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June 24, 2014

Justin Rose


DOUG MILNE: Justin Rose you thanks for joining us for a few minutes here at the Quicken Loans National. Just some thoughts on being back here at Congressional this week.

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, obviously great new sponsor on board. Just from a branding and signing point of view, it's a different look to the tournament but it's exciting that they are a part of this, what I say is a great event. It's been one of my favorites on TOUR for a number of years. I've been lucky enough to have won this tournament and won it at Aronimink, which was fine, it was a nice-two-year gap we had over there but I'm excited to be back at Congressional. The last time I played here was the U.S. Open. For me to be back playing this week is very, very exciting here at Congressional.

Q. Obviously this is a pretty tough track for a regular TOUR event. What's your take on what you prefer; would you like it to be toughened up or would you prefer more birdies?
JUSTIN ROSE: No, I like it toughened up. I think we have plenty of tournaments out on TOUR where there's a birdie-fest, and the real stout tests are becoming fewer and far between out on TOUR. I've always liked playing golf that 10-under wins. To me that's a great tournament. It offers you an opportunity to go out and post a score if you go out well and shoot a 65, and if you play well you make big inroads to winning a tournament and par is still a decent score. You know if you've come off the golf course and you've made a number, you've played well. I think courses like this offer you that opportunity, but if you are off your game, you are going to struggle which is the way I think it should be. So, yeah, I really like this type of test. I think I'm right in saying that obviously the U.S. Open was 16-under here and I think the last time this tournament was played, it was less -- it was 12. For me, that's a good setup.

Q. Have you had a chance to play this week at all?
JUSTIN ROSE: No, but I've heard the word is that it is in great shape and the rough is up a little bit. I'm assuming it's going to be a 10- or 12-under winning total. That's what I'm assuming but I haven't had a chance to see it yet.

Q. Tiger coming back is a huge theme and deal here. Can you just talk about having him back in, obviously the buzz it brings, but just the game in general, and if you're stepping away as a competitor, looking forward to seeing where he's at and where he goes from here?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, absolutely. I think there's always a fascination in terms of watching Tiger play golf and the run that he's been on throughout his career and what he still has to achieve in terms of his goals. I think golf will get really exciting if he starts winning a couple more Majors and the race to 18 becomes incredibly on again. I think that's incredibly exciting for the game of golf and will draw a lot more interest in the game once again. It's always good having him back in a tournament. I always felt if you win a tournament and Tiger is in the field, it makes it feel probably that bit more special. And just from an atmosphere point of view, yeah, definitely he brings out people to play, people to watch and that's always a fun environment to be a part of. So from a player's point of view, you want to compete against the best, you want to play against the best and if you manage to beat the best, it's a great feeling. From that point of view, it's always good to have him in the field.

Q. A lot of guys are using the ShotLink stats to become more analytical about their game and what they need to practice on. Just curious, have you gone that route?
JUSTIN ROSE: I've always paid attention to greens in regulation or fairways hit, but the ShotLink stuff is so in-depth now that it doesn't seem -- my putting from six feet, seven feet, eight feet, nine feet, ten feet; I might be 30th from six and seven feet, and 180th from eight feet and 60th from ten feet. Sometimes you can't really then go out and practice 8-footers because that's what you're 190th at. So sometimes it's how you interpret stats I think is very, very important. But I don't get that in-depth and detailed on it if I'm honest.

Q. What's the longest lay-off you've had because of an injury or just something nagging?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think for me, probably 2007 was a nagging season. I would sort of spend four or five weeks sitting out and I would play again and it would reoccur and I would spend four or five weeks sitting out and play again; but turned into one of my best years, too. I won The European Tour Order of Merit only playing 12 events. So in some ways I was incredibly fresh and every time I played, for some reason the freshness rather than the rustiness played in my favor. So that was that season. Then obviously the beginning of this year, I had another four-, five-, six-week break, trying to get the shoulder feeling good. I've never had what I called a prolonged spell out. If you have surgery, there's three or four months out of the game and that's obviously much tougher than four or five weeks. I've been lucky enough to only have that stretch out.

Q. So it didn't take that much to get back into form?
JUSTIN ROSE: To be honest I felt a little bit slow starting out this year. The thing is my four or five weeks out the beginning of the year came off the back of three or four weeks off that were scheduled because of the off-season, so it felt like eight or nine weeks. Yeah, it probably did take me a few weeks to get going and I felt like I really only sort of found my stride; post-Augusta, PLAYERS Championship onwards, if I'm honest. There was a little more playing my way in this year than I would have liked.

Q. Is there a feeling with Tiger, knowing how competitive he is, that he wouldn't be coming back here to get the rust off necessarily, or do you feel that any golfer, no matter who he is, has that part of the game; you have to get that rust off, and you may not expect him to be as competitive as he normally is?
JUSTIN ROSE: No matter who, I think there's an element of getting the rust off and if I was Tiger Woods I would probably be looking at The Open Championship and the decision to play here is because he doesn't want to be rusty at The Open Championship. I always feel like there's a slight lag effect: You can have your game on the range but it might take a week or two weeks or having a scorecard in your hand for five or six rounds. That's the case for all of us, if we're making, say, swing change or we just haven't played a lot of golf. Sometimes it takes time to get the scoring head back on; to be able to up-and-down it and keep momentum going in and around the golf, there are sort of key points in a round that I think you only get better at that just by playing a little bit of golf and getting tournament sharp. So for me, who knows, obviously Tiger, he always talks about being here to win and I'm sure that is the case but I'm sure there could be an element of looking a week or two ahead for The Open Championship.

Q. Seems like golfers, it's hard to know when is the right time to come back and a lot of you try to come back early. What makes it so difficult? Are you saying that you can only find out so much about where you're at on the range, or what makes this such a tricky transition?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think it is tricky, because in the back of your mind, you know that you've had three or four months out and it might take a month to get fired up and ready to go again and actually be ready to win tournaments and that adds another month to your rehab. I think maybe playing tournament golf for a first week or two should be included as rehab in a sense, because there is, yeah, just getting back into the swing of things can take a week or two or a month or so. Obviously as soon as you feel physically fit, I think then it's time to try to get out and start getting mentally fit back out on the golf course.

Q. Does the stress of competition, when you make your first return after an injury, start to exacerbate a possible injury; meaning, felt good on the range but now you're adding stress into the mix of a championship. Can you start to feel pain that you might not normally feel?
JUSTIN ROSE: It would make sense that that could be the case. I mean, it's very difficult to, very tough to quantify, but you know, mental stress, there's only one source of energy that you have, whether it's mental, physical or emotional, whatever it may be. So, yeah, if you're depleting yourself through mental stress, of course it can take its toll physically. I think we'd all like to be in that situation, obviously feeling at the end of the day, that's why we play the game is to feel that mental stress out there on the golf course. I think from a true sort of mechanical standpoint, if you have an injury, it is what it is, and I don't think you're really going to delay your recovery by being in contention or having some mental stress. I don't think it's going to worsen the effects. Who knows, I'm not a doctor, but I don't think so.

Q. What do you make of Jordan Spieth's game and the success he's had at such a young age?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think Jordan's obviously played phenomenally well. The fact he's got himself in contention so many times and in so many tournaments; he keeps showing up and he keeps knocking on the door. He keeps pocketing so much valuable experience right now and I think that's the way he's choosing to see it. I think if he can just ride out any potential frustration that might get in his way, I think what he's experiencing right now is so many positives and learning so much. What I notice with Jordan if he has a bad round, he always comes back stronger the next day. He seems to be very resilient. It's impressive from that perspective.

Q. Can you reflect on what attracted you to the sport of golf as a kid, and do you remember the first either tournament you won or the first big one you won?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think it was something I enjoyed doing with my dad, I think first and foremost, he got me into it. So just going out and spending time, probably got me away from some homework originally and I felt like I got good at it very quickly. So as a kid, if you're good at something, you want to keep doing it. And if you have any success early, which fortunately I did as a very young kid, I was head of my age group and that's who you compare yourself to as a kid. So for me it remained fun and I won a lot of tournaments as a kid; and again, that keeps it fun for you. Always enjoyed it over -- I played a lot of team sport. I played football. I can call it during football during the World Cup; you know what I'm talking about.

Q. You really want to bring that up?
JUSTIN ROSE: No, I don't want to bring that up. (Laughter). So I've played a lot of football, but I pushed that to the side because I started getting injured and hips and groins and stuff like that. Just kind of felt like it was getting in the way of my golf. So I sort of like the fact that it was always down to me, scorecard in my hand. I loved practicing golf and going out and being creative, dropping balls behind trees and out of different bunkers and different lies, and I loved the variability to the game and that's what kept me engaged.

Q. Do you have a memory of the first tournament you ever won?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think, well, for me, the big season for me was when I was 14. Had a lot of success that year. There's a big amateur event in my home club called the Hampshire Hog, and I won that at the age of 14, which was I guess a big deal regionally, and won it with a tournament score, I shot 69-65, and beat all the sort of big, old, grown-up guys. That's the one think that I was really a turning point in terms of me believing and knowing I was going to go on and be a pro golfer.

Q. Was it disappointing to pull out of the event last year and what is it like to be back this year?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, absolutely. After the U.S. Open, I wanted to keep my commitment to playing the Travelers Championship and here, then the AT&T. It became apparent after playing one week immediately after the U.S. Open that if I played again, I was just going to be in some shape to compete at The Open Championship. And if I'm honest, I felt like I had a hard time preparing for The Open as it was with everything that happened for me after the U.S. Open. I wasn't 100 percent ready to play. So that was my reason for pulling out was just to try and give myself half a chance at The Open. As it turned out, I didn't do a great job of that anyway. But it's great to be back this year. This tournament always falls in a very sort of busy time of year. It's in between a couple of Majors, but it's such a great tournament, and I think it suits my game and it's the type of profile event that I really enjoy to play.

DOUG MILNE: Justin, best of luck this week and thanks for your time.

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