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February 3, 2015

Justin Rose


JOHN BUSH: We would like to welcome Justin Rose to the interview room. He's making his sixth start at the Farmers Insurance Open and first since 2012. Justin, welcome back if we can get some comments.

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it's great to be back in San Diego. I think that Torrey Pines is one of my favorite venues and the South Course is definitely one of my favorite golf courses and I'm sorry excited to be back. I think I missed last year, maybe through injury or something, but yeah it's a tournament that I have enjoyed having on my schedule.

JOHN BUSH: Great. Questions?

Q. Can you talk about what you've done over the last month or so. You played a little overseas. Talk about that and then coming in this season and pretty much what you've been working on and how you feel about things.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, sure. So, first and foremost had all my family come over for Christmas and hosted and had a great time and got away from the game and didn't practice very much at all over Christmas and new year period. Really picked up golf really a few days before flying out to the Middle East. Spent the two weeks down there really working hard on my game. Obviously trying to compete as best I could. But really focusing on getting some rust off and getting certain aspects of my game cleaned up. I think that was a pretty successful trip down there from that perspective. Last week was, again, a week where just sort of refining my goals and refining my thoughts for the year and getting basically ready to put in a really good round of golf now. I'm excited about the events I have coming up and I feel my game's in a really good spot to sort of make a good run heading into Augusta.

Q. Have you got to play the course today and which course did you play and what's your impressions on it?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I played the South Course this morning. Played the first seven holes in the fog. Surprised at how many fairways I actually hit when you could only see 50 yards in front of you. But I guess a good strategy is to hit over the middle of the tee box in front of you. I might use that in the future. The course is in really good shape. Greens are going to be nice and firm come the weekend, which I think is going to require a lot of strategy and course management and not missing the wrong side of some of these pins. The rough's pretty thick, too, so I think it's really, really good test of golf. The weather looks fair. I think it's going to be fantastic tournament. The North Course I'll be playing in the morning and I'm sure that's probably in just as good shape. So everything's set for a great week.

Q. You mentioned that you spent some time refining your goals for next year, could you enlighten us on those goals for this season?
JUSTIN ROSE: Not really. I think that, but, I feel that there's many areas of my game that I can sort of squeeze that one or two percent out of. I guess you get to a point in your career you are not looking to change anything, just looking to try to find that one percent and you want to try and find it without the risk of kind of forgetting what you're good at and changing what you're good at. So that's the challenge. For me it's fairly simple. There's always improvements to be made. If I looked purely statistically, strokes gained with my long game, I'm pretty good. I think towards the end of last year I started to hit the ball a lot further, which I think is going to open up a few new windows of scoring opportunities for me this year. If I look at courses like Augusta, for example, that can really help. If you look at whose won that tournament in the last few years. So basically I'm focusing on all aspect of my game and if I can kind of improve in two or three of those areas, I know it's going to translate to a lot more sort of winning opportunities. So, the specifics of my goals, I keep them powerful, I keep them close to me, but as regards to my game, hitting a little further, making a few more putts, it's fairly obvious but making a few more putts would go a long way, too.

Q. We had Pat Perez in here earlier and we were talking about the struggle's that Tiger is having and he was so surprised that at how he's been chipping and the problems he's had. Are you surprised likewise that Tiger's struggling the way he is right now?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think that if you look at the World Rankings and if you look where Tiger is, it was reminiscent to where he was -- I forget which year it is, but he was down outside the 50s, I think. At some point. And went on a pretty good run where he won and got back to No. 1 in the world. So, where he's at right now, yeah, sure, it's slightly, feels slightly different than it did then. Obviously, he's coming off injury and he was coming off not playing very much. Obviously he's getting back into playing and he's playing in some different tournaments, which I think is good to see. But, yeah, in terms of the short game and the chipping, of course, it is always surprising to see that. But it just shows golf is a hard game and it's a game of confidence as well and sometimes if you haven't played much confidence can disappear. So, it's going to take a little while to get back into tournament mode, get himself in contention, start to feel good again and the rest it have comes back pretty quickly.

Q. Segue to my question, you're a guy who went through your share of struggles, obviously early in your career, different set of circumstances, but what's the biggest challenge when things, when you're not able to execute the shots that you expect.
JUSTIN ROSE: It's frustrating when you -- it's always frustrating when you think that your game is better than how it translates when you play tournament golf. I think a lot of us go through that. You make a change or you feel like you've got it at home or you've got it on the range and there's always that lag affect for it to really show up for you on the golf course. So, that's a period of time where you just have to be patient with your self, I think. Maybe not hold yourself to as high a standard, but try and sort of really seek out the momentum in other ways. Just try to take away a positive every week. Whether the big picture doesn't look that good, just take away a positive, whatever you can find during that week, and build upon it. You don't want to keep knocking yourself further down. That's what I try to do when I'm struggling is that, understand that it was going to take some time, but try and find any reason to be positive.

Q. Looking down the road a few months and what have you heard about Chambers Bay and what do you know about it and what strikes your curiosity about a U.S. Open being held on a links style golf course?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, certainly, it's a kind of, it seems like it's the kind of course that fits with Whistling Straights or Kingsbarns or something like that. Obviously where they moved a lot of earth, I think, but they have created a links course on obviously on the edge of some water. So, I think that St. Andrews, Whistling Straits, Chambers Bay, you're going to play a Major Championship without seeing a tree for three in a row. It's going to be pretty interesting. But I think it's a golf course that we're going to have to get to know and get to know pretty quickly. I think obviously the geography of where it is, it's going to be very difficult for to us prepare as we would normally for a U.S. Open. A lot of us try to spend a day, sneak in a day here and there to try and get familiar with the golf course. But it being out west it's a lot harder to do that on this occasion. So it's going to be a very level playing field. I don't think anyone is going to know that course or have a great deal of an advantage. So, I can't say more than that. I don't really know what to expect until I get there.

Q. Obviously the news today with the caddies, filing a lawsuit against the PGA TOUR. Do you have any thoughts on and if you agree with it or not?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I actually haven't really, to be honest with you, I haven't followed the story very closely and I don't know exactly what they were asking for. I know there was some rumblings of it end of last year and I think that there should be some sort of potentially where they can meet them in the middle, but a lot of these guys do spend a lot of time out here away from their families, but also there's the argument that they are independent contractors, too. So I haven't really had time to think about it or to sort of really understand the ins and outs of it. But we'll see. I'll probably get the low down from my caddie tomorrow.

Q. I was looking, you burst onto the national landscape of golf with that tremendous hole-out at the British Open. At 34 it's hard to believe you got so much golf in you already, but yet so much more probably to play. How do you feel? Do you feel like a lot of your better golf lies ahead, would I think?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think so. Obviously that's 17 years ago, which has been a pro as long as I was alive. So, 17 at the Open and 17 years later, here we are. So a lot of water under the bridge. At 34 I think one of my strengths is the experience that I have under my belt, so there comes a point where you can't keep chalking things up to experience, it's time to go ahead and just do it. I tried to make that shift when I was 30, I would say between 30 and 40, I said that was going to be the period in my career where I was either going to do it or I wasn't. So my 30s have been pretty good to me so far, being able to sort of win every year, since turning 30, so hopefully I can continue that trend at least for the next five to ten years for sure. So I don't really have a time limit on it. I think that I'm fitter now than I was when I was 21, so that's good news. The more resilience I can build at this point in my career the longer that's going to last me into my 40s. So I'm definitely seeing the big picture right now and excited about the future.

Q. One, how important is Fooch to you?
JUSTIN ROSE: Fooch is very important. I mean, any time you establish such a long working relationship, you get to understand one another on a deeper level and he can kind of preempt things out there on the golf course and he's really, really loyal. Great caddie. I think that the great thing is that when we get under pressure or we get towards the end of a tournament, I feel like that's when we're at our strongest and that's where I can rely on him the most. That's something that's only really built up over time.

Q. Second, you talked about that you were doing things to focus on Augusta. Obviously you're not the only one. What the perils of just spending time focusing on one big event? Are there down sides to that?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, absolutely there are. I tried to address those in my schedule and stuff like that. So, I think that Augusta can loom very large in your head for a long time, because, obviously, it's eight months between Majors, the USPGA and the Masters rolling around. So it's a long time to think about it. But it's also very important to treat each event individually and to get the most out of each event you play without chalking it up to preparation. I think it's important to get your confidence going prior to Augusta, which means taking every event very, very seriously. I've changed things up a little bit this year, because I'm playing Houston before Augusta is what's on my mind right now, because of the fact I had two weeks off prior to Augusta last year and I felt exactly that, I just felt like it was too long to think about the tournament coming around. I was 6-over through 12 and kind of felt, well, I'm going to change it up this year.

Q. When you think about short shots around the green, how much is it technical and how much is it feel or natural ability something that you're born with in your hands?
JUSTIN ROSE: Generally or at Augusta.

Q. Generally.
JUSTIN ROSE: Generally? I think short game there's definitely a technical element to it. I think that the club can't be in certain position, if you are in certain positions you're going to hit bad chips. But for the most part it's feel. There's not -- the thing with short game is there's not just one shot. You can't have a stock shot that you can use all the time. You are having to adjust the shot, the launch angle, the spin rate. And you do that through feel and you do that through just basically reacting to what you see. We all practice a stock type motion, but then you're always adapting that and sort of getting into different levels of how extreme you might be with how quickly you release your right hand or how much you open the face. But, for me, short game's a lot about seeing the shot first and then reacting and feeling the shot from there.

Q. Can you lose that feel?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, you can lose your confidence and there for there's not as much clarity on the shot. So I think the visual part for me is the most important part. I think that I've been many times whether it's putting or iron play or chip, the more sort of technical you get, the more you think about the shot, or the motion, the less are you into the shot you, you don't become as reactive. So, I'm always trying to be aware of that and that is a challenge in golf. It's very easy to focus on the technique side and then it's hard to make that cross over and switch sometimes.

JOHN BUSH: All right. Justin Rose, thank you, sir.

JUSTIN ROSE: Thank you.
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