November 1-4.
Rose said: “The way I look at it, I need a big week in one of these two weeks - a top two or a top three.
“Being a significant amount behind Ernie would mean playing well in the two tournaments I am scheduled to play in.
“I am not going to be able to limp across the finishing line. I am going to have to play some very good golf.
“Winning the Order of Merit woudl be a bonus because it was not a goal at the beginning of the year.”