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September 25, 2014

Justin Rose


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Justin, welcome. Thanks for coming in so early. Hard to believe you've never played a home Ryder Cup.

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, absolutely. Delighted to play a home Ryder Cup. That was definitely the goal that I set out a couple years ago. Yeah, obviously Valhalla in 2008, and obviously I missed Celtic Manor 2010. And obviously here we are after Medinah last year or two years ago, really excited. Obviously the first couple of days have been great. They have been somewhat -- obviously the crowds have come out and it's been brilliant and it's been low key but the real atmosphere is going to start tomorrow, so I can't wait.

Q. Phil Mickelson was in yesterday and made a very pointed remark about unity on The European Team, and the American Team, "We don't litigate against each other," obviously referring to Rory and Graeme. I just wonder what your response is to that, if it was discussed in The European Team room last night? And what do you think Phil's motivation was, trying to wind you up with a bit of gamesmanship perhaps?
JUSTIN ROSE: Of course it's a bit of banter and getting things going. We don't have a problem with that at all. There's no real angst between the players from that point of view at all, and in our team room, it's a non-issue. I've obviously been observing Rory and G-Mac, too, and they have been getting on great and playing golf and hanging out and having dinners together. The atmosphere is fantastic in our team room. Of course, yeah, it was mentioned last night. Phil came up to Rory last night and was like, hey, this and that. It's no real big deal. Obviously if someone says something -- I'll call it banter and nothing more serious than that.

Q. Do you not think it would be a good thing to get some angst about it, to try and wind The European Team up and use it to your advantage?
JUSTIN ROSE: No, we're very confident and comfortable with our games and our situation, and we're very confident as a team. And I think we're focusing on the golf and we believe that the process is going to take care of things. We sort of have accepted the fact that we are the team to beat this week, and I just believe that we're playing a very, very strong team. The fact is we are going to have to rely upon now hard work and commitment and concentration and focus to get the job done. So anything like that, anything in the media or anything that's extra to that is not going to help the cause. It comes down to being professional. It comes down to getting the job done on the golf course.

Q. Just wonder how often you look at the reruns of Medinah and what sort of reaction it provokes, especially when you see that putt you holed at 17?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I definitely, let's say in a month or two after Medinah, it was replayed a lot and I watched it a lot. And then there was a piece done, "The Miracle at Medinah" by Justin Rose, like in my own words, and I watched that DVD, which is great. And then the last couple of months, especially on the Golf Channel in the States, The Ryder Cup has been obviously a huge topic, so there's been many, many reruns. Every time I log on to Twitter, I know if there's been a replay, especially back home on SKY Sports, because my phone blows up with people saying, "Oh, that putt on 17 was incredible." So I always know when other people are watching it, too, which is fun.

Q. I spoke to Henrik Stenson yesterday, and he was a bit annoyed that you took some money off him, the whole mug shot on 18. You played with him yesterday and today, it seems like a likely pairing. Could you just speak a bit about how you think your games fit together, how you come along, how you gel?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I've got to know Henrik really well over the last, I want to say three to five years, living in Lake Nona. He lived across the street from me, literally, 50 yards from my house. We have kids of a similar age, too, so obviously there's a lot in common there. He's got a great sense of humour, and as a player, he's an unbelievable golfer, great ball-striker. Great competitor, too. You just have to look at what he did last year, really, to see what a talent he is. When he gets into that right mind-set, he can be unstoppable at times. Yeah, I would say obviously when you look at our practise pairings, of course it's an option. I have a few good options, so we'll just have to wait and see what the captain thinks this afternoon.

Q. Would you say your games are similar?
JUSTIN ROSE: I would say our games are similar in the fact that we are both pretty high up on greens in regulation stats and all those type of things. From a ball-striking perspective, I would say we would be in the same mold for sure. He has probably that extra gear distance-wise, so from that point of view -- yeah, he just hits it farther than I do, but he's obviously a very accurate player, too.

Q. With all of the attention on Ian Poulter and Rory coming into The Ryder Cup, it almost feels as if you've been coming in under the radar. Do you think that's the case, and does that help you?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it could well help me. I haven't thought about it, so therefore, does that help me? Yeah, it probably frees up my mind to focus on the task and the job at hand. I think the fact that Rory and Poulter are targeted might help them, too. That's the way we are hoping it will play out, anyway.

Q. You've played with Poults in practise. Do you see something there that you sense he's going to produce that magic again in The Ryder Cup?
JUSTIN ROSE: I mean, he's playing well, he really is. I know people say he hasn't had a great season, but he's sort of on the verge of playing very, very well. He just needs a spark, and the spark could well be The Ryder Cup obviously this week. He's playing good, clean golf in practise. And just for example, we're having a Skins Game yesterday and he was shut out until the 17th hole and the caddies were beginning to give him a lot of stick about duck egg and quack quack because he didn't have a skin. And then he goes and birdies 17 and holes a bunker shot at the last and takes the last four skins, and you know he's in his element. So when his back is against the wall, he normally produces, which is great.

Q. Without Tiger Woods here, of course we don't have any black players on either of these two teams, no black vice captains, no black captains. Walking around this place the last couple of days, it feels sort of like a white people's convention in a way. Now, none of this is particularly new for golf and none of this is your fault, but does it bother the top players like yourself that the game of golf is not more diverse and reflective of the societies in which we live?
JUSTIN ROSE: It is reflected a lot of times of who the kids see on TV, and I think there's going to be a bit of a lag effect obviously with the Tiger effect, and I think the people that he's encouraged to start game. I've definitely seen a huge change in the States, especially with people coming out to watch golf, there's a great mix of people out there and that's fantastic for the game. I just think these things, there could be a 15-, 20-year cycle before we see the real impact, certainly of what Tiger has been able to do to the game and some of the changes he's been able to make. But a lot of the governing bodies have been changing their stance on many of the issues, let's call it, whether it be with women or whether it be other scenarios. I think golf is definitely moving towards a healthy place.

Q. On the slightly less profound level, when things were going well in Medinah, you silenced the crowd and that was the aim of it. How much are you looking forward to the reverse here when a putt drops, etc.?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, obviously there's the anticipation of that, which I've yet to experience. But knowing that in the palm of your hand, let's say, with a putter, you have the ability to light up a crowd in a situation, and that's exhilarating and yeah, obviously I can't wait to feel that and experience that. But my goal is just to create those opportunities, to sort of put my game in a position and put my golf ball in a position where I can make that happen. Par putts for halves, probably you'll get a clap, but you want to be making birdies out there. And obviously I have to focus on my game than the environment, but I can't wait to sense the environment after playing well.

Q. Going to the first tee, how is this one different from the other courses where you've played The Ryder Cup in terms of either the tunnel or the length of the walk? How do you think that will change the dynamics?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it could well change the dynamics. To be honest, we haven't really walked it as such yet. Taken the cart through the tunnel. Might be a good idea to walk it today just to experience it and sort of time it. That's probably something I'll do, so thanks for the tip. But things will ramp up, for sure. That tunnel has got some iconic images through it, and you'll hear the crowd, you'll hear the noise. No doubt there will be the customary singing, or I hope there will be, on the first tee. You really begin to sense that even on the practise range. The crowd seems to arrive there an hour before first tee time and the atmosphere really amps up and you can sense it, like I said, while you're hitting balls. I can only imagine that by the time you walk to the tee, you're fully ready to go, there's absolutely no doubt.

Q. Back on Phil just for a second. Why do you think he did what he did? Not the context or the banter, the needle, whatever. I'm just curious, what do you think Phil's intent might have been? Did they need something?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, mix it up, maybe, looking for that spark themselves, don't forget about us, we're here, and that's something The European Team certainly have not forgotten. I can imagine, just to spice things up and have a bit of fun with it. Phil likes to sort of be that guy that will throw a good -- especially amongst friends, which I assume that was his intent, but amongst friends he loves the banter and he loves to throw a few bobs out there, which is great. Everyone responds to that, and that's why he's fun to play practise rounds with, and that's why he has a great Wednesday fourball at most tournaments because that's kind of the way he likes to be.

Q. With Ian Poulter, the level of passion he gets himself to, some players, that would wreck your game because you would just be too emotional, but him it turns him into an unstoppable force. How does that actually work for him, do you think, in Ryder Cups?
JUSTIN ROSE: He is very -- obviously I think with Poults, his reaction to making a putt is that he looks around and he brings everybody in, but he's got the amazing ability to shut everything out. His eyes, when you watch his eyes when he's in the zone, his eyes are not really taking everything in. They are very focused on the putt. You can just see his eyes running up-and-down the line. He gets very sort of channelled into the job at hand, and that is the only way to play under pressure. You can't see everything that's going on out there. You can't process that much. He's got a great ability to be able to switch in, switch out, switch in, switch out, and I think that's obviously what makes him a charismatic player, but obviously a very efficient player under pressure. It's not just The Ryder Cup, to be honest. Whenever Ian is in contention, he normally does a very good job of finishing things off. From that perspective, it's not always Ryder Cup-related.

Q. You'll be aware the R&A has voted on women at clubs last week, I think it was, and there's still three courses on the Open rota that are still women-only. What's your thoughts on that? Do you think that should be changed?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, obviously I think clubs somewhat have the right to do whatever they want to do, but then that maybe limits them from what they can host and their position potentially to the world. I think there's definitely a situation there where if you're going to host such high-profile events, you need to conform a little bit more with what's acceptable in the mainstream society. There's definitely a point, and I would say I would probably agree with that.

Q. I think Muirfield is one of them, and there's a couple others.
JUSTIN ROSE: Royal St. Georges I think is another and one other.

Q. Troon. Do you think that should be changed in the near future?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I do. Obviously I think we all support women's golf, as well, and we'd like to see that be as strong as possible in terms of the LET and the LPGA, as well. So I think, yeah, if I was to go down one avenue, I would be with you on that, for sure.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Justin, thanks very much.
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