Rose warning for Masters debutants

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Justin Rose has warned of Augusta's steep learning curve Justin Rose has warned of Augusta's steep learning curve

Justin Rose has warned Masters debutants Stephen Gallacher, Victor Dubuisson and Joost Luiten they face a steep learning curve at Augusta National next week.

Only three players have won a green jacket on their debut in the year's first major, Horton Smith and Gene Sarazen doing so in the first two years of the tournament and Fuzzy Zoeller tasting victory in 1979.

And although Gallacher, Dubuisson and Luiten have performed well enough around the world to also be in line for Ryder Cup debuts in September, Rose believes simply playing all four rounds in the Masters will be a worthy achievement.

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

"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.

"I'm not sure if that was their first Augusta or not [they both actually played in 2002], but 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.

"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."

Gallacher effectively secured his place in the field by successfully defending his Dubai Desert Classic title at the start of February, although a share of sixth place in the WGC-Cadillac Championship last month made certain.

The 39-year-old's best finish in a major is a share of 18th in the 2010 US PGA Championship, but he has already secured a practice round with 1988 winner Sandy Lyle to pick his fellow Scot's brains on the best way to negotiate Augusta's unique challenges.

Gallacher is also trying to arrange some time with two-time champion Jose Maria Olazabal, who was the last European to win the Masters in 1999.

Rose was fifth behind Zach Johnson in 2007 - crucially making a double bogey on the 71st hole when just one off the lead - while Lee Westwood was second to Phil Mickelson in 2010 and joint third in 2012.

In the absence of the injured Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy is the bookmakers' favourite, although the former world number one's best finish at Augusta remains his share of 15th in 2011, when he held a four-shot lead going into the final round but collapsed to a closing 80.

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