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April 26, 2016

Justin Rose

Avondale, Louisiana

MARK WILLIAMS: We'd like to get underway and welcome defending champion Justin Rose to the interview room. How good does it feel to come back and defend a title on the PGA TOUR?

JUSTIN ROSE: I mean, I know defending is difficult. I think obviously winning is difficult, so therefore defending is difficult just as a byproduct of that. I think defending -- you almost have more chance of defending than you do winning because you're coming in on good memories, you're coming in on a course that you feel comfortable on. There are some things that you need to be careful of, expectation and maybe some other pulls on your time during the week that come with defending champion, but provided you can manage all of that stuff, I think that the rest is all upside and you can go ahead and try and feed off the good energy. But also you've got to realize that the course doesn't realize that you're defending champion. You need to go out there and build a whole new body of work around this week, so that's my goal.

MARK WILLIAMS: You top-tenned at the Masters a couple weeks ago. Can you give us an assessment of your game right now?

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, you know, I evaluated my performance at the Masters, and I kind of feel like there was plenty of horsepower. 19 birdies and 5-under par wins the tournament, and you kind of look back, and you think, what if or what could have been. There was definitely plenty of horsepower. Just needed to do a better job of keeping it on the track, in a way.

I feel good by my game. That kind of leads me to believe that everything is in good shape and I've just got to tighten up a few things, and things are good. I think I'm probably in a sense a lot more consistent this year. I feel a lot more comfortable with my game this year coming into this tournament than even I did last year.

The second place at the Masters last year was kind of out of the blue, but this year I felt like my game is there or thereabouts all year long, so just waiting for that little spark and that little run where you get things going.

Q. Are you excited about participating in the Olympics this summer for your country? And what do you think it's going to do to help the game of golf?
JUSTIN ROSE: I don't know what it's going to do to grow the game worldwide. That's the hope. That's just the real reason for golf to be in the Olympics, and it's exciting for golf to be in the Olympics, that it does grow the game. The Olympics has a broader appeal.

You know, if we were to project forward, and obviously I'm looking to go to Rio and can't waited to go to Rio and excited to go to Rio, and the opportunity to play in the Olympics is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we're going down there and we're taking a full week down at the opening ceremonies just to feel what it's like to be a member of team GB and just take it all in. So yes, I'm excited about playing.

If I was to win, I think that would just be one of my career highlights. There's obviously the ultimate question people want to ask, is it more important to win a major or the Olympics, and that's a real tough question. They both stand out in their own right. But I think anyone who wins the Olympics, it's always going to be that kind of special thing that they were able to achieve in their career. So yes, I'm excited about it.

Depending on who wins it, it could really grow the game. If someone from a developing nation or developing golf nation won it, I think that would be huge for golf, so we'll just have to see.

Q. I'm curious how you unwind and set the reset button throughout the course of the year.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I like to get away from the game for sure. You know, I like to have some hobbies. I also feel like anything that revolves around being around water, whether it be a boat trip or fishing, whether it be snorkeling, whether it be swimming, I just find that therapeutic. That gets me away. Having a seven- and a four-year old is a good way to get away from the game, too, so the demands at home -- I wouldn't say demands, but the time at home, I'm being dragged out to play a lot more football, soccer, than I've ever done before. My little boy has gone sports crazy, and he's even beginning to ask me to take him up to the range now and stuff like that. There's a lot of good ways for me to sort of move my mind away from the game. That's all good stuff.

But yeah, it's definitely a tight schedule this year, and Jason is right; I feel like sometimes in a sense we're actors, and at home we're learning our lines, and then we come out on TOUR and we're kind of delivering a performance, but eventually a lot of the work is done at home to get ready to compete. It's not like we play 20 weeks a year and we're in the Bahamas the other 32 weeks of the year enjoying ourselves. There's certain times of year where I think it's important to blow off some steam, and certainly after Augusta is one, and I did a very similar thing. I had a group of friends come down and stay with me, and we had a very similar week where we just really relaxed and had a good time, and then last week got back to business a little bit, back to the gym, get back to all the good habits.

The last two weeks marked my only two-week break the whole season, so I really wanted to make the most of them from that point of view. Yeah, it's a busy summer, but my rhythm to the summer is going to be week on, week off, week on, week off, week on, week off. At the same time I feel like even though that seems like playing pretty frequently, you're also able to get some downtime and some recovery, but you're going to have to be very smart at how you recover versus how you practice to stay sharp. Everything is condensed, but it's doable.

Q. Do you feel like this year's game is better than when you got here last year? What are you doing well now?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think I'm doing everything pretty well to be honest with you. I think the one thing I feel like I want to work on, I want to sharpen up is my short game. That's ultimately what saves you some shots. If I look back at Augusta, there were some routine up-and-downs that weren't made and a few missed short putts that weren't made. Those are not just frustrating but they're kind of momentum stoppers in other ways, too. Just tidying up, doing the simple, the basics, and that's about it. But I think that beginning from Doral through those couple of weeks at Doral and just after, I wasn't able to put in enough reps, enough practice. I went down with the flu and then my back started hurting me for a couple weeks, and I wasn't able to practice as hard as I would like. I feel fully up to speed now and just able to put in the time.

Short game, the time you put in is in direct correlation to what you get out of it. It's all touch and feel, so the more time you spend doing it, the more feel you're going to generate.

Q. As you get ready to prepare for a major, do you prepare similarly getting ready for the Olympics, or have you even thought about that? Is there kind of a parallel for getting ready for a major?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I'm treating them exactly the same this year. I like to try and get to the venue ahead of time, try and get a couple of practice rounds in when the course is somewhat quiet and you're not having to push along the speed of play to try and keep up. I feel like if you want to take 25, 30 minutes on a particular green because there's something that you really want to figure out, then that's what I like to do at a major championship, and you can't do that on a Tuesday or a Wednesday because you have to keep up with speed of play.

Yeah, just getting there ahead of time, giving yourself an extra day or two, and that's what I'm going to do for the Olympics, too.

Q. Speaking of the majors, did the U.S. Open kind of springboard your career, and if not, why?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think that it's given me -- yes, it's given me the freedom to keep putting myself in contention and make it easy for me to win more major championships. I look at players who haven't had the opportunity to win one, and it's very difficult for them to sort of get in contention, face all the attention that comes with trying to win your first major. For me having that monkey off my back, I'm very grateful for it. I had a lot of tries at winning my first major. I feel like just because you win one doesn't mean you're going to win every single one you play. But I also knew before I won my first one I was going to put myself in contention a hell of a lot to win major championships. I'm going to be sniffing around the leaderboard many times in majors.

I had the belief before I won one that I was going to win one, and I also knew that I was probably going to lose one along the way, too. Just keep showing up, keep putting yourself in contention, but I feel like now that I've got one under my belt, when I'm in that position, you can swing a little bit freer and enjoy yourself a little bit more. Also carrying on from that, I feel like I've maintained my World Ranking position, I've continued to win -- there's never been like a downturn for me after winning a major. Sure, I haven't won another one since then, but I feel like my game is at that level since winning a major championship, so I'm perfectly comfortable with that as of now.

Q. Take us through when you left here with the trophy on Sunday night last year.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, you definitely spend a day or two enjoying it for sure. I can't exactly remember. I wouldn't say I did anything out of the realm of normal, other than enjoy it with family and friends for a day or two, and then -- oh, yeah, I think my wife and I, we had a day trip. She chartered a boat. We had some friends, and we went on a day trip to celebrate the win. That was cool.

But yeah, you also know it's back to business pretty soon, and you can't get too carried away or ahead of yourself. You've got to keep your eye on the game for the next week and the next week.

Q. A day trip where?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, to the Bahamas.

Q. Do you have a favorite restaurant in New Orleans?
JUSTIN ROSE: I'm going to go with Emeril's. The Zurich team have a great dinner there I think on the Tuesday night that a lot of the players attend and I really enjoy attending, and Emeril himself comes out, and he's such a great personality as well as a great chef that that makes it a fun evening. Then there's an Italian spot in the Roosevelt Hotel that I really like. I forget the name of it, but yeah, it just does really, really good Italian food, which is not necessarily New Orleans style, but it's one of my favorites.

Q. Is there anything special food-wise that gets you to play the Zurich Classic?
JUSTIN ROSE: You know, I don't think it's really the -- it doesn't swing the boat to come and play just because of the food. I think we all enjoy the city for what it offers and it's a very unique place to be, and I really enjoy staying downtown, and that obviously opens up a whole host of opportunities for having a fun dinner.

But to me the pro-am is probably the best restaurant in New Orleans because you get to sample some of the best dishes from many of the great restaurants. So the Wednesday pro-am is probably the highlight of my week dining-wise.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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