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August 15, 2002

Justin Rose


JULIUS MASON: Justin Rose, ladies and gentlemen, 3-under par after the first round of the 84th PGA Championship, playing in his first PGA Championship. Justin, if you would not mind giving us some thoughts on your round and we'll go through your card.

JUSTIN ROSE: Obviously, delighted. As you say, my first professional round in America, to start it on such a good note is very pleasing. The other thing that pleased me most about my round is my putting. I worked hard the last couple evenings on my putting, just working on pace and speed of the greens and it paid off today.

JULIUS MASON: Just talk about your birdies and bogey.

JUSTIN ROSE: I hit 6-iron to 15 feet and made the putt on 4. The ninth hole, I hit a good drive, missed the green left with a 7-iron, hit in the rough and chipped out to 20 feet and two putts -- 30 feet, two putts. Then I bounced back with a birdie at 10. Hit 2-iron, wedge to 20 feet. 12th hole, I hit driver, 7-iron to about five feet. 14, missed the fairway left with a 2-iron, hit wedge into the bunker, splashed out to 3 1/2 feet and missed. 15, hit driver, 3-iron about 50 yards short of the green -- 30 yards short of the green, probably, pitched to four feet and holed the putt. 17, hit 6-iron to 15 feet and holed the putt.

JULIUS MASON: Questions, folks.

Q. You've gone through every emotion, you've gone from Brookdale, you've gone to missing 21 cuts, and then also winning recently; how much experience have you gained from all that?

JUSTIN ROSE: I think, yeah, it has been a windy sort of roller coaster for me. I don't really regret the way it's turned out, to be honest, because I think all of the bad experiences I went through really toughened me up. Made me learn a lot about myself. Made me realize I've got to practice hard and give the game a lot of respect. But also, you know, each time I had a chance to make the cut, I did feel a real sense of, basically, pressure upon myself to make my first cut. Beginning to learn to deal with that, I think began to help me, or did help me, when I had a chance to win my first tournament. So, although they were bad times, I think they did stand me in good stead for playing better golf in the future.

Q. You said the other day, Top-20 would be a goal this week. Still behind that?

JUSTIN ROSE: I said that because I didn't really know what to expect, to be honest, being my first tournament and you don't want to make rash statements when you don't really know what you're getting yourself into. But I still, obviously, am very happy with my start and my name is on the leaderboard. But, obviously, a long way to go. It's just a matter of the first couple of days, playing shot for shot, not really worried about getting the position you're in, and then the weekend, you start to think about possibly a little bit more. But I've always played my golf, Thursday, Friday, you just go out and play, you just do your best and then assess the situation.

Q. Did you take a look at the leaderboard at any stage and what was your reaction when you saw your name up there?

JUSTIN ROSE: I looked at the leaderboard after I birdied -- I knew Stuart Appleby was on the leaderboard at one stage and so I knew that basically I was close to being on the board. Then I made a birdie on 12 and was on the board. Yeah, it was nice. It was nice to see -- I always like to see the names going up slowly as the guys put it on the board. Yeah, it's a nice feeling.

Q. Did you feel more nervous waking up, and unusual this morning, because it is your first major in America, and also, how did you handle the delay before you teed off?

JUSTIN ROSE: I think I've been sort of unbelievably relaxed, really, this week. I didn't have any nerves on the first tee whatsoever. I didn't have any nerves this morning. I think I've been suffering from a bit of a cold the last couple of days, which may have helped in terms of lower expectations and just going out there and playing. Yeah, I felt very comfortable in the situation of competing in a major in America.

Q. You mentioned earlier that you were very pleased with your putting. Can you give me your impressions of the golf course and how it played with the wind today?

JUSTIN ROSE: Yes, it's a very, very testing golf course. A lot of the wind directions seem to be left-to-right from the tee, which is often the hardest wind direction to hit a shot in for a right-hander, so that always tests you. To hit the fairways is obviously, incredibly important, just to give yourself a shot into the greens. Although, I would say also very fair. There's plenty of room for you to hit your driver and be aggressive as well, so I think it is a course that can reward you if you want to take it on, but it can also punish you if you get it wrong, so I think it's a very good test of golf.

Q. How much does the wind help, the fact that you grew up in a place where it blows a lot, help you here, and also, if you can talk how tough it was to go through that stretch where you missed all of those cuts, can you explain to people what it was like?

JUSTIN ROSE: I think it's a little different playing in the winds in America, to playing on links, especially because you can knock it on and chase it up to greens, where, in America, the greens are still pretty well guarded. And even though it's windy, you still want to hit the ball low, but you need to come in reasonably high to hold the greens. So it is a different sort of technique involved. I think the shot is to hold it up into the wind, if the wind is off to the right, the good shot is to hit the fade into the wind, so the ball is flying straighter, but landing softer. I think that's the golf to play -- where links, you can just bump it in low and run it in. The missed cuts, I don't really remember much of it now, other than it did seem to take a very, very long time. But obviously, I learned a lot from that, as I say. I learned a lot about myself. I realized I had to work harder. I was putting in a lot of hard work during those 21 missed cuts and seeing no results, which was frustrating, but I kept putting in the hours. I think, deep down, I believed that I would get there, eventually.

Q. British golf has enjoyed a mixed relationship with American galleries. It's your first time here. How did things go? How did they treat you? Did you feel like they knew who you were? Could you feel support growing?

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, very much so. From the outset, to be honest, people were chanting, "Go on, J.R.," "Go Rosie," which is sort of affectionate names, really, like "Rosie," things my mates would call me. So that was kind of nice. There were a bunch of guys who followed me all the way around and they were on the walkway between every green and tee and always had a funny little comment to make. I think I had a good time out there today. I enjoyed it.

Q. Did you get any advice from the other players at the start of the week?

JUSTIN ROSE: Not really, to be honest. Nope.

Q. Was being paired with Tiger at Muirfield the best thing that could have happened for your career at that time because you were playing so well, the experience of that?

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think the earlier you play with him -- you know, if you want to be competing in these sort of tournaments, you're going to face him more often than not. So for me to be paired with him at the age of 21 -- I was pretty happy with the way I coped with it and dealt with it and I learned a lot about myself. I think the first time you play with him, is obviously the hardest because you don't really know what to expect. After you play with him, you think, well, actually, he's a really nice guy, fine to play with. He doesn't try and intimidate you. It's just dealing with everything else that goes on around him. I don't get that distracted by movement and noise out on the golf course, so, luckily, I could stand in good stead.

Q. What was your strategy on hole 16, and how was the conditions you played in?

JUSTIN ROSE: Close your eyes and hit it and hope -- no. It's a really daunting tee shot because the reads on the edge of the lake obscure your view of the fairway and make it seem smaller than it actually is. I got a little bit lucky today and tweaked my driver left and got caught up in the rough and stopped it from going in the water and then you are faced with a tricky shot, because if you are left facing the green with the pin on left, you have no up-and-down, and if you miss it just right of the green, it falls off into the water again. So you have to aim it at the middle of the fairway and hit it, aim it at the middle of the green and hit it. There's no real bail-out.

Q. Can you give us your yardages on the 12th, and also, could you -- was that shot that you played today, was it especially memorable?

JUSTIN ROSE: My yardage on the 12th was, I hit a driver and I had 176 yards to the pin. Hit 7-iron which -- yeah, basically, I think it ran past the edge of the hole, on it's way past to about five feet, so that was one of my best shots today. That pin was tucked a little bit to the corner of the green, too, on the right. A couple of shots today, that I was really happy with, a lot of them were around the greens, made two good up-and-downs on 1 and 6. Made a lovely little up-and-down from the back of the 13th green with a 3-wood. And holed a couple of 25, 30-footer which just died in the middle of the hole. So, to choose between them, it's kind of difficult. But that 7-iron I hit into 1 was one of the best shots I hit today and also the 7-iron at the third hole, which wasn't close, but I hit it exactly how I wanted it, but just flew it five yards too far.

Q. As a young player, what is the difference, do you think, between trying to win an ordinary Tour event and a major championship?

JUSTIN ROSE: I think as a young player, you grow up watching these tournaments more than any other tournament. You know, you grow up and you watch the Masters on TV, you watch the Open Championship on TV, at an early age, that possibly has something to do with it. And I think they are harder to win because they are set up to test your game, and the fields are the strongest in the world. So they are hard to win all around, really. But at the end of the day, also, you have to remember it still is just a golf tournament or four rounds of golf and the best man will win, so there's no real mystery to it, either.

Q. What does it mean for you to be England's top-ranked player?

JUSTIN ROSE: It means a lot. I think the thought of playing the World Cup, should I manage to hang on and play November -- December, I should say, I think that will be very special, that's when I will realize it most, when you compete for your country. Golf is individual and you play under the England flag and you are proud to do that but it's more special when you can play for a team. December, to get in the World Cup, that's one of my goals at the beginning of the year, or certainly when I started to play well and could see that it was a possibility, I'm really looking forward to that, should it happen.

Q. Did Brad Faxon say anything to you at the end?

JUSTIN ROSE: Brad was very nice. I actually played a practice round with Brad yesterday. Yeah, he's very complimentary; he said "Fantastic round." Every time I hit a good shot , he would always without fail say "what a good shot." Something a little bit extra than what you would normally get from a playing partner. He was good to play with, yeah.

Q. Do you actually work at the mental side of the game? You talk about being relaxed, does that just happen or were you taught it?

JUSTIN ROSE: It's kind of just happened, I think. I'm conscious of the mental side and I do -- I've got my own little tools that I do use, but it's not something really anybody has taught me, to be honest. My dad, he thinks about it probably more than I do and passes it on to me. But I also think it's got to come from within. It's all very well somebody telling you what to think, what to visualize what to say, but it has to come from the heart for it to be really effective, I think.

Q. You mentioned your father. Was he able to follow you today? What does it mean to have him out here this week?

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, very good. He's sort of still struggling along and trying to get better and this and that. But it's nice to see him out there, definitely. My mom and sister are out here, too. It's not very often that the whole family, the four of us are together. I always tend to play with my family around me so, it has been nice.

JULIUS MASON: Questions? Justin Rose, folks. Thank you.

End of FastScripts...

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