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August 8, 2015

Justin Rose


STEVE TODD: Justin, thanks for joining us. We just touched on it, but one bogey, 17 pars yesterday, and then the seven birdies today. It was a contrasting round. Talk us through the day.

JUSTIN ROSE: I guess that shows it just evens out, really. If you can kind of stay the course and stay patient, kind of believe that you're going to get your run eventually. Yesterday 71, I actually played really well. Not much different to today, certainly off tee. Drove it just as good yesterday as I did today, which is obviously the key to setting up a good round of golf around here. It just didn't happen really yesterday. But came into today with a belief that I was still playing well and probably made the adjustment mentally that possibly I was giving the course a bit too much respect yesterday. There's been a lot of talk about it being firm. I was probably being a bit too defensive with some of my wedge shots because of that. Today I was kind of playing the number to the flag a lot more than playing for that five- to ten-yard bounce.

STEVE TODD: And as if that round wasn't momentum enough, talk about that finish at the end. Nice way to sign off.

JUSTIN ROSE: Absolutely. I haven't seen a putt go in all week from outside eight feet, it feels like. To knock that ball in on the last, it was a nice bonus for sure.

Q. Justin, what was more satisfying today, seven birdies or no bogeys?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think it's no bogeys. I believe I just learned outside that there's only been two bogey-free rounds all week. Any time you keep it clean like that, it really helps your score, obviously. I think mentally it's great too. And today it wasn't like I was not in trouble. There were a couple key moments on the front nine -- I think No. 6 and No. 7 -- drove it right on 6 and hit it to the left edge of the green. I was off in the fringe and knocked it up to six feet and made that. Then the next hole, miss it in the bunker short and right, hit the bunker shot to seven, eight feet and made that. After starting birdie, birdie, those little saves around the front nine were important to keep the momentum going.

Q. What about 14?
JUSTIN ROSE: 14, I don't know if it's a ShotLink error, but someone just said 14-, 15-foot par save, but actually I drove it up in the right bunker up against the face and hit a really good shot to the front left of the green, 70-foot putt, and rolled it up to 4 1/2 feet and knocked it in.

Q. Excuse me. I've got to go make a correction.
JUSTIN ROSE: Someone asked me that question earlier, but there was no big par save really.

Q. Justin, you have a good history at the Memorial and here in Akron. Is there anything about Midwest golf or Ohio golf that appeals to you?
JUSTIN ROSE: I love the golf -- the condition of the golf course is always first class when we play the Memorial and again here. The types of grasses are fantastic, the bentgrass and then whatever the rough is. You know, I kind of like these overseeded type golf courses. Yeah, just they're really pure. Greens are fast. Greens are pure. So, yeah, that's kind of the style I like to play.

Q. Assuming it finishes the way it does in terms of Jim either being tied or one behind even, what's it like playing with him in that game?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think the only time I can remember playing with Jim was at the FedExCup at Liberty National. We both had a pretty good week. I think I had a chance to win on Sunday, and I think he finished top three or four. Yeah, I get on well with Jim. Always like to have a chat with him in the locker room and this and that. Yeah, it would be a good pairing. He obviously is very business-like out there on the golf course, and that suits me just fine. I think we're both players that just like to go about our business when we're out there. So it would be good.

Q. Even though you've had a couple close calls that you didn't win, you still seem you're on a pretty great run since the Masters. It your confidence -- I mean, have you felt like this? You seem like you're really on top of it.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think my game's in good shape, for sure. If I look at my results of late, they've been -- you know, I've just been missing a hot round, or maybe the putting has been great one day, not so good the next day, or something like that. Just looking for that tiny bit more of consistency through the week. But I'm giving myself opportunities, and that's all you really want. Obviously, if I look back at Augusta, that was the start of me feeling very confident. Got beaten by a great Jordan performance, but I felt that I was good enough that week to win another major. And even going into the last round of The Open Championship, I was minus 9, which Zach and Marc Leishman were both minus 9. So realistically, I had a good chance to win there. If I keep knocking on that door, I feel good. The only tournament I feel like I've let slip this year is Memorial. I played well there, should have knocked that one off. Got positive memories at the Zurich Classic. Felt like I really closed the door on that one, and I've been playing really well when I need to.

Q. I know you've got tomorrow to worry about, but any thoughts about next week? Do you like the venue? Obviously, it doesn't hurt to be playing well going into a major.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, absolutely. I've been trying to save a little in the tank in terms of not practicing too much or not doing too much stuff in the gym, just trying to keep an eye on next week. That will be important how I treat Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday next week. But, absolutely, this three-week run of mine, even though this is a big tournament, you're kind of trying to peak as you go through this three-week run. Tiger's tournament last week was played on a great golf course, which is very similar to this golf course in the sense of tree lined and same types of condition. So that was, again, nice preparation for this. And then obviously I'm trending nicely this week and keep it going into next week is the goal.

Q. Do you recall much about Whistling Straits? Any memories that are good or bad? Or what you like or didn't like.
JUSTIN ROSE: I haven't had a ton of success there. I played, I think, two PGAs there, '04 and 2010. So I've been there two times. I know the course somewhat. Nothing to write home about from memory's point of view. I think maybe just do a better job of getting a good game plan and be ready to play. But, yeah, I wasn't able to prepare for it as I do for some of the other major championships. I haven't been able to get up there prior to because, obviously, I've been on a pretty long run. I think taking care of my game and my confidence, I think is the most important thing. I'll learn the course pretty quick.

Q. I'm just wondering, you obviously had a good day, but the last six holes you were -- I mean, four birdies. Did you feel like you were in a zone? Did anything -- I don't know. Just wondering what that felt like.
JUSTIN ROSE: I felt like I was more in the zone and feeling really comfortable middle of the back nine. Then obviously, you know you're making a run, you know you're getting close to the lead. Suddenly, the cameras are out there. The atmosphere changes a little bit. So you kind of have to maybe focus up just a little bit harder. It was nice to continue to make the birdies as the atmosphere around the round changed. As we got towards the business end of things, it was nice to finish strong.

Q. Justin, Rory was playing a practice round this morning up in Whistling Straits. What's the impact of him being able to return next week and defend the title?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, huge. Obviously, any time a tournament misses its defending champion, it's a shame. He had such an amazing spell this time last year, that I'm sure it was a pretty untimely injury for him. I'm sure he's -- it sounds like -- it was a serious injury he sustained, and it sounds like he's done an incredible job with diligent rehab to get back so quick. I kind of figured we'd see him somewhere in the FedExCup potentially. I think it's fantastic for golf and next week that he's back. Yeah, back playing. Obviously, he's in a great pairing, I guess, is he? Next week, him and Jordan and Zach. Obviously, for those three to have missed Rory would be a shame for the tournament.
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