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June 29, 2014

Justin Rose


MARK STEVENS: Like to welcome two-time winner of the Quicken Loans National, Justin Rose. Justin, exciting finish and playoff. If you want to take us through those last two holes today and then we'll have some questions.

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, absolutely. I'm obviously very, very excited to be a double-winner. It's the first double-winner I am of any tournament, and to be the double-winner of this one, it means a lot. Obviously Quicken Loans have come in and secured the future of this event, which is fantastic. It's a different name but it's definitely the National and a great tournament. Yeah, I was lucky enough to win at Aronimink and I have the Liberty Bell Trophy, but this trophy right here is one of the most special ones we play for all year. It's such a great looking trophy, and I have the double act, two of those great trophies. Yeah, down the stretch, I realized where I was on 17, and I realized how big that up-and-down was on 17 and making about an eight-foot putt there, breaking left-to-right was big. But it was only as big as how I played the last hole. I kind of made a hash of it a little bit, poor tee shot down the left, and I took the smaller gap of the two that I had available and I felt pretty comfortable that I would not hit the tree, but I put too much draw spin on the ball and once it got going left with the slope, it had no chance of staying dry. But I guess it all boiled down to my caddie said to me, "Listen, Shawn just bogeyed 17. You're tied for the lead. Just essentially make this putt." So everything else was forgotten at that point. I wiped the slate clean and just focused on my putt on 18. An amazing feeling in any sort of championship, when you make a putt like that that means something like that on the 18 hole, that's special. And then the playoff, it was just up to me to not do what I did the first time around. Hit a couple drivers in the break. My posture may have got a bit sloppy. I was hitting a couple shots toward the left at the end of my round. But I hit 15 or 20 balls in between me tapping out -- or holing out in regulation and playing the playoff. Just sort of fixed my feel a little bit and hit a good tee shot down 18.

Q. What were you trying to play through the gap or where were you hoping the ball was going to end up in regulation? And was there any part of that you felt any empathy when you saw Shawn effectively hit the same kind of shot in the playoff?
JUSTIN ROSE: What I was attempting to do, I had two trees that I had to fit the ball between and essentially I had about a 20-yard window in which I could start the ball and not hit the tree. Obviously whenever you're in trouble, you would never want to hit the first tree because that's always going to be a bad move. But I felt like I had enough of a gap. And that line took me down the right edge of the fairway. So I hit 4-iron. I had 209 to the front, hit a low punch 4-iron which I was trying to get into the front right bunker or even the short front right rough, just trying to give myself a play. Kind of hit it a little bit out of the toe, a little bit of draw spin. I was hoping it was going to be the glory shot for a second or two off the face, but as I ran after it, and nearly tripped over the wire, nearly made a real fool of myself. But as I chased after the ball, I realized it was hooking pretty good and had no chance of staying up.

Q. And Shawn?
JUSTIN ROSE: Shawn, yeah, obviously I saw Shawn getting relief. I wasn't sure how far he was going to be able to come out to the right. But I was just trying to focus on my shot at that time. He obviously was impeded a little bit in the tree, so he was trying to hit a punch, too, obviously identical shot to the one I hit. That's the whole thing about that hole and what makes it a dangerous hole. If you miss the fairway, you're having to land the ball short of the green. Everything short of the green tilts toward the water and it's very key to get that ball in the fairway off the tee.

Q. Steele, also, hit it into the water there, very similarly, and year after year here, we see great players end up left in that water. What is it, tricky, visually deceptive? We've been watching it for decades.
JUSTIN ROSE: That makes Ernie Els's 5-iron in there in the U.S. Open one of the great shots of all time, that sweeping draw that he hit in there. It's one of the most intimidating looking shots in golf, and it's one us of the best second shots in golf with the Congressional clubhouse sitting at the top of the hill, beautiful backdrop, too. Tee shots went a long way, the fairways were firmer and ended up having a wedge in there. But off the back tee that's probably normally a 6-iron. I hit 6-iron earlier in the week. That's gut-check time on that particular hole, because especially if you want to get it into where the pin placement is on the left, you have a little five-yard square in which to land the ball on. And normally off a bit of a hanging lie, everything goes left and when the ball is above your feet, the tendency is for the ball to work left. It's a really well-designed golf hole.

Q. With the way the course was playing, as the day unfolded, did you feel that even par was going to be a good score and that everybody else was sort of making a mess of it?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I birdied the 9th hole today to get it to 4-under par, and I saw that Patrick had got off to a good start. I think I saw him at 7 at one point. Then I had not paid much attention to the front nine, but when I birdied 9, I walked to the 10th tee and I saw, tied for the lead, which really surprised me. I figured at that point I was maybe two or three back still, but at that point I knew I was tied for the lead. So I thought, right, back nine on Sunday, this is what it's all about. Yesterday, I faltered around the turn. I made six at nine, three at 10, but made a six again at 11. So a lot can happen around the turn and I felt like I got through that spell really well today. I went 4-3-3. I always knew that I had that advantage on the leaders; if I could get through some of the tough holes, unscathed, then they were going to have to do the same. So that was my advantage today playing a couple groups ahead. I just knew that once I got it to 5-under par, I thought -- I was trying to get to 6. I thought 6 would win for sure, but as it turned out, 5 -- the last couple holes, I was just trying to get into the clubhouse at 5. 4 ended up doing it. But fortunate enough that Shawn made a bogey as I made a bogey on 18, that that kind of cancelled one another out. Because at the time, I felt that bogey on 18 was putting me out of the tournament rather than still giving me a chance. So it was nice to get a second lifeline at it.

Q. You've won on some pretty classic courses: Muirfield Village, Aronimink, here. What does that say about your game? Does that say something specific about the style of golf you like?
JUSTIN ROSE: Hopefully good golf, yeah. I like this type of test. I've said it all week that it's the kind of golf that offers you the opportunity to still put a score together. It's not necessarily U.S. Open tough, but you can shoot 65 if you play a great round of golf. But par is still a good score and you're not going to drop down the leaderboard shooting level par, and I always felt those tournaments were more putting competitions than testing your all-around game. This week you're going to miss greens; you're going to be challenged; you're going to have to grind and you're going to have to do everything at some point this week, and that's the type of golf I like, that tests all your skill-sets. That's normally what major championships do. I tried to talk my game up that way; that I feel like that will suit me going forward. But yeah, I have won on some nice golf courses and I feel very privileged for that. Who knows, maybe I just talk myself into that now, and when I get to these type of courses it becomes an advantage for me. Maybe I should start talking up the other ones, too.

Q. Related to that, you've talked all week about how much you like this style of course. Do you take any extra special anything out of it because you've backed it up now?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think it's great to win on a golf course like this, because you can't sort of luck into it, if you like. You've got to play good golf, and through spells this week, I had to rely on different parts of my game all week. Thursday I just really struggled and then had to dig deep mentally on the back nine, and Friday I putted much better. Saturday, I hit the driver really, really well. Today I struggled off the tee. And you know, I had to find a different way to get it done today. So up-and-downing it on 17 and holing the putt at 18; today was a bit more of grinding it out. So I felt like all aspects of my game were tested this week and it's really nice to win in that fashion.

Q. You talked about looking at the board going to 10 tee, but you kind of glossed over the 3 at 11, which is sort of like making an eagle. And when you walked off that green with birdie, did you start to think, hey, maybe this really is my kind of day, because nobody makes three on that hole basically.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, that was big for sure. When you make three there, you pretty much, it's a shot and a half, at least, I'd imagine. It was all about -- well, it wasn't all about the second shot. The tee shot gets your heart rate going one or two beats more than normal and especially after yesterday, I hit a poor tee shot. Yesterday I hit a poor tee shot, so getting in the fairway was for me. And I was in between 4- or 5-iron and I was probably leaning towards the 4-iron and my caddie started talking to me about the shape of a 5-iron, turning it in there. I ended up going with that. So I turned a 5-iron in, which pitched obviously on the green and worked with that little ridge. There's a spine that runs through the middle of the green, and I got on the right side of it, which was key, and obviously fed the ball to the hole. I have to give Fooch the credit for that one, because he sort of saw the shot and I went with it, and it turned out to be the right one.

Q. How much tougher did this course play this week than it did in 2011?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it played a lot tougher. Even than the 2009 U.S. Open it played tougher -- so, sorry. What was it really? 2010. (Laughing). Sorry. Just moisture, really, more than anything. I can't imagine the rough was shorter in the U.S. Open than it was here. Maybe there it was more graduated but the rough was definitely thick this week and maybe it played a little tighter because the fairways are firm. But it was all about the greens. The greens got firm, and I was really pleased to see the PGA TOUR set it up tough. I felt yesterday, the course got bouncy, got fiery. It became a championship-style golf course. And I feel that sometimes in that occasion, on the Sunday, they back off a little bit. They dump a little bit too much water on the greens, and that gives the chasing pack a much bigger advantage coming into the final round on Sunday. But they didn't do that -- I knew when I got on to the putting green today pre-round that it was going to be a tough test because the putting green was looking glassy already. Yeah, I really thought the setup was great this week. It was fair but you had to play good, strategic golf.

Q. What did you hit for your second on 14?
JUSTIN ROSE: I hit a 3-wood -- from the left rough? Yeah, that was probably the shot of day to be honest with you. I was arguing to take it on, but the one place I didn't want to leave it was in one of those bunkers with a long bunker shot up a tier. I went with it, really. It was either 7-iron or 3-wood -- lay up short of the bunkers or take it on (laughter). I took it on. Probably the shot of the day.

Q. Which felt more like a U.S. Open to you, this or Pinehurst?
JUSTIN ROSE: Interesting. I would say from my reconceive ideas, this looks visually like a U.S. Open to me, the green-looking rough, the tight-looking fairways. For me, holes like 15 here at Congressional, that to me just looks like a U.S. Open-style hope, just down and up and straight. It's just framed really, really nicely. So I think Pinehurst was out of the norm, away from the norm a little bit and it was great. It played like a U.S. Open obviously, if you look what finished second, it was still a tough test. But it was a very different test. For me, U.S. Opens are more this style, more these style golf. That's how I've always sort of always visualized them.

Q. Will you claim this as a U.S. Open like Hogan did the Hershey Open?
JUSTIN ROSE: No. (Laughter) Having won it, if I had not won the U.S. Open, I might be looking to claim this as a U.S. Open, but I guess I'm in that fortunate position not having to. (Smiling).

Q. How big a boost is this going into Hoylake?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it's a big boost and it has not been lost on me that I have not won for a year, over a year. Obviously the clock passed a year at the U.S. Open, so it was nice to get on the right side of that very quickly and obviously my next tournament after winning, 52, 53 weeks ago. And it's a huge boost confidence-wise, yeah, for sure, because I've been semi in contention this year, had some fourths and fifths but I've sort of forced my way into fourth or fifth place. I haven't really been playing with a lead all year. To do it and get it done and make key putts, that's huge for my psyche going into a major championship. And obviously for the rest of the year, gives me a nice boost: A nice boost into the FedExCup as the Playoffs are upon us; nice boost Ryder Cup points, probably takes that off my mind. So yeah, it's really nice time of year to have a victory and allows me to focus on exciting challenges now ahead.

Q. What does it say about golf in general that you can stand on a tee with a one-hole playoff as a Major Champion with a guy who frankly no one really would have heard of. What do you know about Shawn and what's the dynamic there?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I played golf with Shawn somewhere on a Sunday afternoon recently, I can't exactly picture in my head right now. But he's such a nice guy. He's got a wonderful temperament for the game and I think that's ultimately why he did well this week; his outlook and his patience. I said to him, his time is going to come very soon with that mentality. But that's the thing about a playoff. You never underestimate anybody, because a playoff can be won and lost within one swing, and fortunately today I was on the right side of that. It was my first-ever PGA TOUR playoff. So again, I didn't really know what to expect. I asked my caddie, you know, did he have any advice, and he said, "You've just got to play the hole, play the course. You can't really get too much into playing the man." So my only other experience with a playoff was I think in 2007 at Wentworth, and I played the hole and the other guy made birdie and I was like, oh, it's all over. So that's the thing with a playoff; it can be all over before you've even really got your head into it. Fortunately for me, I was on the right side of that today.

Q. Who was that in 2007?
JUSTIN ROSE: Anders Hansen.

Q. Why did you miss the Open at Hoylake in 2006 and what do you know about that golf course?
JUSTIN ROSE: Missed it because I wasn't very good. I was having a bit of a rough spell around 2005, 2006, missing Majors. I was first alternate a couple of times. I was first alternate in 2005 for The Open and PGA, and again I missed The Open Championship in 2006. That was sort of a remotivating period of time in my life when I was sort of out on the sidelines missing these Majors. I just remember it being burnt out, really warm, people eating ice cream and Tiger winning. That's about my memory. I guess I've got some work to do.

Q. Have you played there before?
JUSTIN ROSE: I have not. Don't know the course at all. So my schedule is to go up there and spend some time there end of next week.

Q. You spoke about enjoying a course that's very challenging, and setup like it was this week and we heard that from Martin Kaymer at the U.S. Open, too. Can you talk about why you prefer that versus a place that you can shoot minus 15 over four rounds?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I guess for me, a lot of areas of your game don't get tested when it's -- if there's no rough, for example, your driving doesn't get tested. And if the greens are soft, sometimes you get away with your iron play a lot more; you don't have to be so precise with the numbers. And a course like this you have to miss in the right spots. When the greens get firm and fast, you can't just go at the flag when it's five from the edge and hit it in the rough and get it up-and-down, which so many weeks on TOUR you can. This week, if you go on the wrong side, the edges of the greens are tilted, the rough is thick, the greens are so fast that the ball lands, it's going to release 12 feet past the pin. So you've got to be a lot more -- you've got to pick and choose your spots to be aggressive, and really respect different pin placements. I think that's where you've got to understand the golf course and learn to play it. So many other tournaments are just target practice from that perspective.

MARK STEVENS: Thanks for your time, Justin. Best of luck down the road.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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