PINEHURST, N.C. -- Now that hes got that pesky major out of the way, Justin Rose is learning to savour the quest for his next big title. Hes not nearly as optimistic about Englands chances in the World Cup. Rose is the reigning champion heading into the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, a player who is certainly more at ease with his place in golf now that hes got one of those prestigious titles on his resume. "In the last few months, I sort of realized what I have achieved and its time to embrace it, enjoy it, and let that be the strength for me to go on and win more," Rose said Tuesday. Of course, theres another big sporting event beginning this week, one that will certainly have the attention of Rose and his fellow English players. Their soccer-mad nation has a huge opening match in the World Cup against Italy on Saturday, the soccer game scheduled to begin in Brazil about the time the third round of the Open is wrapping up in North Carolina. Reflecting the mood of his homeland, Rose is not very hopeful. Englands only World Cup title came in 1966 and expectations are low for this team, a youthful squad playing in one of the most difficult groups. "I would say theres probably more chance of one of us winning the major than England winning the World Cup," said Rose, among 11 English players in the Pinehurst field. "Sad to say." Roses primary focus will be on his bid to become the first repeat U.S. Open champion in a quarter-century. Last years triumph at Merion had been in the making for nearly that long, ever since Rose finished fourth as an 18-year-old amateur at the 1998 British Open. He spent the next 15 years trying to finish the job, chasing a major title that seemed increasingly elusive as the close calls began to pile up, the weight of expectations becoming almost too much to bear. Then, just when it seemed he might have a lifetime membership in the "Best Players Never To Win A Major" club, Rose won a duel with Phil Mickelson at the venerable club outside Philadelphia, clinching the title with a 4-iron into the demanding 18th hole that gave him the par he needed to hold off Lefty. "I havent been one of those guys who said, OK, well, Im going to win X amount of majors in my career," Rose said. "I really want to treat this major that Ive won now as a gift and let it give me the ability to sort of free-wheel for the rest of my career -- play free, play loose, just go after it. Ive really got no pressure on me from that perspective anymore." Not surprisingly, the U.S. Golf Association paired Rose and Mickelson in the first two rounds. Both hope theyll still be playing together in the final group on Sunday. "I enjoy playing golf with Phil," Rose said. "I enjoy the spirit in which he plays the games, how free he is out there. Hes got a great temperament for the game. Nothing seems to faze him. Thats something a lot of players can look up to him for." Curtis Strange, the last player to win consecutive Opens in 1988 and 89, is pulling for Rose to join the exclusive club. "If Justin would happen to do it this year, that would be the first phone call," Strange said. "That would be fantastic." Rose missed the cut in his last tournament, the Memorial, though he thinks that might turn out to be a good break because it gave him more time to get familiar with Pinehurst. Before that stumble, he had ripped off three straight top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour, including a tie for fourth against a loaded field at The Players Championship. His biggest challenge this week might be keeping his mind on golf. During the 2010 World Cup, Rose held a three-shot lead going to the final round of the Travelers Championship. That morning, he watched Englands title hopes fade away with a 4-1 loss to Germany. Then he went out and shot a 75, finishing three shots behind winner Bubba Watson. "I never really calmed down," Rose recalled. "So maybe Ill be a little bit more careful about my emotions watching the football." After all, hes probably Englands best hope for a championship. Kevin King Jersey . No surprise there. Kershaw, who also earned the title after throwing his first career no-hitter in June, had a 1. Lance Kendricks Jersey . Andrew Luck couldnt believe his ears. Colts fans couldnt believe the scoreboard, and the Kansas City Chiefs couldnt believe their incredibly bad luck. http://www.officialgreenbaypackersfootba...jersey-womens.J. -- While Martin Brodeur wasnt willing to say he stole one for the New Jersey Devils against the Columbus Blue Jackets, almost everyone else was. Muhammad Wilkerson Jersey . - The Baltimore Ravens and tight end Dennis Pitta reached agreement on a five-year contract Friday. Jake Ryan Jersey . DeGrom outpitched Jake Peavy in a tantalizing hitless duel that carried into the seventh inning Saturday night before the New York Mets broke loose and beat the San Francisco Giants 4-2.FIVE QUICK HOOPS THOUGHTS 1. LEBRON JAMES (Heat): Totally agree with his stance to take a little family vacation and get away from the noise and reflect on what his next step should be in his career. Also allows Heat president Pat Riley to assess his roster and the prospects for improving his club. Im sure the two will have another in-depth conversation when he returns to set the stage for the next Decision. As we all know, too often were so busy that we dont take enough time to truly size up where were at in our lives and careers and get swept up in the busy nature of our daily existence. James has lots to think about. Five Finals appearances with the Cavs and Heat and two NBA titles. Not a bad run so far. The next step will be a huge one to say the least. 2. SAM MITCHELL (TWolves): Hired as an assistant coach by his longtime coach when he played there, Flip Saunders. Great move by Saunders. Love this hire for their team. Sam will have his back and do a terrific job for him. Sidney Lowe is another top notch hire for Saunders. Flip is a terrific coach, yet isnt the most domineering personality and needs strong assistants to "put out fires" on occasion. Mitchell and Lowe are excellent and both have head coaching experience, which really helps. Obviously, mixed emotions on my part - had a lot of fun working with Sam the past few years at TSN and in the years he was the Raptors head coach. Will miss him yet Im thrilled for him - hes an outstanding coach and leader and Im happy for his sake that hes back where he wants to be - on the sidelines. 3. KAWHI LEONARD (Spurs): MVP of the NBA Finals getting lots of attention in the past few days and deservedly so. Hess got an outstanding future ahead of him and by all accounts is a big time worker who is very coachable.dddddddddddd Those are wonderful traits to have. No surprise coming from a Spur. They do a really nice job sizing up guys and their character. Hes in the right environment to grow considerably as a player in the years to come. Moments like these usually cause a player to take that next step and give them a true sense of what they can accomplish. Sometimes as a coach, you see it in them and they dont. I think he realizes now what he can/cant do and will develop further. Id sure love to have his future. 4. LIONEL HOLLINS: Only the Cavs and Lakers still have head coaching openings and well see if hes lucky enough to get one of them. If not, there are rumours that folks would like him to serve as an assistant coach. Im sure this is a tough time for him after doing such a great job in Memphis to still not be able to land a head coaching job. Very humbling business for such a proud man to deal with this. Hell get through it. I have no doubt that somewhere down the road a very smart GM will give him another chance that he both deserves and will thrive in. 5. NBA DRAFT and FREE AGENCY: I laugh so much this time of year with all of the lies and misinformation that both agents and teams put out there to steer folks in the wrong direction. Id love for someone to track what ends up being fact and fiction in the next 15-17 days. I assure you most of what we hear and read ends up being planted nonsense and other times its some media members thoughts and opinions that end up taking on a life of its own and becoming fact until it ends up being pure speculation. Fun time of year. 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