Kate Rose, wife of Justin, winced when she saw the recent headline, the one which said that Justin had given £35,000 towards a run of one-day events for those UK women who are so desperately awaiting the day when the LET Tour restarts.
“Our thoughts were never about giving a donation and moving on,” said Kate. “What we had in mind was to help get the ball rolling for a group of girls who were getting nothing in the way of competitive practice.”
“Justin felt that it would take several events to get the players’ adrenaline flowing. At the same time, we both thought it important that the girls should get a bit of media attention. Players need to keep their names out there. With what’s been going on, that hasn’t been happening.” – Kate Rose
Justin’s best friend and UK manager, Paul McDonnell, had sent the Roses an article he had seen about Liz Young, an LET professional who was in the throes of organising a tournament for her sister professionals at her home club, Brokenhurst Manor.
McDonnell suggested to Justin that he might want to follow suit. However, by the time Justin and Kate had read the piece, they wanted to do more. “Justin,” said Kate, “felt that it would take several events to get the players’ adrenaline flowing. At the same time, we both thought it important that the girls should get a bit of media attention. Players need to keep their names out there. With what’s been going on, that hasn’t been happening.
“The two of us know just how hard we’ve had to work to make sure Justin has kept offering value to his sponsors over the last couple of months. To explain, he’s been getting more involved with company clients via Zoom and other outlets, he’s been doing more social media than he’s ever done, and he’s been giving golf tips.”
Kate, a European champion among gymnasts before she met Justin, revelled in the idea of helping the women out. It was one more good cause which was right up her street.
As a child, she always thought she would end up running an orphanage in South America. Then, in the days when this fluent linguist worked for IMG – she was signed on to run company days for the different European players – she spent her evenings as a volunteer at Charing Cross hospital.
Following on from there, she helped to run charity days for the players’ wives on the USPGA Tour; and when Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas where the family have their main home, she and Justin went to the rescue.
Starting with funds accrued as they celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Kate and Justin Rose Foundation, they set about rebuilding a children’s home which had been decimated in the storm. More recently, the pair have been behind the therapy sessions needed by children who had a lot to deal with even before they lost their home.
By way of a first move on the golf project, Kate, who has been working alongside McDonnell, rang Liz Young to say that she and Justin loved what she was doing at Brokenhurst Manor, and to ask how Young would feel if her event were to be the start of a series. Young’s reaction was one of sheer excitement at the thought that she could have started something.
Conscious of not trampling on anyone’s toes, Kate then spoke to Alex Armas, the CEO of the LET. The Spaniard, though the LET cannot contribute towards a scheme which can only involve UK members, loved the idea of this intervention, as did Dame Laura Davies. Kate had been put in touch with Laura via Mark Fulcher, who used to caddie for Laura before he worked with Justin. Laura has promised to play in some if not all of the tournaments, while Bronte Law could also feature among the 40-strong fields.
The event at Brokenhurst, which will take place on 18 June, will be followed by one at Moor Park on the 25th of the month. There will be four more in July – at The Buckinghamshire (2 July), which is the home site of the LET headquarters, Royal St George’s (9 July), JCB Golf and Country Club (16 July), Bearwood Lakes (23 July), along with the promise of a closing two-day affair, 30-31 July, where the venue has yet to be confirmed. (Any number of clubs have been in touch in the last few days to say that they would be happy to step in were the sixth and last event still to need a home.) The most amazing thing of all, incidentally, is that none among the courses concerned wants to be paid.
Most will see the highlight as the trip to Royal St George’s which will take place shortly before the links would have staged the Open. In this instance, Kate got in touch with the club via a friend of her non-golfing stepmother and, a couple of friendly phone calls further on, everything was in place. “The club were thrilled to be able to show off their links in Open guise,” she said.
“We’re hoping that the captains of all these clubs will be there on the day.” She and McDonnell will be on duty, with the events overall run by Excel Sports Management, the operation which comes under the umbrella of Mark Steinberg, the long-time manager of Tiger Woods.
For Justin, who cannot be around because of the quarantine rules attached to his current spell in the States, there will be the highlights package presented by Sky. The good news here is that Sky will have two crew members and a reporter at each of the courses.
The Roses threw in that £35,000 to their latest venture whilst knowing that they will have paid out a whole lot more by its end. Which is fine by them. “If others want to follow what we’ve done, well and good,” said Kate. “Whatever comes out of our efforts will be a bonus.
“We’re only doing what we thought was the right thing.”
The response suggests that it could not have been more right. Four thousand people had paid Twitter tributes to Justin’s efforts at the last count, with one of the latest from Juli Inkster, the former US Solheim Cup captain.
“Thanks so much to you and your wife for growing the women’s game,” Inkster wrote. “It’s such a positive thing. Impressive.”
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