When Justin Rose finished the 72nd hole of a grueling 113th U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club, he blew a kiss skyward, an emotional gesture to his deceased father on Father's Day.
His old swing coach and mentor, Ken Rose, died 11 years ago at 57 years old from leukemia.
"Yes, the look up to the heavens was absolutely for my dad," Rose said. "Father's Day was not lost on me today. You don't have opportunities to really dedicate a win to someone you love. And today was about him and being Father's Day. I felt that it was just ‑‑ I got a beautiful text that said go out and be the man your dad taught you to be and be the man that your kids can be proud and look up to. That's how I tried to carry myself out there. My dad was the inspiration the whole day.
"I was trying to keep it together, obviously, because I didn't want to be premature. Phil had two holes to play. But that was my time, the clouds had parted, it was kind of ironic. It was just a beautiful evening. And the way it worked out, I felt like I needed to do that."
Rose, 32, has come close in all four major championships, with top-five finishes in each prior to his first victory.
He couldn't contain his feelings after a par on the long, finishing hole — even if he had to wait for four-time major winner Mickelson to finish the 18th hole.
"A lot of us come from great men and we have a responsibility to our children to show what a great man can be," Rose said as he was handed the trophy. "I couldn't help but look up to the heavens and think that my old dad Ken had something do do with it."