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January 14, 2015

Justin Rose


NICK TOTTEN:  Justin, welcome back to Abu Dhabi, only your second time here.  Not tended to maybe play as much in the Middle East, but last time you were here, you came very close to the title.  What are your memories and how do you feel going into this one?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, very excited to be back here in Abu Dhabi.  I was meant to be here last year, was looking forward to starting here last year, but my shoulder didn't really allow that.  It was on my schedule to be back.  I had a great time in 2013.
I thought it's a really good place to start the season.  Good golf course, it's good in condition.  You sort of get reliable conditions out here in the Middle East which I think is very important when you're trying to get a read on your game early in the season.  So excited to be back.
NICK TOTTEN:  And what were your memories of 2013?  You led the first three rounds and then just came up a bit short of Jamie.
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, obviously got off to a good start.  It's always nice to get in contention early in the season, and I think that, yeah, started the year the right way.  Obviously you always like to win when you play well.  I remember hitting a good putt on 18 to, in my mind, force the playoff; so just got to try and take the positives out of it.  And obviously it set up what was to be a very good year, so, all in all, good memories.

Q.  Have you reached the stage now do you think in your career where your goals don't really change from season to season?  Do you set out with the same sort of targets?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, I think first and foremost, I look at myself and I look at how I can improve, and I look at part of my game where there are sort of weaknesses and try and focus on those and ire those out.  And I kind of believe that if you take care of your game and you take care of your skills, if you improve them year on year, you're going to create chances to win tournaments.  Obviously that's what it's all about.
You know, being specific, for sure, you can target the Majors, and I think that that's really what‑‑ I'd like to become more of a prolific winner, winning multiple times in a season.  That would be obviously again a step up, but I view that as another step up the leader.  But major championships really are what is going to change things going forward more and more.

Q.  I just wondered, after you couldn't play last year, you had the injuries as you said, and you played the year before and you're back here again, and it's great to see you.  Does this mean that this is now becoming almost your standard opening event; is that the thinking?
JUSTIN ROSE:  You always look at things‑‑ the PGA TOUR is a fun way to start the year in Hawai'i, as well, so you've got two great options.  I think for me, it's great to get some European Tour starts under my belt, get going on The Race to Dubai early.  It takes a bit of pressure off me at the end of the season schedule‑wise, and obviously I tend to focus back on The Race to Dubai from October onwards.
So I hit it early and I sort of hit it at the end, is the way I've been doing it the last couple ever years.

Q.  And also, how much is the calibre of all the other players that are here this week; how much has that enticed you to come, as well?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, that's huge.  Whenever you can play against the best players in the world, obviously you have the No. 1 and the No.2 player in the world playing this week; and with that come a lot of World Ranking points which is always a consideration.
But more so the prestige of beating the world's best is a huge reason why we play tournaments.  I think quality of field, quality of golf course are probably the two driving factors in why you put tournaments on your schedule.

Q.  You moved your base to Bahamas, residence to Bahamas, last year.  Is there any golfing reason, as well, behind it, or is it just family reasons?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Well, I think obviously the Bahamas is a fun place to live and once we started look into it, sort of the international school there has got a great reputation.  And first and foremost you want your kids to be happy and in a good spot, and I think early in their school life, it's a really good place for them to be.
But obviously with what they have built down at Albany it gives me a real opportunity to be the best player I can be.  That's also‑‑ and I think that's something I never compromise.  Maybe ten years ago in the islands, there was no facility available to be the best golfer in the world.
So not only because of what they have achieved there with obviously the fitness, workout facility and the amenities and the golf course and practise facilities; I have everything at my disposal to continue to get better as a player.

Q.  Have you come down from Gleneagles yet; the sense of euphoria and all the rest of that that's built up, how long does that remain?
JUSTIN ROSE:  I would say over the holiday season, holiday period, I watched The Ryder Cup, the Official DVD with my parents and my family.  We enjoyed it.  So from that perspective, it was nice to sort of reminisce.
But yeah, the memories are definitely behind us.  And it was fun, obviously in Dubai, for example, every player on the team was there, and I felt like that was the final sort of celebration or the final memory, really, of The Ryder Cup was at The Race to Dubai.  Obviously we had a lot signing to do and caddies and people were bringing flags because they knew all of us were at this one tournament; and The Ryder Cup was fresh in our memory that week.
But then you roll into the off‑season and you set your goals going forward.  Ryder Cup will always provide great memories, but yeah, I think it's on to the next thing now.

Q.  Anything take you aback or surprise you when you were watching it, The Ryder Cup?
JUSTIN ROSE:  You know obviously my memories are pretty clear how I played and the putts I made.  But it's just to have on tape so many great moments and key putts and celebrations to look back on if you ever need to look back and have some confidence.  It's great to have that in the archives.
But it was fun to see how the other guys played their matches and where the other points came from and just to get a feel of some of the other great matches that were played.

Q.  Winning Majors, World Ranking points, winning tournaments, it's all very well, but where does beating Piers Morgan and Kevin Pietersen, alongside Ian James Poulter, where does that rank on this year's objectives for you?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Beating them?  Well, beings Poults is tougher than the other two.  Depends how good of negotiators they are on the first tee.
But the only bad thing about losing to those three is the bragging rights will come to you pretty hard.  They have all got some good banter.  But no, no games set up yet.

Q.  Going back to becoming a prolific winner, what do you think needs to happen in your own game for that, to make that next step?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Just subtle changes, really.  I think just maybe‑‑ I think my putting has come such a long way and just for that, for example, the level I putted at The Ryder Cup, for that to become‑‑ you can't always make every putt when you need to but to have‑‑ just to make more putts, and I think that's coming, and I think that will create a lot more chances and convert a lot more wins.
But without putting any pressure on any particular part of my game, just doing everything a little bit better.  I don't need to look for much in order for that to be the case.  I have a lot of Top‑10s under my belt, but just basically finding that one shot a round potentially that converts Top‑10s into wins.

Q.  Last year starting the season you had a bit of a niggly going on which kept you out of the golf course for a while.  Can you give us your physical well being, how is the health right now, and no niggles, and the state of your game?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, I still feel the shoulder now to be honest with you.  From basically the middle of the year onwards it's been a non‑issue golf‑wise, which is great.  But there are certain things in the gym I don't do and certain things; I make sure I don't throw a golf ball too far or anything like that.  So I take care of the shoulder.
But golf‑wise, like I said, it's in good condition to play but maybe playing tennis or stuff like that, I'm still not up to that.  But luckily I don't make a living from tennis, which is good.
But the state of my game, I've had a good off‑season.  I focused on rest and recovery and my fitness, so the focus was more on that rather than the golf and definitely the last couple of weeks started to ramp up the game and the practise.  We shall see, obviously. 
       But feeling very good about where I'm at.  And sometimes the off‑season, it's more important to miss the game and it's more important to freshen up mentally than it is sometimes to sort of grind it out and keep practising.
So you know, the freshness that you can recover during the off‑season will pay off mid‑year, for sure.  What you may lose in a little bit of sharpness now I think you're going to get back in spades will come later in the year.

Q.  What is your schedule leading up to August?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Obviously this weeks and next week in Qatar, and bunch of the Florida Swing.  And the one change I'm looking at is potentially playing Houston prior to Augusta.  So that's the only one that's slightly up in the air right now.
NICK TOTTEN:  Thanks, Justin.

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