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April 5, 2016

Justin Rose

Augusta, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It's my pleasure to welcome 2013 U.S. Open Justin Rose to our interview room. This year marks Justin's 11th Masters appearance. In 2015, Justin recorded Top‑10 finishes at three majors, including his tie for second at the Masters, his best performance at Augusta National.
His win at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans marked his sixth consecutive year winning on the PGA TOUR.
Before we open up to questions, could you tell us how it feels to be back at Augusta?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it always feels good to be back here, and I mean, 11 times I guess is an honor, I suppose. That's getting up there now and I'm getting to the point where I can't remember if it's ten or 11, so I think that's a good thing.
Obviously plenty of knowledge of the golf course. Plenty of respect for the golf course. I don't think you ever feel like you've necessarily mastered it because invariably you learn something new every year, which is what I love about it. A lot of people ask me why I bother to come up prior to the tournament for a round or two and I tell them, why not, it's Augusta. You get a chance to play the course and it never gets old. So excited to be back here this week.

Q. You're the world No. 8, great performances in the majors last year, especially finishing second here. Would it be fair to say you're a bit under the radar coming in with all the other story lines and are you quite happy with that situation?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, obviously, I think golf is in a great spot right now with the world No. 1 trading around and the young guys really vying for that top spot. That's fine with me. I think that I've sort of been steady. I haven't really had any fireworks yet this year, to sort of come in here with people having me at the front of their mind.
I feel like all of my backroom work has all been fantastic and my preparation has been coming along nicely. Under the radar, but certainly feeling good with my game.

Q. You could well be in the Olympics. Can you give us the batting order of preferred wins this year, gold versus green jacket?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it's such a tough question. It's an unfair question.

Q. It's our job.
JUSTIN ROSE: Well done (laughter). I think you still have to go with major championships because ultimately in golf, that's the benchmark for us. That's where our sport is measured. Fortunately for us we have a few opportunities a year where we get to step into the realm of being a great player. Obviously other athletes have to wait sometimes four years for their crack at the big one. We get four chances a year.
But to have the honor of representing Team GB at the Olympics is something I'm very excited about, something I'm embracing, assuming I keep things together obviously and qualify. I'm planning on going down there early, taking in the opening ceremony and treating it as a once‑in‑a‑lifetime experience and opportunity.
Should my career look something like Justin Rose, multiple Major Champion and a gold medalist, I think that's going to read. I think it's going to have it's own very special asterisk being by it at the end of your career. It's tough to compare it to a major championship, but I think it holds itself on its own.

Q. How important is the Masters to you as one of the majors, obviously having won The Open here in the States, and being tied for second last year here, to what extent does that give you the confidence and the ability to break through and get that green jacket?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, obviously the Masters is a tournament, as a young kid, I watched probably as much or if not more than any of the others. The fact it came on late at night and you were able to stay up, bribe your parents, that it was the Masters and you could stay up late, probably part of the attraction. It's always had something special. To back up a U.S. Open win with a Masters would be just incredible. Obviously, The Open Championship is my home event, and that's going to be one that's always on the hit list.
But to win here, it's a venue that we come back year on year, you begin to develop that relationship with the course, the venue, the feel, the tournament. And it's somewhere I feel very, very comfortable. I've had a lot of good rounds here. Last year I was able to put four together in a row.
If I look back at the 16th green, I had a putt to get to 16‑under par, and you know, that level of performance obviously would have won many major championships, and essentially I was beaten by an all‑time great performance. So I take a lot of confidence from that; that any other year or many other years, that that level of performance is good enough to win. If you get beaten by a better guy on the week, you tip your cap. But I know that what I was able to do last year tells me I've got what it takes to win the tournament going forward.

Q. Just related to that, would you sign now for the same performance and the same score this year as you did last year?
JUSTIN ROSE: For the next ten years, sure (laughter), absolutely. I sure would.

Q. And just looking back on, do you take it as one of those things Jordan shot the lights out and you can't do anything about it?
JUSTIN ROSE: Very much. So I look back at the final round and I think there were times in the final round I was a lot closer to him than the ultimate score portrayed.
There was a momentum shift around 8 and 9 when I looked back at that. It was a routine up‑and‑down on No. 8 that I didn't make and I hit a great shot into No.9 that just skipped up onto the middle tee and I 3‑putted coming back down the ridge. I felt like that was a two or three shot swing there, had it gone the other way, obviously that's a big if, but had it gone the other way, everything changes going into the back nine. But Jordan's always able to make a putt to stay three or four ahead, which is obviously huge. He did a great job of obviously keeping that distance.

Q. After 2013 and your good play in the majors last year, are you much more comfortable at a major championship now?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think so. I treat them differently. I really enjoy the pursuit of them. I enjoy the preparation. I enjoy singling them out in my schedule and trying to prepare for them. I think to come to a major and feel like you've done the right things and done all the hard work and you come out and then just put a game plan together is what I enjoy.

Q. Is it a different feeling than before Merion?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think I've got to the point in my career‑‑ well, at Merion, winning at Merion was a product of that thought process and beginning to take the majors more seriously. I think you need to get to the point in your career where you can maybe sacrifice one or two other things to solely focus on the majors. I would say I still am not at that point where it's just the major championships that have my complete attention, but certainly, I build my year around them. And every decision I make year round is to stay fresh or to do well in the major championships. I think those are really what I'm chasing down now going forward, and yes, I do feel a lot more comfortable in them, because I think coming into anything prepared, you feel a lot more comfortable and confident.

Q. You've never missed a cut here. Has it been a comfort zone from the get‑go here?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think there's always been a good energy about Augusta National, from the moment you drive up Magnolia to teeing it up on the first tee to the practice rounds. It's the one major championship I enjoy the practice rounds, and I kind of wish the others would take a leaf out of Augusta's book in the sense of some of the ways they do things here. I think the players get a lot more out of it. I think the crowd gets a lot more out of it when we're out there enjoying the course and having fun with it.
But anyway, point is, I think it's the energy about it is I think always what's helped my performance here.

Q. With all this attention on the top three, do you think there's any risk that they might get distracted into playing each other rather than the golf course and let somebody like you in or do you think they are too professional to be distracted by the hype?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think they are way too professional for that. I think they have a lot of respect for‑‑ look at Bubba Watson, he's not in the group you're talking about and yet he's two‑time champion and difficult to beat around here.
So Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, myself, there's a ton of players that they're going to be certainly not overlooking, Henrik Stenson. There's a bunch. I think it's very, very strong right now.
I saw the odds come up today on TV, and there's a lot of players inside 12 to 1, five or six players. The bookies will give you 12 to 1 or better, and I don't think that's been the case in a major championship for a long, long time. Tells you the depth and strength, or the strength and depth right now.

Q. Apart from the fact that they all play golf very well, is there a characteristic that all those men you've just been talking about share, and if so, what is it?
JUSTIN ROSE: Difficult really. They are all young. They are all at slightly different stages of their life, as well. Jason having kids and Jordan being that much younger, makes a big difference when you're that much younger. Even though it's four or five years, it's still a big difference at that time in life.
But they are all incredibly‑‑ they are all very, very nice guys, very intensity competitive. At the end of the day, that's what it comes down to. To get to the top of your sport, you need to be intensely competitive.

Q. You mentioned you had not had the fireworks yet this season. Anything you can put your finger on that's been missing, a particular aspect of the game?
JUSTIN ROSE: Not really. Had a few mishaps here and there. Got sick at the wrong time and because of that, Doral was a tough week and back went a little bit and what have you. It's been kind of not being able to get to fifth gear and not practice as much as I wanted to through the Florida Swing.
But the last couple of weeks I've felt great and been able to get back to a full practice schedule. I've seen the difference in that. Hopefully from this point on, things will start to really get hot.

Q. In terms of winning a major, what was the biggest single thing you took from Merion to go forward?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think going forward, I think just having one is the most important thing. It is very difficult to face questions all the time about being the best player not to win a major, and is this going to be my week; and with that comes an extra sense of pressure. There's enough pressure trying to win these without trying to justify your great play and your billing in the game. So having won one, just treat it with the freedom now to go on and get some more.

Q. Just on Saturday I was down at the club when you showed up with the other Justin and Niall, curious about going down there with them and being with the kids and the car ride home looked pretty fun?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah it was good fun. Niall Horan and Justin Timberlake have become friends of mine through this great game of golf, and that's what the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship is all about, is introducing kids to the game. I think they are doing a fantastic job about that.
Obviously Niall and Justin speak to a big demographic, but obviously to give golf that cool factor, I think, is very, very important in terms of encouraging more and more kids to take up the game. Yeah, it was great. We obviously drove over to the River Club where they are getting ready for their big game on Saturday. Jumped out of the car and gave them a surprise. Just spent a fun 30 minutes with them.

Q. Do you feel you're still representing Britain in a very strong way, because of the fixation with Nick Faldo and the British and European challenge for the Masters? Does that still enter your head or do you see yourself as an individual chasing a prize or does the patriotic thing come in at all?
JUSTIN ROSE: The patriotic thing comes in at times. Faldo wouldn't have necessarily treated it as representing a flag. Obviously, golf is an individual sport, so we're out there to try and do the best we can for ourselves. And obviously certain times of year, it really comes around; there's a good reason to play well for obviously another big reason, obviously Ryder Cups or Olympics or what have you.
We get enough of that where you change gears a little bit around those times of year, but for the most part, it's probably a pretty individual pursuit. Although Nick flew the flag incredibly well, I think he was very single‑minded in how he did that.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Justin.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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