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January 13, 2017

Justin Rose

Honolulu, Hawaii

Q. You mentioned you got the MoJo going on the back side yesterday and seemed to continue this morning?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, absolutely. It was a beautiful morning to play golf. You felt like today's the day to shoot a good score. I felt that driving the ball well enough where I have a lot of opportunities it feels like. And it's just a matter of standing up there, dialing in your iron play and pretty much going straight at every single flagstick, because that's kind of the way the golf course feels at the minute.

Q. And the irons, you put a new set of irons in the bag.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, really enjoying the new set of irons I got from TaylorMade. They are very forgiving. My numbers are more consistent. I feel like the spin rate is super consistent on them, so I have a lot of confidence coming into the greens. More so, I don't seem to be getting the one that comes out quick. So I can be a bit more aggressive with my clubbing as I did at the last there. Only had 182 to the hole, but just a tiny bit of breeze. Felt it was playing upper 80s and I hit 6-iron in there. Whereas before I'm pretty sure I would have hit a hard 7 hit the hard seven and coming up 30 feet short. Didn't convert the birdie putt, but those sorts of decisions I've been making make with the new irons.

Q. Appears more of a birdie-fest out here.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, absolutely. I'm doing well right now, tied second. But I fully anticipate some of the afternoon guys to go out and continue going low. Today was an important round to keep pace with them and obviously Justin Thomas, I also anticipate him playing well.

But like I said yesterday, it's about consistently playing well the whole week and waiting for your hot round. 64 is good but I feel like the way I'm playing, hopefully there's a round -- if you're going to win a golf tournament, you're going to have that round where everything goes your way.

Q. Calm conditions, not much breeze and you were able to take advantage of the conditions. What were you doing so well?
JUSTIN ROSE: Hitting it good enough off the tee where I was in the fairway for the most part. And once you're in the fairway around here right now, the greens are soft and there's not much wind so to be honest you're going a lot of short irons and trying to go at the flagstick as much as you can out there. Probably only two- or three-mile-an-hour wind but that's enough to make it five yards sometimes. You're just trying to judge that zero- to 15-foot gap from the hole.

The greens are rolling well. They are rolling a little bit better in the morning and they are a little less grainy in the mornings than they are in the afternoon. I felt like I putted a bit better than yesterday.

Q. You worked on your putting during the short off-season and you have a new grip on your putter and you improved by two strokes compared to yesterday. How comfortable do you feel with this kind of old/new format of putting that you have?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I'm feeling really good from the mid-range. I feel that I'm running the ball at the hole much better from 15 feet, so I feel like I'm making more birdies. I still want to get a little more comfortable around the cup because it more just settling into the putt the way my hands are on the putter and really getting my aim down and feel comfortable where I'm aiming the putter. I'm feeling very solid with the strike. I feel like I'm starting the ball where I'm aiming for the most part.

Q. Can you talk a little bit more, yesterday you finished strong, and the momentum you carried into this round.
JUSTIN ROSE: It was a nice, fresh morning. I felt that waking up early, felt good about the day, really. I felt sort of like there was a score out there to be had. It was quite interesting. Even though I was thinking it was going to be perfect greens and get going, the greens were incredibly dewy this morning.

I don't know if after they cut the greens, the dew fell. I don't know if they cut them really, really early this morning and then the dew settled but you could see the tracks of everybody's putts previously for the first three or four holes.

The golf course is incredibly wet the first few holes, which doesn't necessarily make it easier. Once the sun got up and there was no wind, it was there for the taking.

Q. How much does the task this week depend on this afternoon?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, if he goes 59 again, we're in trouble. I expect him to be in the mid 60s. If he goes out and shoots 66, that's probably a fairly average round the way he's playing right now. I pull within five, that's within touch and tomorrow becomes somewhat important.

I think it's going to blow a little bit more on Sunday. In the back of my mind, it offers me an opportunity to play catch up still, so it's just trying to be within such going into Sunday.

Q. You shot Sunday at the palm course at Disney a lifetime ago. How did that go the rest of the week, and do you remember what your lead was?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think I started strong the second day. I think I was up to like 17-under through, I don't know -- I went out like 4- or 5-under the next day, as well. And then yeah, it was kind of -- stalled a little bit, and it's like anything. The rest of the field are going to keep making birdies, especially when they are playing free with nothing to lose when you are up ahead of them. You definitely need the mind-set when you're that far ahead. You've got to keep the accelerator down.

But you know, it's hard to keep that sort of momentum going for sure.

Q. Feeling worse than it is?
JUSTIN ROSE: Especially off the back of last week. There's always that, I don't know, that sort of adrenaline and then the aftermath of whatever that might be. It's tough to keep it going for eight straight rounds. He's doing an awesome job and he probably will. But I think whenever you win a tournament, it doesn't go smoothly for 72, and I think he's kind of built that little bit of a comfort zone by starting so strong.

Q. What is your excitement level this year?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I'm excited.

Q. Pretty high. Fooch won't stop talking about it. Really, really excited.
JUSTIN ROSE: If the old cynic can be excited, then we're in good shape.

Q. Just the time off, do you think? Anything else spark the year?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think the time off for the most part. I feel like the whole year last year, I was not firing. I was sort of just patching stuff up, really, and getting through the season, and that's no fun.

But obviously to still have a big win at the Olympics and stuff kind of made me at least be able to chalk up '16 as not a tough year, but it was sort of a tough year in a lot of ways. I think when you do come off a year like that, you do motivate you work harder. It makes you way more hungry. I had an incredibly smooth six or seven years prior to that, so I think it might have been just what I needed to re-energize and refocus.

Q. Was there anyone around you, ever inquire about the TOUR, if the Olympic medal was good enough to get in the majors, why wasn't it good enough for Kapalua?
JUSTIN ROSE: I didn't inquire. But I was actually, in my mind, I was surprised that it didn't count, in a way, just because, why wouldn't it; it's a one-off thing. Or if at least --

Q. Maybe the field is too big.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, exactly. I think if a PGA TOUR member won the Olympics, that would have been a good rule. But hey, it's funny enough, I don't have the right to say I should have been at Kapalua because I've won six years in a row and I've only been once, so it's probably payback.

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