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April 9, 2017

Justin Rose

Augusta, Georgia

MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen I'd like to welcome our 2017 Masters runner‑up, Justin Rose. Justin finished the tournament 9‑under par, following rounds of 71, 69, 70 and 69, to make it tonight's playoff.
Very well played, Justin. Great week. Before we take questions, can you talk about your round today.
JUSTIN ROSE: Masters Sunday, it's a special day. Being in the final group is an incredible experience. The crowd, there's a lot of energy out there.
I was really interested and surprised that nobody was able to make a run during the front nine. And it was‑‑ Sergio got off to a great start, and when I birdied 6, 7 and 8, it became pretty apparent that it was me and him down the stretch, really.
A couple guys had flashes of brilliance on the back nine. I think I saw Thomas Pieters creep up there and Matt Kuchar had a great finish, but for the most part it was all eyes on Sergio and he was looking at me, and it came down to the back nine on Sunday here, which is what this tournament is famous for.
It must have been fun to watch. I felt pretty much in control of my game and the tournament for the most part all day, and Sergio did what he had to do to make a run and I came back at him. And the last hole or two, it is what it is.

Q. Do you feel like you let one get away today at all?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I would say this one probably is one that slipped by, for sure. I mean, I can't pick holes in my performance. I felt fantastic out there. I felt cool, calm and collected.
Could I have made the putt on 17? Of course I could. But for the most part, I'm not going to sit here and second guess one or two shots. I really stepped up. I felt great. I felt in control. I felt positive. I felt confident.
And you know, barring a great comeback from Sergio, it was mine to cruise to the house. But it's not always that easy. At the end of the day, you're going to win‑‑ always said, before I won at Merion, you're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors but you've got to be willing to lose them. You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.

Q. Commiserations. It was brilliant to watch. It's a shame that either of you had to lose that today. How do you think history will remember that final round with the two of you going at it?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I think, you know, Sergio is obviously the best player not to have won a major, no longer. That's a great‑‑ any time one of those types of players, there's a handful of them, and any time one of those guys gets that huge monkey off their back, I think it makes it a poignant major championship.
The fact that we did separate from the field a little bit and then trading blows there, I guess around 15, 16, must have been very exciting for everyone watching. And then just getting into the clubhouse was the challenge, I suppose.
But you know, both of us having putts on 18 there, both slipping by, both just slightly mis‑read the putts. I think I certainly hit a good putt in regulation. I kind of felt that if I could make that one‑‑ certainly his putt got very difficult. And then when I missed my putt, I feared for the worst. And then, you know, got a second shot at it in the playoff. But unfortunately missed the fairway to the right, which was a no‑go.
Hopefully they remember it fondly. I mean, hopefully it is a Masters that goes down‑‑ it's always a nice to be a part of history. I would have liked to be the right part of it, but nevertheless I hope it's a good one.

Q. How much of an impact did the gallery have on you? Sounded like a pro‑Sergio contingent. Did that have an impact on your game?
JUSTIN ROSE: Not really. You know, it's good for Sergio. You know, often he feels like he's not supported the way he would like to be here in America, and it was encouraging to see the crowd get behind him. I think that they realized that he paid his dues, and they realize that he's been close so many times. And they probably were pulling for him to pull through on this occasion.
I get my fair share of love and support out there on the PGA TOUR in tournaments most of the time. Obviously people felt strongly that it was his time.

Q. The putt on 18 in regulation, did you think that was in? And then secondly, can you just maybe speak to the emotions afterward? It looked like you maybe wiped a tear or so away and some sweat, as well.
JUSTIN ROSE: Sweat, sweat, sweat. In regulation, though, there was certainly no tears at that point. It was a good putt. It's a putt I've practiced. When you come to Augusta National, that's the putt you practice.
It's a contrary little putt, I feel. It's a subtle break. It's very speed dependent. I picked my line‑‑ I trusted that it would break because in practice, that's what I've been seeing. I've been seeing it break, so I trusted the fact it was going to break and it just stayed high.
Then obviously in the playoff, I had virtually the same line and maybe the speed was slightly less but it broke across the hole. So it is a contrary putt. It's a cup out right maybe, but it's only a cup out right with the perfect speed. Too much speed and it's not breaking. It's a subtle putt.

Q. Can you talk about when you thought it was basically a match play between you and Sergio? And then secondly, can you also answer when, whatever shot or result on a hole, kind of got your attention, realizing that Sergio wasn't going to back down?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think 13, really. I thought when he was taking a drop on the left‑hand side, and then I actually thought I hit a really good iron shot into 13. I was playing for a little backstop behind the hole, hit a great shot and unfortunately it carried too far and set up a tough two‑putt.
Sergio holed from eight feet for par, and I had about five, six feet for birdie. That little two‑shot swing there was kind of when he was back in the tournament. I feel like if he misses at that point, I make‑‑ I'm four clear and I've got my eye on Thomas Pieters and Matt Kuchar instead.

Q. I'm sorry if you've been asked this already, but there was a suggestion on the commentary that you wenched after your drive. Towards the end, was there anything going on in your back?
JUSTIN ROSE: I find this a tough walking golf course, and it normally takes its toll on my body a little bit this week. Yeah, all week, really, there's just been the odd shot, the odd twinge.
It's very difficult, it's more of a facet joint. It's like right through at the end of my follow‑through when I'm into extension, I just feel like a little bit of a pinch and then I kind of have to come out of that position very, very quickly.

Q. You popularized the AimPoint on the greens. It seemed, and I may be mistaken, but it seemed that you got away from that for awhile, and saw you using it again today. Are you relying on that still?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, you know, this golf course I have good notes. I know which sections of the greens are three‑fingers putts or two‑finger putts. I kind of go on the straight side to most holes.
I know virtually within a ten or 20 degree angle where the straight putt is, and I kind of know where the maximum break is, and then I just work towards the straight, one finger, two finger, three finger, just to give myself a ballpark. I throw it up there‑‑ because these putts break so much; by throwing up a couple fingers, it gives you, okay, that's my ballpark how much it's going to break. And then I have to ask myself the question: Do I like that? And then I work off that.

Q. So that's kind of confirmation of what your mind is telling you?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, exactly. I have to confirm that. That's just my starting point. Yeah.

Q. Obviously in this game, there's a lot more defeats than there are victories, and as close as you came, I'm just wondering if you can put it in perspective, anything else that you've gone through. Obviously you've played so well. Will this be tough to handle or do you feel that because of how well you played, it will be easy to move on from?
JUSTIN ROSE: It's going to sting for sure. But you know, I really feel like this is a tournament that I can still go on to win. I'd like to win three or four green jackets, but one would be enough, you know. I just want to win here.
So I have plenty more looks, and I feel good about it happening. So I look forward‑‑ you know, for me, golf is about April to September. That's where the big tournaments are. That's where the tournaments that change your career are. So this was the first one of four.
I feel motivated for the summer, and I will be moving on and setting goals very quickly after this.

Q. On the playoff hole, the second shot that you pitched out, did you have any other options there?
JUSTIN ROSE: No, I didn't, unfortunately. I'd love to have‑‑ obviously I was aware that it was Seve's 60th birthday, and if I had any option to try and do something creative, I certainly would have done. But I had a little pine cone behind the ball which meant that I couldn't really spin the ball, but I would have had taken a 3‑wood and aimed it maybe 120 yards left of the green. So I really had nothing.
There was no way of flighting it and cutting it so low under that tree. I didn't hit a great shot, but it was all about just getting it back to the fairway. Because with the pin in that little bowl, whether you have a 9‑iron or sand wedge, it's pretty much the same shot. It was all about just trying to make 4.

Q. Congratulations on how well you've played over the last four days. You said immediately after coming off the 18th that if you had to lose to somebody, Sergio was a guy you would have chosen to lose to. If I could just add to that, I remember all those years ago when you played at Birkdale as an amateur, Sergio going to the scorer's hut to congratulate you. I don't know if you remember that.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, for sure. I mean, Sergio would have been the expected Silver Medal winner in the low amateur there at Birkdale. He might have been British Amateur champion or something.
We've played a lot of golf together since we were about 14 years old. We've always had a good friendship and a good camaraderie and good rivalry. You know, and he's always been happy for me, not just in '98 at Birkdale but after the U.S. Open win. It must be hard, as well, for guys when they are striving to win majors and they are seeing their peers pick them off and they are kind of being left behind.
It's nice for him now to have that monkey off his back and I was very pleased for him.

Q. Would you like to team up with Sergio at Versailles in a year and a half at The Ryder Cup?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, of course. Yeah. I think we both are kind of getting towards the older statesmen of the team now, but you know, he's passionate about that tournament.
It's too early to talk about Ryder Cup, to be honest with you. I'll be getting enough of that in a year's time (laughing).

Q. What does Sergio in your mind have to look forward to now that he won a major? What's it like going forward the next six months or so?
JUSTIN ROSE: Sorry, I didn't see who asked that.
Getting married?

Q. No, not married. Winning a major. What's it like going forward?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think he's going to have a happy summer. I think we've always known that Sergio is kind of an emotional on and off the golf course kind of guy and when it's all clicking, he's one of the best in the world. I think that it is going to set up just a really, really happy and wonderful year for him.
And golf‑wise that could be anything. He could go on and win a couple more times this year for sure.

Q. When you won at Merion, is that how you felt?
JUSTIN ROSE: You know, I looked at it as, I've got 40 majors at that time, a few years ago about 40 majors in my prime and how many can I pick off. So, yeah, I still have 20 or so left that I feel really primed and ready for.
He probably has the same. Once you have one out of the way, the questions become easier. For him, he has to face that every single time he got in contention. Now he doesn't have to. So it does begin to get easier. As for me, as well. Hopefully he can start to kick up the success rate a little bit more.
MODERATOR: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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