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July 7, 2015

Justin Rose


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Defending champion of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. Many thanks for joining us. Your thoughts on defending, first of all.

JUSTIN ROSE: I feel like every time I've played well this year, I've converted it into a top two finish, anyway. U.S. Open was probably the exception to that. Felt like I played well there and turned a 72 -- a 66 into a 72 each day. That's the way I felt each day. All in all, I feel like I'm going into the summer in a good place and playing well and looking forward to the tournaments coming up. I drove the ball really well at the U.S. Open. It was a shame it wasn't a traditional U.S. Open because I actually drove it unbelievably well, but there wasn't much value in that at Chambers Bay. But obviously there's going to be some different elements this week, controlling your irons really well. As we round out into links golf, I think making some putts from 20 to 30 feet, I think in links golf that's quite important. It's hard to get the ball close to the hole, especially at St. Andrews. Mid-range putting, and keep doing the rest well.

Q. How much do you enjoy the challenge of links golf?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I love this time of year. I feel like obviously coming off the back of the U.S. Open, almost have a prolonged spell of links golf. It's quite weird to see the U.K. being much greener than the US. I played St. Andrews the last couple of days and it's definitely looking very green but it's in great shape. You're still going to have those tests that you normally face. Like I said, the wind is always a big factor depending on the forecast but potentially at St. Andrews, you're going to have it a little bit less fiery and bouncy from years past but you still have to avoid bunkers and be strategic off the tee. The Scottish Open last year, I hit so many mid-irons off the tee, 6-, 7-irons and 5-irons, 4-irons off the tee to hit 5- and 4-iron into the green, so you play the game very differently.

Q. What are your abiding memories of the win last year?
JUSTIN ROSE: Really winning on a links course I think for the first time in my career. I view that as a big source of confidence in these next two weeks, but getting better each day as well, 69, 68, 66, 65, those are some of the things. And the photograph at the end, I had my family and my wife's family up here. It was just a great group shot at the end.

Q. Rory McIlroy won't be with us; some players stay away from anything that causes a problem and some players say, hey, you've live your life. What's your prerogative?
JUSTIN ROSE: I say live your life, but I do try to stay away from dangerous stuff, too. But a game of football, that's one of those innocuous -- would I go skiing? No, I wouldn't. Would I go waterskiing. No, probably not. But a kickaround with your mates, one of those ones -- would I play tennis? Yeah, I would. So you could probably just as easy roll your ankle playing tennis as you could playing football. Yeah, it's a tough break for him obviously especially this time of year.

Q. Can you give us an idea of how, why this course is different from last year and what does that mean for you and the way that you play?
JUSTIN ROSE: I rely a lot upon my caddie, Fooch. I can't really elaborate upon your question too much because I haven't seen this course yet. My caddie, Fooch, walked it a couple days ago and says he's got a good game plan in place. He said that the greens are incredibly good, quite narrow off the tee. Not necessarily a lot of bunkers or a lot of trouble but just narrow fairways, and maybe one side is better to miss than the other. Going to try to get a good look at it tomorrow. Basically, the style of golf is going to be the same. Be quite conservative off the tee. I think links golf, specifically, you want to try to miss the bunkers. The top bunkers are so penal that staying out of those is first and foremost and good long-range putting and good touch around the greens and trying to eliminate the silly mistake. I think if you can do that, should do your score well on links courses.

Q. Being a champion, is that something -- is that a good thing or a bad thing? No one's ever defended The Scottish Open. How much more pressure --
JUSTIN ROSE: A lot worse than it did five minutes ago -- to be honest with you, I don't pay a lot of attention to it. I think each week is a whole new body of work than it was this time last year, a lot of changes in 12 months. Especially when you come to a new golf course, I think that what happened last year is a little less relevant to being defending champion. I think for me, it's a whole new test, it's a whole new opportunity and that's the way I'm approaching it really.
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