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April 7, 2016

Justin Rose

Augusta, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: Justin Rose is here, 3‑under par 69 today. He had birdies on holes No. 1, 3, 9 13, and 15. Finished tied for second in the 2015 Masters, a career best here at Augusta National. This is his 11th Masters appearance.
Open the floor for questions.

Q. You've played here quite a bit now. How would the conditions rate in terms of difficulty in rounds you've played?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think they were right up‑‑ well, in terms of the conditions, the weather conditions, I'd say it's the most breeze I think I've ever played in here at Augusta.
2007, I think was probably, we had maybe similar conditions. We had cold, windy conditions, and because of that the low humidity really dried out the golf course and that made it incredibly tough.
So barring the rain that happened this morning, I think that that was probably equally as tough as '07. Just the rain that softened up the course made it playable today. But with the forecast the next couple days maybe being as windy, I think this place is going to dry out very quickly and become much more difficult.

Q. What's the toughest hole out here when the conditions are like they were today?
JUSTIN ROSE: Might not be the toughest‑‑ well, it might be the toughest scoring‑average‑wise, but 12 is the one you don't necessarily look forward to, for sure. It's a hole you need to get through and commit to your shot. But you know, I think all the pin placements today were certainly playable. I think they suited the wind direction. The course was set up very well. If you played well, you could make some birdies.
I think the difference today was the downwind holes were your birdie chances because there was some moisture in the greens. Maybe in a couple days' time, the downwind holes, with the greens firmed up are going to become as tough as the into‑the‑wind holes. You had a little bit of respite today on some of the downbreeze holes which is where you had to build your score.

Q. What was your forte today?
JUSTIN ROSE: I felt like I just‑‑ I made some distance putts, some putts over 20 feet. I probably made at least three of those. That kind of always smartens up a scorecard when you're making some putts of length. I think that's probably what was difference between a steady day and a good day.

Q. Do you mind telling us where they were?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I holed a good one on No. 1 from about 20 feet. Then about 25 feet at No. 3. I holed about a 30‑foot putt at No. 10. I think that's the three, and then I putted solidly apart from that.

Q. You said outside just now that you talked about the change in grip and the change of putter. Could you just give a bit more detail about where you were, when it happened, when you decided that you were going to make that change before the Masters and why you did it?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I had my putting coach David over there last week and just toying around in the sand putt lab really at my house, getting some numbers on my stroke. In my golf room, I have a stash of putters. We were just sort of going through a few different options just to see where we were at.
I was certainly putting and stroking it quite nicely with my putter, and when I picked up the bigger‑grip style putter with the mallet and went to the claw or the saw or whatever you want to call it, I just really noticed that the stroke felt a lot smoother, and then thought that was interesting. Then the numbers on the sand putt lab were incredible. There was a big spike, a big improvement.
So it was kind of a mixture of feel and science telling me it was something that was working for me, and then I continued to practice with it the remainder of the week.
Questioned it. Obviously coming into Augusta, you question a decision like that. But the end of the day, I felt that with how I was putting, I was putting okay. I was putting fine. I was going to putt fine this week, but I felt like there was improvement to be had, and obviously you make these decisions based upon trying to win a golf tournament, not just trying to keep it status quo.

Q. If this was an Open course or a U.S. Open course and you had this kind of wind day‑in and day‑out, the fairways would dry and the ball would get away from you off the tee and run out, is this course lush enough that that's not the circumstance?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think that the fairways remain lush here, they play lush in a sense because of the way they mow. The mowing pattern is into you, so they never play too fast off the tee. But it's the greens that become firm.
And I think obviously has Augusta has ways and means of firming up the greens, as well, overnight, through SubAir and what have you. But the wind is going to do a very good job of drying out the course, too. Because of that, you still get the course playing somewhat long, but you have firm, fast greens in which to hit to, so it's quite a tough combo.

Q. Does having played as well here last year as you did, help either or both in your prep and in walking on that first tee on the first day, because you know you've played as well as you did last year?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I mean, last year was obviously a big confidence boost, but Augusta National has always been a place I've felt comfortable. I've always believed that I have a great game plan and a great strategy on how to play this golf course. I've always felt comfortable on the greens here. It's a place that just as soon as I get inside the gates, I enjoy being, and so all of those things add up to me feeling like I'm always going to have a good week here. The rest comes down to execution and hitting the shots.
But for the most part, I feel like I know how to play the course as well as anybody at this stage.

Q. If the conditions for the remainder of the tournament are going to be similar to today, what score do you think will be needed to win?
JUSTIN ROSE: Good question. I think it wouldn't take much if the greens firm up to think that 9‑under par could still win this golf tournament. You see 6‑under and you think, well, there's not much progress from there, but that's quite feasible at this point.
Sunday looks nice, so that might be a day to play catch‑up for a few guys. Who knows, but that's feasible for sure.
What I love about this course, going back to your question earlier about the setup and thick rough, if you had a course that was set up tight with thick rough and these winds, it would be incredibly difficult. But what I love about this golf course is it's a shot‑makers course. You can somewhat be a little errant off the tee but find a way to always be somewhat in play and get the ball up around the green and scramble for your par. So I think that's maybe another reason why there were some decent scores out there today because you're always in the hole.

Q. On the third‑‑ because you had that slight mistake on the second, and on the third, I think the other two lads, I think they took irons and you just pulled out your driver and your wedge. Did that sum up your attitude, attack?
JUSTIN ROSE: I hit 3‑wood, it's a bit of a nothing play if you think about it, you're getting neither close to the green, plus you're bringing the bunkers in.
What I felt was important today, the reason I hit 3‑wood was I felt hitting a 130‑yard shot into that heavy breeze was very difficult to control. I felt like if I could get my ball about 70 yards from the green I could hit a low, flighted wedge shot, and I would have much more control of my final landing spot.
So I was actually trying to play to what I felt was going to be‑‑ you either had to hit a great tee shot or a great second shot to play the hole well, so I kind of took a chance off the tee.

Q. It was aggressive, though?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it was aggressive, why not.
THE MODERATOR: Very good, congratulations on your round. Thank you very much for your time.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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