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November 18, 2015

Justin Rose

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

SARAH GWYNN: Morning, everyone. Justin, thanks for joining us this morning. Welcome back to Dubai. Just give us your thoughts ahead of a very special week.

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, obviously always enjoy finishing the season here in Dubai. It's a course that I really enjoy playing. It's a course that's good for me. I've played well here the last few years and I come in here with the exciting chance of trying to win The Race to Dubai. It's going to be a fun week.

SARAH GWYNN: You obviously know this course well, shot 62 a few years ago, the course record. What is the secret to going low around here?

JUSTIN ROSE: It's probably good iron play to be honest. The fairways are generous enough where I think that most guys are going to be putting it in play off the tee, and I think it's a great second-shot golf course.

The greens are fairly big but there's sections of the greens where they put the pin that you can sort of work the ball to the hole. In some senses like Augusta, there's a few sort of sideboards and the pins are occasionally in little bowls; if you hit an accurate iron shot, you create a lot of birdie chances.

Obviously the greens are very, very good and particularly good this year. So you're also going to have to make a lot of putts because the winning score is normally pretty well under par. You're going to have to putt well.

SARAH GWYNN: And there's a lot of talk about Rory McIlroy and Danny Willett, but you're in third place and still could win the whole thing. How do you feel about that.

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, that was my whole goal was to come into this tournament with a chance that if I win, then I have a great chance to win it.

I actually don't know the maths on it. If I win and Rory finishes second, I'm not sure if he still wins or if I win, I don't know. But it's going to be very close from that point of view.

But the way I see it, if I win this tournament, I would be very unlucky not to win The Race to Dubai. So for the most part I've done my job of getting to this point in the season with a great chance to win it all.

Q. Rory has got a pretty phenomenal record around here. How do you fancy your chances this week?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I fancy my chances. I think he pipped me in 2012, was it. I remember being two ahead playing the last and he was a few holes behind. I looked at the leaderboard I was two ahead playing the last and I made birdie on his last. Very few times you play the last two ahead and make birdie and lose. He birdied the last five to win.

Obviously he has a great record. Henrik Stenson has a great record here. I would say me, Rory and Henrik, all of us have played incredibly well at this venue the last few years. There's a pretty fair chance that one of us is going to be there on Sunday, and obviously we are all hoping it's going to be the right guy from our own point of view. But there's definitely going to be a lot of challenge this week. Whoever wins is going to still have to play their best golf.

Q. Have you had your five minutes with Keith Pelley?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, my hour and five minutes, yeah.

Q. What do you think, and how much of that hour and five minutes did you talk and how much did you listen?
JUSTIN ROSE: It was good. Obviously I think it was myself, Rory and Henrik all sat in a room and it was very informal. And it was just getting to know Keith a little bit and hear a little bit about his vision. He was more of a fact-finding mission I guess. He wanted to get our thoughts on things and throwing around a few hypotheticals.

It was just a really nice, open format. It was good to get to know him. He seems like a great guy with good ideas and a fresh energy, so it's exciting.

Q. Coming here to Dubai, when you look back on your season this year, what sort of report card would you give yourself for the season?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think having won now in Hong Kong, I think it goes up to certainly the B-plus, A-minus range.

My play in the major championships I think was probably a highlight. I think I was maybe fourth all-time low score in the majors combined, average score. I think that's something to be proud of. Both I would say -- all three really, the Masters, Open Championship and the PGA Championship, I had a chance to win on Sunday. Those are good positions to put yourself in.

Obviously you can really build a great European Tour season around playing well in the major championships, and that's what I've done this year. You always want to win tournaments and I felt like I played very, very well through summer without having won.

Won the Zurich Classic back in April I guess, and then through the summer, created a few chances to win, had not won, so it was important for me to get to that win in Hong Kong just to keep that winning feeling.

Yeah, for the most part, it's been a very good year coming into here and this would be obviously icing on the cake.

Q. As you said, you played really consistently through the out the season. Do you feel you've been a little unlucky to reach this point having not won what are the considered the biggest prizes?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, because you can never control what other people do. So if I played like I did this year, next year, maybe that would result in one or two major championships, you never know, absolutely. I feel like I'm knocking on the door again to win the big tournaments, and sometimes you need to do that to get that breakthrough.

So for me, it's about consistency, and if I continue to put myself in that position, then the door is going to open for me. Obviously I feel like this year, I've been beaten a couple of times by record-breaking performances, was Jason Day, 20-under, whatever he was at the PGA and Jordan again, 18-under at the Masters.

It's taken record-breaking performances to sort of prevent me from winning -- I know I finished third or whatever I finished or fourth, or I don't even know, at the PGA. But I was 17-under playing the 12th or 13th hole but because Jason was already a few ahead; by pressing you make a couple mistakes. Had I been at the front, some of those mistakes wouldn't have happened necessarily.

So I felt like I did all the right things to give myself a chance to win this year, so I just need to continue to do that next year, and you sometimes can't force the victory. It just needs to happen.

Q. We had Henrik in here yesterday, and he was saying he's having a problem with his knees or he had problems before with one and now with another. He said that he advises young players today to get as fit as they possibly can. Do you regret anything in your fitness over the years or have you always done as much as you should?
JUSTIN ROSE: The good thing is now, I feel at 35, I feel fitter and stronger than I did as 25. At 21 I was already having pretty severe back trouble and really, touch wood, haven't had anything significant since 2007.

I feel like I have done a pretty good job of being diligent in my fitness, and I think it is incredibly important to have longevity to stay fit. But there's also -- it's always a risk/reward situation in the gym. Being fit doesn't always meaning incredibly strong, and to get incredibly strong, you take on risk in the gym.

Any time you lift weights and press to get incredibly powerful, you risk injury, too. So there's a very fine line and you need very good people around you to sort of guide you through the process.

Q. And presumably those people are getting better and better at what they do?
JUSTIN ROSE: It's like anything, there's a lot of science in sport now and everything can be measured and tweaked and changed, and you need a good team of people around you, which I think obviously I feel that I've been able to assemble in the last sort of five or six years.

Q. In what way is it a goal for you to become the world No. 1?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I would say it's on my radar, and I probably -- yeah, for the first time I feel like it's a realistic goal, the way I'm playing, the consistency with which I'm playing. I feel like if I get a hot run and suddenly get on a run where I win a couple of majors and a couple of other tournaments, I'm right there to be world No. 1.

You see Jason Day and Jordan and Rory, the way they have been trading around this year; and obviously those are guys I play golf with a lot, and you see their games and you obviously sometimes feel that there's no reason why I can't play to that level, as well.

Yeah, the world No. 1, I'm still a long way away from it. It needs a very special run, but I believe it's possible.

Q. There is quite a gap in terms of points between you and Danny Willett and Rory up at the top there. Do you think that maybe you come in with the pressure and the expectancy off you a little bit, and is there a chance that maybe they view it as a head-to-head, and you can come in under the radar, as it were?
JUSTIN ROSE: The equation for me, it's simple. I'm close enough that if I win, I feel like I win the whole thing. So it's very simple for me. I feel like I'm close enough where that's good. I'm as close as I need to be.

Where those guys are going to have to keep their eye up on one another; there's a scenario where they could finish 20th and 25th and pick up The Race to Dubai, obviously if people like myself and Shane don't finish in the top two.

They are going to be the guys that are going to be looking at the scenarios of the week a lot closer than I am, because for me, it's a pretty simple equation. I need to go out and pretty much win the tournament and if I do that, it could be a great week.

Yeah, so from that point of view, is there less pressure on me, probably not. There's probably more pressure because I have to win, but it's a much more simple equation. At least I know I can be very single-minded on what my goal is this week.

Q. If you had to assess your golf over this year, what would you say is the part of it that's pleased you most, and which is the part that you think you -- I don't want to say disappointed with, but perhaps hadn't pleased you quite as much as the other parts; best and worst.
JUSTIN ROSE: I would have to go consistency being the most pleasing part. I think as a player, you know, like Jack Nicklaus, for example, has always said that his bad was better than everybody else's bad, and he was able to manage his game and that created a lot of winning opportunities for him.

So I feel like my consistency has gotten a lot better, and that's what I'm most pleased about, I would say, is that my overall level, my mean average has gone up this year.

Your good is always good, but I would say my average has gotten better. So that's pleasing. And I feel like I'm working on some exciting things. I feel like I streamlined my routine. I streamlined my mental approach. I feel like I'm freer on the golf course. I feel like everything is a bit more simple and easier out there for me. I'm not having to think through things as hard or as much.

So that's a bit of an easier place to play golf, especially under pressure. So I think that's also been another step forward mentally this year. Seen also a lot of improvement in my putting. Again, that's a big improvement, and if I continue that trend into next year, it will be an exciting year.

Areas I can work on, that's always areas you can work on. I would say chipping is an area I would like to improve and just develop a little bit more confidence in, and that's something I can do over the off-season.

Q. Rory wouldn't have been a problem for you to catch if he obviously had not been here. What was your view on him getting the special exemption to be in The Race to Dubai having only played 12 events?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it's important to have guys like Rory involved in the Tour and committed to the Tour, and if you didn't give him that special exemption, we'd have lost him in Turkey and we'd have lost him this week. I think overall as a Tour, it's good to have him around.

Obviously the exemption came through an unfortunate injury and unforeseen circumstances. If he had maybe just not wanted to get out of bed and play a couple tournaments, then that exemption doesn't become possible. But it was in a sense a medical exemption.

I think it's good for the Tour to have him competing and being at these tournaments.

Q. You just mentioned science in golf. How much do you use science, and if you can speak about one of your processes, like maybe putting.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, so I think I used to rely on science a lot. Used to use the TrakMan a lot. Used to use the Sandpit Lab a lot. Used to get a lot of data and feedback and try and perfect technique, and I think I've gone away from that a lot this year.

I've kind of put a lot more faith in my own ability and my own talent and my own creativity, and I think my process, especially my putting, is to be a lot more visual now and kind of just read the greens a bit better, see better pictures, have a better visualisation of the putt, and then trust that I'm going to putt the ball on that line, rather than believe the process would be read the green perfectly, aim the putter perfectly, put it on the perfect speed, have a perfect stroke.

It seemed like you had to do an awful lot of things well to make a putt whereas now I feel like I could do maybe one or two things wrong, but as long as I've got a good visual and bad stroke and bad alignment, you can still make the putt if you see it correctly.

Q. Is it self-awareness?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, absolutely, better self-awareness, better awareness of the target, better pictures, absolutely. All of that stuff I think is important.

Q. When do you start up again next year and what is your schedule up to Augusta?
JUSTIN ROSE: Not 100 per cent sure still. Next year is definitely a tricky scheduling. It's not normally my strong point. My manager behind you is already hanging his head. He's trying to get me to make these decisions, as well.

You know, Hawai'i, Kapalua, still on the radar. But it does seem to come around very, very quickly. Christmas, new year, do I want to play a tournament when I haven't really practice for a couple weeks, I'm not sure. Preparation is always a big part of how I go about things.

I was also thinking about playing a bit more on the West Coast and less in Florida this year. This year, I had a really tough Florida Swing, allergies and all sorts of stuff. I really suffered pretty badly, so I was thinking about doing a bit less Florida Swing heading into Augusta. So in a nutshell, that's what I'm thinking.

Q. You said you improved mentally a lot this season, so what have you been working on in particular? And you said you had bad allergies in Florida; have you tried already like nutrition-wise to change something that the allergies are going to improve?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, so I'll start with your second question, absolutely. I definitely did it the naturally the allergies and went on a low-histamine diet, cutting out all food that have a histamine load on the body.

When you get in an environment where your body is dealing with allergens, your body has a much better chance of coping. Whereas, if your body is already overloaded with things that you're eating -- basically things that you're eating, you have less ability to deal with obviously the pollens and stuff like that that you experience in your environment.

I did it the natural way, let's say, and when I got to Augusta, I was actually perfect. Didn't sneeze once and it was incredible how well it worked without taking any medication. So that will definitely be my goal running into Augusta next year is to do everything very cleanly and diligently.

And then from the mental side, I would say I'm almost keeping things a bit more simple and almost playing like a kid again in the sense of seeing the shot, hitting the shot, reacting to my target, rather than stepping through many, many different swing thoughts and things like that.

So in some ways, that makes the game feel a bit more simple. I'm trusting my own ability and stuff like that a little bit more. So it's actually been quite a fun, freeing period, and I'm enjoying the work that I'm doing on the mental side.

SARAH GWYNN: I think we'll wrap it up. Justin, thank you and good luck this week.

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