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January 27, 2016

Justin Rose

San Diego, California

AMANDA HERRINGTON: Good morning, everyone. We would like to welcome Justin Rose to the interview room here at the Farmers Insurance Open. Justin, making your first start of the year. Last time we saw you was at the season opening at Frys where you finished T-6. Was a little busy after winning in Hong Kong and a course record down in Bahamas. So catch us up on the fall and your winter months.

JUSTIN ROSE: You mentioned the course record there in the Bahamas, that was my last competitive round of the year. So it was nice to sleep on 62 for seven straight weeks. That was kind of fun. But, yeah, it's been a basically, took some time off after the Hero.

Always try to maybe take two, three weeks whatever it might be without touching the clubs after the end of the season and I wait until I get that itch to play again. I think that's really important to sort of miss the game of golf. And once I sort of feel that feel, I kind of get back to practice. And I guess it's been about three weeks now just really practicing hard and getting ready for the season.

But throughout that whole seven week period I still tried to stay in the gym, keep moving, stay disciplined and all that good stuff. But really nice to be back out on TOUR and put all the hard work to the test.

AMANDA HERRINGTON: Welcome back, and we'll open it up for questions.

Q. Curve ball here. Fox just announced that had they have hired Paul Azinger to be at the U.S. Open and do some of the other USGA events. Just wondering what your thoughts are on golf on TV and having Azinger doing that job.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, flying out here actually noticed I was seeing Golf Digest did a big old interview on which analysts are the most popular and what have you. It was good to see Faldo up there.

But I think Zinger is great. The little I have heard from him on the TV -- I like to be on the other side, not watching too much TV, I like to be out there in the action. But the little I've seen, I think Zinger is great. And I've always respected him. He's very clear in what it takes to be a great player, and I think if he can put that across to the fans, I think it would be a great addition.

Q. You mentioned getting that itch again. I'm curious, how are you going to approach your schedule this year with what appears to be a hectic year for a lot of the top players? And how do you maintain that freshness and that itch throughout the busy year?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, so I think that the way it looks like things set up, it's kind of a week on, week off type of year. If you're a guy who likes to play the week before a Major, I think you're going to have a tough time building a schedule. The Majors come so thick and fast in the summer that for me, it just looks like it's a week on, week off, week on, week off, type of flow. I think that that's the way I'm approaching it. Trying to stay fresh. Just work in sprints this year and try and get your down time as best you can.

Q. I saw you congratulating Rickie on the practice green yesterday. What does it feel like, as a guy who is at the advanced age that you are, looking at the top four in the world now and in their 20s.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, there's definitely been that really evident shift the last few months. Especially with Rickie stepping up and sort of winning tournaments and fulfilling all his potential. I think it's really great for golf to see those guys step up.

And there's plenty of guys, Bubba, myself, Henrik Stenson, right behind them, obviously doing our best to remind them that it's not just a young man's game. I still feel at 35 now, that my best golf is still ahead of me. I'm still in that sort of sweet spot where I'm feeling fit and feeling fresh and feeling young, I'm feeling experienced, and hopefully can use all those attributes to still play my greatest golf yet. So, it's inspiring to see what the young guys are doing, but at the same time it's also motivating to sort of keep pace.

Q. With Ryan Ruffels making his PGA TOUR debut here this week at 17, I know you can't put yourself in his shoes, but from your own perspective when you turned pro as young as you did, when you look back now, what were the biggest challenges that you saw coming out of that?
JUSTIN ROSE: I actually didn't know Ryan was quite that young. I knew he was a youngster, but, yeah, that's young.

It is amazing. I think that for me at the time, I think that there seemed to be more and more players getting better younger whether that's coaching, whether that's the Tiger affect, and I'm thinking of the lag affect of Tiger coming through.

But for me, it was like almost a socialization thing. I think when I was 17 and the youngest guy on TOUR at that point was 23. So I felt a little bit out of my depth from that point of view and from a peer group point of view.

But I think that now there's definitely more of a mass of young guys out on TOUR and you can fit in much easier. I think he's, obviously, clearly a great talent, but I think he should have less of a hard time with that.

But just patience is the ultimate virtue, really, at that age. Because you're obviously excited to be out on TOUR, you want to prove to people that you're ready. But at the same time, you're -- I'm 35, I've had half of my career. Well, I'm twice his age and yet I'm still looking forward and thinking I have my best golf ahead of me. So for him to have the big picture in mind I think is the best advice I can give him.

Q. Where did you make your PGA TOUR debut as a pro?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think my first time playing a -- well playing in America was the 2002 U.S. PGA at Hazeltine. That was my first, call that PGA TOUR event or not, but my first event in the States was that event.

Q. How momentous was it for you at the time?
JUSTIN ROSE: It was very momentous. It's still a momentous event for me because it was actually the first time, first and only time, my dad got to see me play a professional event in the States. He passed away only a month after that. So sort of it's a bitter sweet memory.

But I played well. I finished 17th. It kind of lit the fire for me that this is where I wanted to play my golf. I enjoyed the atmosphere, I enjoyed the style of the course, I enjoyed the energy of the Major Championship, I enjoyed the energy of playing in America. I think that that kind of was the positive experience, that positive experience sort of led the way for me to very early in my career wanting to transition to the PGA TOUR.

Q. How much have you played with Rickie? And if you could offer some perspective on how his game has grown. And also are you aware together around you if you're playing with him is a little different than other players?
JUSTIN ROSE: I haven't played a lot of golf with him. But certainly played enough to know what goes on around him and you just have to be on TOUR to see the affect he has and definitely the young kids that come out dressed like him. I guess we're going to see high tops now with the youngsters with the lid, with the hat as well. So he's very unique in his styling. I think he is his own man, which is fantastic. And he plays golf that way too. He's got that style and flare that are unique to him. I think his golf's grown. I think Butch has done a great job with him. Technically, he looks a lot better than he did maybe two or three years ago, but also his course management and his maturing into sort of putting away tournaments and I guess you win by maybe making less mistakes as well as making more birdies. So he seems to be doing a good job of all of that. But Rickie's always had a good temperament. He let's bad shots go very easily and very well. Which I think is sometimes not the easiest thing to do, especially for young players.

Q. They're going to redo the North Course here in about five minutes after you guys are done playing this week. Can you give us your thoughts on playing that course and if you thought there are some things that you would have liked to have seen changed on the course?
JUSTIN ROSE: It's such a stunning property that I'm sure that there's improvements that can be made. It's a really fun golf course to play. It's a low scoring course to play. But it can be an aggravating course to play. It's very hard to hit the fairways, it's very tricky. I feel like some of the bunkering is pulled too far away from the greens. But some of the greens are severely pitched, tilted one way or the other, which makes some pin placements tricky or difficult or not enough pin placements potentially.

So I think that a tweak is exciting for the course. I think that facilities like this, it's always great to have the championship big brute of a course, which is the South Course is and then have a slightly easier shorter more playable course. So I think to build another South Course on the North Course is probably -- I don't know what the brief is -- but that wouldn't be the right thing to do. But I think there's definitely some cool changes they can make. I don't know what the routing is, but hopefully they can bring in a little bit more of the canyon vibe, a little bit closer into play, potentially.

Q. What do you think is the balance they should have between the general public playing but then the one week where you guys are out here each year?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think -- well, it's, the balance is that it needs to be playable for general public, the design brief needs to cater to them, more than it needs to cater to us. Because we are here just for the one week like you say. But you need to create green complexes that are still interesting enough where they can put pin placements around the edges and make it tricky for us, at least strategically, where we need to decide what pins we should go for and what pins we should play safe from. But when the pin placements are somewhat in the middle of the green it's playable for every level of player.

Q. Paul Dunne was in here yesterday and he's a member of this so called class of 2011, guys that would have gotten out of high school then. Spieth is one of those guys, Justin Thomas is one of those guys, Emiliano is one of those guys. Do you look at it that way, like do you remember who came up with you, who was the same age, and how sort of where everybody ended up now and, gee, aren't we all doing great or, gee, I wonder whatever happened to all those other guys?
JUSTIN ROSE: I always felt throughout my whole career I always felt like I was two or three years ahead of my class. I guess the guys I grew up playing golf with were always older than me but they were the Paul Caseys, the Luke Donalds, guys like that. Obviously I kind of saw myself in their age group, even though I was much younger, but I was always playing at that level from an early age, I was always playing up. So I don't really feel like, when I look back, I don't have guys that are my age, when I look back at when I was maybe 14, 15, 16, 17, I didn't really have any natural rivals that are still with me right now. It was always more the guys that were two or three years older than me that were my rivals back then that I maybe feel like they still are now. But that's certainly a great group of players that are coming through and Paul's got a great career ahead of him, but I think it's incredible what he did at the Open Championship there certainly for three days and it was the most under the radar Open Championship for the amateurs, there were like three or four incredible performances that I don't think got enough recognition, really, because of how strong they all were together. It was hard to sort of give one of them so much credit, because there were four of them doing the same thing. It was incredible.

Q. You mentioned you're feeling fit at the moment. And you tweeted about Team 360 and your training. How has it been going there with Team 360 as a whole here?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, so Justin Buckthorp is basically my, I want to call him my performance coach, he's more than a fitness trainer, he looks after my nutrition and pretty much everything that goes into sort of performing well. He's built a brand around what he does, which is called 360 Health and Performance and there's many aspects to what he does. He also finished his Masters in nutrition which he's been working really hard on. So I'm getting all the benefits of all of his knowledge and we use that in many different ways. Obviously, through getting fitter, stronger, but staying healthy. The gym is, it's obviously a very important place to be, but it can be a place where, if you're not doing the right things, it can be a dangerous place to be, too.

So having someone you really trust to help you navigate through that is very important and I certainly trust Justin. From the other point of view, we look at the holistic approach to health and nutrition and dealing with the little things that go on, like allergies and stuff like that. Especially the run into Augusta, we do certain things to try and sort of engineer my performance that way.

AMANDA HERRINGTON: All right, thank you, Justin.


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