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April 26, 2015

Justin Rose


THE MODERATOR:  All right.  We will go ahead and get started.  We'd like to welcome the winner of the 2015 Zurich Classic New Orleans champion, Justin Rose.  Fitting with you being the Zurich ambassador.  Congratulations on your seventh career PGA TOUR win.  With the win you move to 15th in FedExCup standings and if we did our numbers right, six seems to be the number, 66 holes without a bogey and as of 2012 you're now 60 under par here at the TPC Louisiana.  Certainly worthy of a victory.  So congratulations on your win.
JUSTIN ROSE:  Thank you very much.  Yeah, obviously with those numbers, I felt like this is a tournament that I've been getting better at each year, I've been getting stronger each year, and I think maybe that's four top 15s in a row now and then last year I managed to squeeze a Top 10, and obviously I've dreamed about coming in here this week and winning the tournament.
I've talked about feeling more and more comfortable on this golf course, and you know, those are some great numbers in week, so go so many holes without a bogey and to shoot 22‑under par, obviously was fantastic, and it's great that it resulted in that beautiful piece of silverware.
THE MODERATOR:  Okay.  With that we'll jump right in and take some questions.

Q.  Justin, obviously the grind of the whole week with the delays and everything else, when you get to 17, a hole that doesn't give up a lot of birdies, you made a birdie there and then the birdie there at 18 to shut the door, almost shut the door, but just talk about those two holes right there.
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, you're right.  Obviously the week's not been without challenge.  Obviously there's been a ton of rain here, the golf course condition has been so soft and wet.  We've played the ball up.  But all of that goes out the window when you're trying to win a tournament.  Obviously when you get down the stretch all of us out there are competitors and all of us are, you know, focused on what we need to do to win a tournament.  So yeah, to finish strong like that was just‑‑ that's the thing I'm going to be most proud of when I look back at this tournament.  Not necessarily the bogey‑free run or the 22‑under par, but it's knowing that I needed to do something walking to the 17th tee and pulling it off.

Q.  Justin, what is the key for you to keep your cool through all the almost nearly 10 hours of delays and suspensions over four days?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Well, you know, give my caddy a lot of credit.  He kept me drinking, he kept me hydrated.  He kept me eating.  You know, he kept pestering me pretty much.  He was force feeding me out there, because sometimes you don't want to eat.  Your mind's on the golf and it's very easy to distract from your physical needs, so he kept me just basically kept my energy up by making me take on food and drink as much as possible, and I think that helped me finish strong.  So that's something that I really‑‑ I try to make sure that I do week in, week out and make sure I'm giving my body the right fuel to finish strong.

Q.  Justin, congratulations.  What did you yell when you made that putt on 18?  We couldn't quite make it out.  I don't know if you remember.
JUSTIN ROSE:  I'm not sure, but it was probably a good chance it was come on or, yeah.

Q.  And obviously you played very well at the Masters and came up second.  Did that motivate you in a way that made you, you know, angry, wanted to kind of say you have something to prove or did it motivate you in a way to think that you're playing really well on this stretch and want to keep it going?
JUSTIN ROSE:  No.  I took my Masters performance with a huge amount of confidence.  I think I looked at the score that I shot around Augusta.  I shot 14‑under par, which would be good many, many times.  And I felt like I was beaten by just a phenomenal performance.  And sometimes you just need to tip your cap and say, great playing to someone who does that.
And just know that I'm playing at a level capable of winning major championships, and winning the Masters in the future.  So that's the way I try to view it, and the most important thing for me at Augusta was how I felt under pressure and how comfortable I felt on Sunday.  I really hadn't come into the year with which form going into the Masters, but surprised myself at how calm and collected I felt on that Sunday.
So that was the real take‑away for me from the tournament, and obviously that really helped me to have the confidence to put this one away.

Q.  Justin, I think I overheard you say outside you were blissfully unaware of the run of bogey‑free golf, like 66 holes in a row.  And could you expand on that and just talk about, I guess, the aggressive‑‑ the ability to be aggressive on a soggy course and strategy down the stretch?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, sure.  So I felt like my iron play was good, and that helped me look at the pins and feel like I could be aggressive.  And you know, you know if you miss a green you got ball in hand which means you're always going to have a chip shot with a decent lie, which helps.
I've begun to understand this golf course more and more over the years and a lot of the pin placements are in bowls and those bowls kind of continue three or four paces off the edge of the green.  So when the pin sheet was saying let's say 20 on and 4 right, I would see that as a green light flag, a flag I could be aggressive to, because I know if I hit it into that bowl, if I got it pin high, I could afford to be off the green, but still have a very makeable chip or an easy up‑and‑down.  So from the fairway I was definitely looking at a lot more flags than I would be normally.

Q.  What about the distance on 17 when it was near the water?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah.  I was walking from 16 to 17.  I knew I needed to do something.  In fact, walking from 15 to 16 I felt like I needed to make a bit of a run, post a couple of birdies, and I felt like 16 was a really good chance to make birdie, had a nice 9‑iron number in there and missed the green to the right in one of those bowls, but had an easy up‑and‑down.
But I felt like that was an opportunity lost, so walking to 17 I knew I needed to be looking at the flag there, and I had a great number at 213 to the pin and I hit my 5‑iron 210, so it was a very comfortable yardage for me to be aggressive.  I didn't want it left of the pin but I was looking straight at the flag, and you know, it would have been easy to hit it 20, 30 feet right of that pin, but I kind of knew that‑‑ because I was three or four holes ahead of some of the other guys in contention, I knew that they had birdie opportunities, and the way the course was, you know, even though I was tied for the lead potentially at that time, I kind of felt like I was still behind, so I need Todd make some birdies coming in.

Q.  Obviously you said two birdies right there, 17 and 18, if you had to pick one, which one were you more proud of, or you will be?
JUSTIN ROSE:  I think the one on 18.  Whenever you hole a putt on the 72nd hole or to finish out a tournament or to‑‑ you know, those are the most meaningful putts.  The putt at 17 sets up the opportunity to win the tournament, but when you go ahead and Slam the door by making a nice putt like that, that's by far and away the best feeling.

Q.  Justin, the British this year is at St. Andrews.  I'm sure it's a special place for you.  Going forward to that, and of course the U.S. Open is coming up, too, what's kind of your plan to get ready for those two big tournaments after this one?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Well, I think if you look at Chambers Bay, you look at St. Andrews and you look at Whistling Straits essentially you're playing three somewhat links golf courses or golf courses without trees and potentially windy golf courses, so my plan in the coming months, coming weeks is to really focus on strategy in the wind to get control of my ball flight in an up‑and‑down manner.  You know, we think about drawing or fading it, but start to really focus on the trajectory I'm hitting the ball, so I think that could be very beneficial for the majors.

Q.  You're going out to San Francisco to play in the Match Play this week.  30 holes one day, does it make you feel kind of like the Match Play atmosphere?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, obviously you want that test in the Match Play.  You want to get to the weekend where you're having to grind it out and play 36 holes a day.  That's obviously a good problem to have.
But today was obviously‑‑ you know, there was a good amount of endurance in it, and the ground is soft, which makes walking even harder, but yeah, it's great when you are in contention, you forget about the physical side and you're sort of floating on air or the adrenaline is pushing you on.
So the next sort of 48 hours for me are going to be very important to recover and recharge the batteries.

Q.  Would you say this was an unusual victory among your seven in terms of the style of course and the style of scoring that was going on so far under par?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah.  Typically my M.O. has been tough golf courses and traditional golf courses and golf courses where 10‑under par is a good score.  So yeah, I would say that this is not in my wheelhouse, let's say.  But it was nice to‑‑ you know, you want to become a player that can win on every type of course, and I will take a lot of confidence from the fact that I was able to play a golf course that it was, you know, you had to be very aggressive on and shoot low and keep shooting low.  So I take a lot of satisfaction from that.

Q.  I think you had about 40 or 45 minutes to wait after you finished at 18.  Were you a little concerned?  They had some guys back there, Jason day, that they could maybe catch you.  Do you get nervous at this stage of your career?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Well, you don't get nervous.  You've done all that you can do.  I knew that I had like 45 minutes to an hour before I'd be teeing it up again in a playoff, so I allowed myself sort of 10, 15 minutes to really enjoy it, to sort of think what it might be to win and then know that I can get myself back in the zone if I need to get back in a playoff.
So if you're the second‑to‑last group it's very difficult to let your guard down and enjoy the moment when there might be a playoff ahead.  So you know, I was just, like I said, I was too far ahead to not try and enjoy it.
But I obviously walked off the golf course feeling like I'd done enough, and people were‑‑ the reception when I came off the golf course was I'd done enough.  So it's hard not to enjoy it with people.  It's hard to sort of stay too focused it at that point.

Q.  As a client of Zurich, does it make it extra special to win this tournament?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, absolutely.  This is the first tournament that I've won where actually my wife hasn't been on site.  So you know, I've substituted her now with a lot of good friends this week.  Being an ambassador for Zurich now for five years, I've gotten to know everybody very, very well.  And they're just one of the classiest companies around; and you know, if it's a birthday or if it's a significant date on the calendar, I always get emails from the executive board.  They just really stay in touch as friends, and I think, you know, I really value the relationship from that point of view.  And it's nice to share it with them.
THE MODERATOR:  All right, Justin.  Congratulations.
JUSTIN ROSE:  Thank you.

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