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November 5, 2014

Justin Rose


SARAH GWYNN:  Justin, thank you very much for joining us today.  Welcome back to Shanghai.  Just talk a little about what you've been up to this week and reflecting on a good performance last week, as well.
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, obviously it's been fun to have two tournaments back‑to‑back in Shanghai, good solid performance last week where ultimately I ended up having a chance to win and then really spent Monday and Tuesday I guess enjoying Shanghai for the most part, seeing the sights in the city and also doing some TaylorMade PR stuff and obviously promotional stuff for HSBC.
SARAH GWYNN:  And feelings about the course here and how you're playing?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, today was the first look at the golf course.  I know this course relatively well.  I think it's set up much differently from last year.  If you look at the scoring of last year's tournament, I don't see that being on the cards this year.
The rough is a lot thicker and greens feel firmer, and if we don't get much rain, they will continue to firm out.  So I think it's going to be a good test of golf.  You're going to have to drive the ball very, very well this week.  The course offers you an opportunity to put a good score together but it's not going to be like last year.

Q.  Are the fairways as narrow as they look to a layman?
JUSTIN ROSE:  I'm glad you said that because that's what I thought all day.  I thought the course looked incredibly narrow and I don't know if it's because there's more definition between the cut stuff and the thick stuff.  I thought the fairways were a yard or two narrower than last year for sure.
And yeah, you have to drive the ball very, very well.  They seem to pinch in.  There's a lot of carries.  Basically the landing areas are fairly tight, especially on some angles, like hole No. 10, for example, where I was hitting driver last year, doesn't seem like the prudent play this year.  I think for sure the test off the tee seems more extreme this year.

Q.  Around some of the par3s, the rough is almost right up to the edge of the green.  Do you approve of that kind of setup?  It seems almost too penal if you go slightly off‑line.
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, I believe they have done all the cutting they are going to do.  But absolutely, three paces off the edge of the green, you can be in six‑inch rough.  But it doesn't quite play as thick as U.S. Open six‑inch rough.  You have the overseed bermuda underneath so the ball is not sinking down to the very, very bottom of the grass.
So although it is thick and it's very difficult to play out of, it still maybe is more playable than it would appear.  So I don't necessarily think this is the way to set every single golf course up, but I do like it.  I like it to be‑‑ if it's going to be one of the biggest and best tournaments in the world, and if it's going to be billed as Asia's major, then I don't think 25‑ or 26‑under par is an acceptable winning score.  So I believe the changes to the setup this year are all in all for the better.

Q.  We just had a 17‑year‑old boy in here from China who is playing, and he's just turned professional in time for the event so that he can make off with the whatever prize there is that goes to everybody at the bottom.  But do you think that when you played in that Open, if you had turned a week earlier?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, obviously at the time the prize money seemed astronomical to me.  I think at the time it might have been in the region of 70,000 pounds I seem to remember, and that's more money than my parents would have made in two or three years.
The carrot that's dangled in front of you, it's pretty big.  But I think when you try and look at a career and the grand scheme of a career, I'd almost wish that maybe I'd have taken a bit more time rather than rushed it.

Q.  The other point I wanted to ask you about, is to what extent has golf over here and Asia in general improved in your years out on Tour?
JUSTIN ROSE:  I think the staging of the events has the gotten better and better, and we're seeing it this week.  The condition of the course is really great.  Just the overall attendance:  I think the crowd's knowledge of what's acceptable, what's not acceptable, I think that's gotten a lot better in the years that I've been here and I think that we are about to see the players really catch up.
Now, there's always a bit of a lag effect.  So I think that we'll be seeing some great young talent coming through, obviously the chap you mentioned, I'm not sure who that is, we'll keep an eye out for him; and what Guan Tianlang did at the Masters, stuff like that will encourage more and more people to play.  I think in the next five to ten years, there will be a boom has there has been on the LPGA Tour.

Q.  When you mentioned you kind of wish you had taken more time, have you ever thought much about what you would have done differently when you turned pro?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, I think I would have maybe, having seen or having lived in the States for quite a while and having seen how big college sport is, I don't really have any concept of that to be honest with you.
So probably going through a golf programme at a college and just experiencing that I think would have been the obvious choice for me.  I think that would have given me another couple of years to ready my game and put me in an environment where I could keep learning and keep improving.  But it's a safe environment where you're not putting yourself under too much pressure.  That's something I would have liked to have explored.
I think that probably would have been my only option really.  I could have kept doing what I was doing.  I had played the U.K. amateur circuit a few years already full‑time, so it was either just keep doing the same thing or make a change.  I was still looking to accelerate my game.
The real reason to turn pro is how can I improve the fastest.  But I think that you've got to take into account the risk associated with turning pro and obviously the lack of confidence or the knock to confidence if you're not having results.
So I think that probably the perfect next step up for me would have been to play college golf in the States.

Q.  Have you picked up length off the tee, and if so, is that by design?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, I would say I have.  In the last probably incrementally every month for the last year or so but more so in the last couple of months.  And yeah, just true sort of some of the stuff I've been doing with Sean and talking about some of the stuff I've been doing in the gym and some of the stuff I'm specifically doing in the gym to hit it further.
Yeah, I think that's absolutely the way golf is right now.  You just look at the guy who is lead driving accuracy, they typically translate to doing very well on the Money List or FedExCup.  Power is a big of the game and I think that improved from being an average hitter into the top 15 percent, so that's been a big jump for me.
Courses like last week, I felt like it gave me a big advantage, I felt like I could reach every par 5 last week whereas years past playing that tournament, I didn't and there's a few more cheap birdies.

Q.  It's been announced that George O'Grady is stepping down from the Tour.  How do you assess his period at the top and can you give us one or two examples of things you specifically liked that he did?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, well, I think just‑‑ obviously it's a shame that he's stepping down.  But I think he's had a good reign, he's had a lengthy reign obviously at the top.
You know, there's no doubt there's been challenges.  The European Tour and the economy and all these things and the markets in which The European Tour has been going is difficult.  It has been difficult, mainland Europe, especially, so there's been some challenges.
Just in recent times, one of the things I've been talking to George about is really just trying to get some of the historic events back on The European Tour, British Masters for example, stuff like that.  That's been some of the exciting changes that I've seen and some of the conversations that I've had with George and what he's been trying to implement.  As he sort of I guess rolls out of his position, hopefully tournaments like that will come back on to the calendar and he can take some credit for that.

Q.  If I may ask this, has his job been made harder by guys like you based in the States playing more there than you do in Europe though?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, for sure.  We do our best to support The European Tour as best we can.  Obviously over the last couple of seasons, they have also made the tough calls of upping the number of events from 11 to 12 to 13 and then toying with other ways of making us commit to the tour.
And some of it's been needed and some of the other things maybe have gone a little too far.  So The European Tour has done their best to make us play as much as we should play and I think it's at a fair level right now.
Obviously you've got to accept that there's big tournaments all around the world and I think guys who are at the top end of the game have the good fortune of being able to pick and choose where they want to play.  Obviously for me, supporting The European Tour is very, very important and playing some of the key events on The European Tour is exactly where I want to play my golf more importantly.
SARAH GWYNN:  Justin, thank you.

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