BELEK: Justin Rose is not only looking to successfully defend his Turkish Airlines Open title but in the process return to golf's world number one ranking.
Rose reached the pinnacle of the world rankings in a bitter sweet scenario of losing a play-off last month to American Keegan Bradley in the PGA Tour's BMW Championship in Philadelphia.
However, the Englishman held the title for just two weeks ahead of Dustin Johnson returning to the top while triple major winning Brooks Koepka currently is rated the game's best.
“It would be a great double whammy to win this week and then also go back to World No.1," said the current number two.
“I set many goals between now and the end of the year including last week where I had the opportunity to defend (WGC-HSBC Champions) and in Indonesia I have the opportunity to defend as well as here in Turkey.
“It is something I haven't been able to do in my career and that is my goal, certainly for that collective three events.
“I said a while back, that I wanted to get to World No. 1 by winning golf tournaments, and I got there by finishing second at the BMW a month or so ago.
“This would be, yeah, a great place to knock off two big goals of mine, which is to get back to world No. 1 obviously, because once you get a taste for it, it's quite nice, and secondly, to defend a title would be a special feeling, too."
Rose was speaking ahead of teeing-up on the Regnum Caya Resort course at Belek and where he will face tough opposition in the likes of fellow Englishman Tommy Fleetwood.
Fleetwood is currently lying second on the European Tour Race to Dubai and some 1.4 million euros behind the absent Italian Francesco Molinari, and with three events remaining the long-haired Fleetwood can mathematically still retain his crown.
“It would be great if I was to again finish the year as European number one," he said.
“It's not the first thing I'm thinking about, really. Coming into this part of the year, having any chance, whatever that is, shows you've had a great season for those guys that do have a chance, and I would love to get to Dubai with a chance of winning.
“But it's really not the first thing on my mind. I'm practising each day and really this tournament comes first, and this is my only chance, really, to sort of have that chance in Dubai.
“We'll see what we can do this week. Hopefully I can continue that good play and find myself there on Sunday with a chance and maybe this one might be my week."
Rose and Fleetwood have been drawn to contest the opening two rounds in the same group and joined by their Ryder Cup winning teammate in Dane Thorbjorn Olesen.