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August 11, 2015

Justin Rose

Kohler, Wisconsin, USA

JOHN DEVER: Good afternoon, everybody and welcome back to the 97th PGA Championship here at Whistling Straits.

I'd like to thank Mr. Justin Rose for spending a little time with us this afternoon.

Justin, this is your 13th PGA Championship, so welcome. Two top 10's in majors this year. A win in New Orleans. What's been the key for such a strong year for you?

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I guess the second place at Augusta turned the season around. I think the Florida Swing wasn't that strong, but really took the two weeks prior to -- well, actually prior to playing Houston -- took the two weeks after the Florida Swing to really evaluate my game and what I was working on, especially. Two weeks of really hard practice and I saw the results turnaround. And with the results come confidence.

Yes, it's been a good summer. It's been nice to perform well in the major championships. I certainly didn't panic earlier in the year when I wasn't playing well. Tried to tell myself that my year was going to be built around April through to September, and that's when a lot of the big tournaments rolled around. That's when I wanted to be fresh and at my best. It's going according to plan.

JOHN DEVER: Can you share with us your successes or feelings on Pete Dye golf courses, and what are your thoughts about this Straits Course here.

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I would say throughout my career I've had a bit of trouble with Pete Dye golf courses. He's the master of illusion and things like that. And his golf courses take some time getting used to.

The Zurich Classic this year, I won on a Pete Dye golf course, and last year I had my best ever PLAYERS Championship which obviously is a Pete Dye golf course. I think I'm getting my head around the challenges that he presents.

Definitely nothing is done by accident out there. It's very strategic. And this Whistling Straits golf course is incredibly tough, but it's a great golf course. It's going to reward good ball-striking this week, and really looking forward to the challenge.

Q. How do you reflect on last week and displaying so well but coming close and ultimately coming up a little short, does that make you even hungrier for success this week?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think it's a fair point. I played really well last week, obviously the frustration of not finishing it off.

You go into the final round tied for the lead with another great player like Jim Furyk. You certainly never count your chickens like it's going to be an easy walk in the park on a Sunday. There was obviously certain parts of my game that highlighted, that need a little bit of attention, and obviously that's what I focused these last couple of days on.

But absolutely, I feel like I'm trending in the right direction. T 6 at the Open, T 4, T 3, I'm moving towards the winner's circle. So I'm coming into here with a lot of confidence.

Q. This is the third consecutive major that's been played on a links-style golf course. How do you feel about that?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think that this is probably the least linksy of the -- obviously Chambers Bay was bone hard and played like a links.

The Open Championship played softer than the U.S. Open, due to the weather.

And it's incredibly lush here at Whistling Straits. The only thing that's linksy is the fact that you see water and there's some fescue grasses out there. But it's really target golf right now, the ball is not running. So the mindset-- the visual is links, but the mindset is target golf.

Q. What do you recall of playing here in 2004 and 2010? How much your game feels better adjusted now, better equipped to face the challenge here this week?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, fortunately I don't remember a lot. I think there wasn't a lot to remember, if I'm right in saying. Yeah, my game is definitely -- 2010 I had a good season up to that point and won a couple of times during the summer. And I think I came in here maybe a little burnt out, sort of trying to readjust to having had such a strong summer and getting a couple of wins under my belt. I felt like I was a little -- just didn't quite have that resolve to play well in the year's last major.

Whereas, my consistency feels like it's so much better than in those years past. I feel like I'm getting stronger as the year is going on. Hopefully, the game lines up much better for me this year.

Q. When you look at that leaderboard in 2010, you missed the cut, but the final leaderboard was very power centric with players that have the ability to over power that golf course. You mentioned target golf, do you feel that power is an advantage the way this course is set up right now and the way it's designed?
JUSTIN ROSE: Absolutely. There's certain areas of this golf course where the par 5s feel like they're all a good drive and sort of wood second shots. Some of the field are going -- it's going to be out of range for two-thirds of the field.

So power is a big advantage, as it seems to be every week. To go back to your question, that's a huge facet of my game that I've added the last couple of years, and certainly since 2010.

I think this year is the first year I've averaged over 300 yards on the PGA Tour, in terms of how far I carry the ball. I carry it a long way, which is what I'm going to have to do this week too. So, yeah, there's a new dimension of my game which should suit me pretty well on this course.

Q. You hit a good drive on the long drive contest hole today. Is there any specific strategy you use? Are you trying to hit a draw or fade or hit it as hard as possible?
JUSTIN ROSE: You know, you're trying to make good contact. I think sometimes when you over swing at it, the contact on the face gets a little iffy. I was trying to make sure I struck it well.

I actually hit it low in the heel, went down the left side. It was a bit of a lower flight than what I would typically see as my bomb. It got out there 307, I think it was. It was a respectable hit, but wasn't going to challenge for the lead.

Q. When we look at the course, all we can see is the bunkers. Which of the holes do they come into play and grab your attention off the tee?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think the ones -- the fairway bunkers seem to be relatively flat in the sense that you should be able to hit a decent iron shot out of them. And I think that's fairly fair.

But there's certain areas of the golf course where you have the bunkers that are set down on the hillside. Where you've got like -- for example, 16, the par 5, if you miss down to the left there and you find yourself in the bunker with a poor lie, very hard to get the elevation, the distance out of the sand to get up on to the green. Those are areas you really want to avoid. Anywhere the fairway bunkers are set down in the hill side, that's definitely the areas you want to avoid.

Q. Back to last week again, tee to green you were very impressive. Would that be about as good as you played all season tee to green, and what specifically have you done on your putting, preparing for this week?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I would say that is as good as I've played all year. I drove the ball particularly well at Firestone, which was a huge advantage. The fairways were firm. If you drove it in the fairway, you were getting a bunch of extra roll. And I was splitting the fairways, and they were fairly narrow. So that was a nice element to my game.

And then on the Saturday, particularly, I felt very comfortable and confident and I rolled with that through my round. I was taking on tight pins, just because I felt like I had control of the golf ball. Saturday in particular was a very memorable round and was capped off by me holing my longest putt of the year, which kind of wasted the mojo into Sunday.

Sunday was an awkward day, really. I'd been putting, to be honest, quite solidly all week. The three-putt on the second kind of set the tone a little bit, sort of maybe got me a bit too tentative for the rest of the round and I wasn't able to shake it. I really needed to make a mid range putt, make a birdie, get things back on track and wasn't able to do that.

This week I think there were a lot of positives last week and, again, it's a bit of a consistency thing. I think my good putting has been pretty good, I just need to find that level of consistency. I'm not trying to change too much.

But The Open Championship I switched to a different putter, which worked well until the short-term, as often these changes do. But I think I was beginning to fall into some different habits with it, and was beginning to swing too quickly to the inside, which was making it hard for me to find my line on the way through.

I'm looking at going back to my old putter this week. My old putter is definitely a putter that would suit these greens that are rolling very pure.

Q. When you get in the vein of good form, as you clearly are now, how long typically do you think it lasts for?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I feel like I'm still hoping to keep the peak going. I would say this would be a great week for it all to line up. I've been trending in the right direction. It would be nice to take that extra step and get over the finish line first.

But then the weeks off becomes important. How you manage your rest time, your recovery, so you don't burn yourself out. But there's no reason why I don't feel like it's not sustainable the way I'm playing through the next month or two.

I haven't had anything in my game that I don't feel like is not what I've been practicing, and not what shows up for me every day on the range. I've just been taking it to the course better. My mindset has been very good, I've been very patient on the golf course, thinking about it, mentally very sharp. If I can stay physically rested, mentally sharp, the rest can take care of itself.

Q. Two months or so?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think so. And I'm hopefully getting better the next two months.

JOHN DEVER: Justin Rose, thank you for your time. Appreciate it, and best of luck this week.

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