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September 15, 2004

Justin Rose


Q. Following your career over the last few weeks and doing a bunch of the Ryder Cup stuff in advance, you were right there, you know. How do you feel today? Is it kind of a bittersweet situation for you coming here after coming to close to being on that European team?

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah. I mean, the way I feel about the Ryder Cup is although I was within -- it was within grasp but I was never really in the side. Like Freddie obviously was very disappointed. He looked like he was going to be on the team the whole year and got unlucky towards the end there, but for me I was never really in the side. I always had to win once or win twice to get into the team.

Although it was very possible, I didn't have the disappointment of being right there and messing it up if you'd like.

Yeah, it was a goal at the start of the campaign was to get into the Ryder Cup team, and it didn't happen, but my season has taken a different course. I've played a lot more in the States this year than I have in Europe the way it's worked out, and that wasn't really the initial plan. This was my first year having my card over here, so I was going to play my 15 events and play more in Europe and get the Ryder Cup and all these sorts of things, but the way the season went, I seem to be playing better in America, and I've just played a bit more over here, which made it tougher to get into the team.

Q. Is it important to play over there more? Is it more visual over there as far as the selection of the team than to play here, or how does that work?

JUSTIN ROSE: I think if you play over in Europe, you've obviously got two ways of getting in, World Ranking points and Money List, whereas in the States you've just got the World Ranking into the side. To earn enough World Ranking points on this Tour means you've obviously got to be finishing in the Top 5 a lot of weeks, and that's not always easy to do.

It's easier to get in the team playing more in Europe for sure.

Q. How do you feel, like as you're playing here, do you pay attention to it? Is it kind of back there in your mind what's happening at Oakland Hills or are you kind of concentrating on what you've got going here?

JUSTIN ROSE: Obviously I've got some good friends playing on the team, and I'll definitely be checking their progress and seeing how they're doing. I spoke to Ian Poulter the day before he left on Sunday, and I'll be very interested in the Ryder Cup. It's the one tournament that I watch anyway. I can sit down for four or five hours and watch golf. Normally I can't do that. Yeah, I'll certainly be interested in what's going on.

Q. You have Justin Leonard out here and Jose Maria Olazabel and the history there, and I'm wondering if you guys are looking at the each other on the course, any jabs going on?

JUSTIN ROSE: Not really. Jerry Kelly and I saw each other on the driving range yesterday, and we were both in similar situations, just kind of on the edge of the team. We said, let's make a little deal that we'll both be there next year and play each other on Sunday. That was a nice little touch. I think there's a few guys here disappointed to be on the side, but for me I'm not overly disappointed because as I said, I was never really in the team. I always had some work to do to get into the side.

Q. How about last week, the final round 63? It sounded like you did some putting changes, some different things happening with your game. Talk about the momentum from a final round like that.

JUSTIN ROSE: Obviously that's huge going into a week like this, which I believe is a pretty low-scoring week. To come in on the back of a low round is going to be good for me, and I'm really excited about this week.

I'm excited about playing at the moment. I feel like I'm on the verge of some very good form, and I feel like I'm swinging the club well and hitting the ball pretty well, and I've just got to do my best to stay patient and get out of my own way and let myself play.

Q. I've heard you say that a few times. What does that mean, get out of your own way?

JUSTIN ROSE: Just basically trusting that you've done all the work and getting on the golf course and letting it happen, not trying to be too technical out there or try too hard or want it too much. It's just a fact of just trust that you've done the preparation and just let it happen. It sounds so easy. It's kind of the easy things are often the hardest to do.

Q. A lot of the things I've been reading the last couple weeks about your name comes up in articles, a lot about young guys who made impact early, and there's a lot of guys that kind of look at your situation and how you handled things. Do you sense that there are some young golfers out there who are thinking of Royal Birkdale and what you did and making decisions or watching how you handled success so early?

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think my situation was interesting really, the fact that I did so well in a major, and there was a lot of hype around that, but then I turned pro and obviously struggled with everything that comes with being a pro golfer for quite a while, and that happens to a lot of guys. Some guys take to it easily like Sergio. I think the key to the reason Sergio did it so easily is he played so many professional tournaments as an amateur, and I think that's really the ultimate -- it's all very well being a great amateur player or coming out of college, but it's so different out on Tour, the atmosphere, the vibe, all the hoo-ha that goes with playing on the Tour. That's really what you've got to learn to feel comfortable with, and that's the biggest change. Feeling comfortable with your peers and having some friends out here, that's -- once you get that side of things taken care of, it's amazing how much easier the golf becomes.

To answer your question, I think a lot of young guys could probably learn a lot from my situation. I think the advice I'd give them is don't expect too much too early. I'm 24 now and I still consider myself very young. That was six, seven years ago when I turned pro.

Q. That is young.

JUSTIN ROSE: At the time I think I am 17, 18, I'm ready, I want to get out there, but I think you may be good enough, but whether you're ready, it's kind of like a different question.

I also believe that there's no better place to learn to be a professional player than being a professional golfer. To just get in amongst it and to be thrown into the deep end if you'd like, you're going to have to learn to swim pretty quickly.

Q. How long ago does that seem now?

JUSTIN ROSE: In some ways it feels a lifetime ago. The memories are very vague now. I've got a lot of other good positive memories to draw from. Yeah, it seems like another lifetime in a lot of ways.

Q. If you think about it, it's 25 percent of your life ago when you think about your age.

JUSTIN ROSE: I suppose it is, yeah, that is a long time ago.

Q. And then you look at guy -- there's a lot of guys out here, Aaron Baddeley and Charles Howell and guys who are young who are trying to come up and make some kind of an impact, and for a while there, do you remember the discussion was you young guys were swarming the course, taking over, and then last year all the 40-and-overs took over again.

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think there's so many aspects to golf that make a player a good player. It's not all about athletic ability, it's not all about ball-striking, it's not all about how far you hit the driver. There's so many aspects to the game, chipping, putting, mental side, patience. That's what makes it great. A 45-year-old can whip a 25-year-old and vice versa. It's just who's sort of handles themselves the best that week.

I think the young guys to me, I don't think -- we're certainly not achieving as much as we probably want to achieve. I mean, we're all very ambitious. It's just the nature of this game, you've got to give it time and be patient out there.

Q. I was going to ask about the course, just kind of your thoughts on the course. How do you feel like it sets up?

JUSTIN ROSE: I played nine holes yesterday, so the front nine is all I've seen, but the greens, obviously it's very different conditions than where we're played the last few weeks. We're back to this Bermuda and the grainy, which is sort of like Florida Swing conditions. Yeah, that's a little change, and you've got to adjust to the Bermuda. I think chipping is the biggest change, biggest difference. The greens are rolling very well I feel. They're not overly grainy, which is nice.

I feel like probably there's quite a few what I would say straightish putts out there, left edge, right edge, just inside the hole, which could be the reason the scoring is so low, and I think the key to this week is definitely going to be the putter. The rough is not overly thick so you can kind of get away with a few -- there's obviously bush and some junk out there if you hit it way off-line, but you can get away with the odd little mis-hit off the tee for sure.

Q. I was going to ask about the rough, as well. People say the rough is not as thick. Do you feel like it's not going to be a big of a problem as it could be?

JUSTIN ROSE: It won't be a big of a problem, but I think there could be a lot more flyers this week, which is often the case with rough that's not overly long. It's still tough to control your ball. Obviously you're better off in the fairway, there's no doubt. I don't think it's necessarily a shot dropped if you'd like if you hit it in the rough. You still should be able to make a par.

Q. What kind of impact did Tommy Armour make last year, the low score that was shot here? We had rain, fairly similar conditions to last year?

JUSTIN ROSE: Is that right? I wasn't aware that Tommy shot 26 under until I arrived this week to be honest with you. It's kind of tough to have to get your head around the fact of shooting such low scores if you're thinking about winning the tournament. You're probably looking at 20. He obviously won by seven last year, so you're obviously looking at around the 20 mark to be the winning number.

Yeah, it just means you've got to go out there with maybe a slightly different attitude than maybe you would some other weeks. It doesn't make it an easier tournament because the scoring is lower. It doesn't mean, hey, this is an easy tournament to win. In a lot of ways, it makes it a totally different challenge and much harder for some guys possibly. It's a mindset thing to be able to -- last week I finished 6-under and finished 4th. This week I might make the cut if I shoot that score (laughter). It's a different mindset.

Q. With Armour shooting that kind of a round, have you taken a look at the course and does it seem sort of astounding for anyone to shoot that kind of a score?

JUSTIN ROSE: You know, it's tough to obviously -- any time you play a practice round -- a lot of ways when you play a practice round you're looking for trouble, where don't I hit it, what must I look out for, so you don't focus on the good stuff often enough. He obviously had an incredibly hot putter. He said every time he looked up it was going in the hole. He couldn't believe himself how many putts he was making.

Q. Par 70 golf course, too.

JUSTIN ROSE: For a par 70 golf course it's pretty amazing. It's going to come down to who putts well. The key is not to get ahead of yourself or get frustrated if you're only 2- or 3-under through nine or 1-under through nine. The key is just to stay patient and just trust that you're hopefully going to get on a little roll at some stage during the week.

Q. You kind of talked about picking the different tournaments and such. As far as the decision process, what goes into the process as far as what tournaments you pick, what tournaments you don't pick?

JUSTIN ROSE: At the moment I'm trying to force myself into the Tour Championship. That basically means right now playing as much as possible and playing well whenever I play. You know, I'm currently, what, 57th on the Money List and have got to break my way into the Top 30. I'm probably going to have to win probably one in the next five events that I'm playing, or four events, whatever I'm going to play. It's a tall order, but that's what I'm trying to achieve.

End of FastScripts.

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