July 16, 2002
STEWART McDOUGAL: Ladies and gentlemen, Justin Rose. Justin, the question we want to ask you first of all what was your reaction when you heard that you were paired with Maruyama and Tiger Woods tomorrow.
JUSTIN ROSE: Not that surprised, to be honest. It was funny because I got asked the question last week, which sort of prepared me for it. And I just got a sense from other people they thought it was a very strong possibility that it might happen. I thought it was interesting, I don't know, people almost wanted it to happen last week. My immediate view is, okay, it's going to make it a very exciting week, and I laughed, it's going to be busy. That was my initial reaction.
Q. Justin, this is -- obviously when you started out actually to be playing against the world No. 1 (inaudible) --
JUSTIN ROSE: I suppose it hasn't sunk in like that, it's the world No. 1, and I'm on the world stage with him. That probably hasn't sunk in yet but it's kind of -- it is at the top of the game you can get really playing in a major championship alongside Tiger Woods. It proves again to me how far I've come in a short period of time.
Q. Do you relish the prospect rather than worry about it, do you feel great or are you a little bit concerned and nervous?
JUSTIN ROSE: I'm sure I will be nervous on Thursday, it's a major championship, first round. There's going to be a lot of attention. There's going to be a huge atmosphere, but hopefully the atmosphere can spur you on to play great golf. I think it is important to have a little bit of nerves. It just gets the adrenaline flowing and it makes you want it that little bit more. I've always found that I play my best golf when I'm a little bit nervous on the first tee.
But you have to relish it, I think. It's something I want to do. I want to compete against Tiger, you know, sooner rather than later, and I've got to play with him for the first time at some stage, so to do it in the Open Championship in front of British fans would be no better place.
Q. (Inaudible) It's a bit of a circus when he's out there....
JUSTIN ROSE: So I've heard. Obviously I haven't experienced it firsthand. I think Scottish crowds are very respectful, very knowledgeable, and hopefully that will help me out tomorrow. There won't be too much rushing off after he's hit a shot. If it happens, it happens, you have to focus on your own game, your own ball, and that's all you can do out there.
Q. (Inaudible) Tiger said he played with you once before in a charity thing, do you remember that?
JUSTIN ROSE: I haven't teed it up with him.
Q. He said at a shoot-out.
JUSTIN ROSE: In the same group? I'm sure I would remember. (Laughter)
STEWART McDOUGAL: He did say that.
Q. Well he remembers you, anyway.
JUSTIN ROSE: (Laughs) That's good. I mean, obviously I saw Tiger at the Deutsche Bank. He was very complimentary about playing well there and gave him and Monte a run for their money, and finished a shot behind them, and it was nice to be on the 8th green and involved in the prize ceremony there with Tiger and Monte, which is a sense of feeling like you belong up there, definitely. But I'm sure I haven't played in the same group with him. I know I haven't.
Q. It's not something you'd forget.
JUSTIN ROSE: No, I don't think it is.
Q. You said last week it would be harder to play with Tiger. Do you still believe that (inaudible) --
JUSTIN ROSE: It is harder just in terms of everything else going on around the golf, you know, the bigger crowds, more noise, whatever it may be, but it also makes it more fun. I've had numerous text messages who have seen the draw, and they're coming up Friday and they can't wait and I think it's fun and exciting, it will be good. It will make it even more of a special week.
Q. When did you hear that you were playing?
JUSTIN ROSE: After nine holes somebody passed on the message.
Q. Padraig played with Tiger today and certainly wilted away. Did he give you any advice at all --
JUSTIN ROSE: He kind of said it would make my week harder. He said, enjoy the week but ---
Q. Thomas Bjorn was with him four days in Dubai and didn't back off...
JUSTIN ROSE: I might not go and ask him personally how he handled it, but I'll take strength. I'll look at that and say, look, it can be done; you can stand up on the tee and look him square in the eye and Thomas proved he can be beat, and so that's encouraging to know.
As I said before, it's important for me not to get sucked into the "Playing with Tiger --"
Q. The circus?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yes, as hard as it's going to be, I really have to focus on my game plan and not worry about what he's hitting off the tee, focus on the right shot and just stick with my game plan.
Q. What did the text messages say; anything fun? Any --
JUSTIN ROSE: No, just great draw, really forward to coming up and watching on Friday, that sort of thing.
Q. The other thing, you go back to Germany where you finish one shot behind him, are you going to draw strength from that?
JUSTIN ROSE: Exactly. Over the course of four days, I proved that my game can hold up and is not a million miles off. Yeah, that was a nice confidence boost. As I said, just being involved in that private ceremony gave me a sense that you belong.
Q. At Loch Lomond you said you haven't thought about it, but you have thought what it would be like (inaudible) --
JUSTIN ROSE: I thought because it did make me think it was a possibility, and it hasn't surprised me. I think it would have been a big surprise it would have been harder to cope with, but I wasn't that surprised when I heard, and it didn't affect me too much or make me hollar or whatever, it was oh, well, I just had a little laugh that it did happen after people were speculating after last week.
Q. Justin, the journalists from America like myself that have been over here during your resurgence, what turned you around? I know there was a tough stretch there and I'm sure you've explained it a million times but what turned it around?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think just hard work eventually paying off, really. There was no defining moment where suddenly everything clicked. It was sort of a gradual process, a long process of just working hard, gradually improving, working on my technique with Ledbetter and my dad, and just a gaining of confidence really over time.
Q. A couple of weeks ago you suddenly realized you were England's No. 1 golfer in the rankings. You've been that for five weeks. Do you now believe it? Do you see what I mean? Do you feel you're there totally and established now?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yes, I feel probably I do. I do feel that. I don't think the World Rankings lie really. I think it's tough to break into the top 50 in the world and you can only do that by playing really good golf. I've taken a lot of encouragement from there. I've stayed there for four, five, six weeks now, I feel comfortable in that situation, in that position, and not to say I'm content with that, I realize I have to keep practicing hard working hard to maintain that and carry on and going forward.
Q. How's your father?
JUSTIN ROSE: He's doing good. He was nice, he was with me all last week in Loch Lomond. I felt that really helped me. I wasn't playing particularly well at the beginning of the week and we just worked on simple stuff that got me playing well, so he still has a big impact on my golf.
Q. You proved in the last round at Loch Lomond that you can go out and have fun and score well. Is that the way you like to play? You seemed to enjoy that round so much?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I mean, a couple of my biggest achievements - obviously winning the British Masters, looking back at the Open Championship when I was young, I was just having a good time laughing my way around, and really enjoying myself. I do tend to enjoy my golf all the time , but I tend to enjoy that situation of being right at the top of the leader board, although it's pressurized and you know, it's very important, I do enjoy and I thrive on the situation much more than obviously being in the middle of the road in a golf tournament. I find it much easier to enjoy it when I'm right up there, and hopefully that will help me with what I deal with in the next few days.
Q. A lot of people were surprised that you were able to joke on the tee --(inaudible)--
JUSTIN ROSE: Ian is a rally good friend of mine, and at the end of the day, golf is not the be all and end all in life. We're good friends generally on and off the golf course, so although it was a prestigious golf tournament, there was a bit more to it than that, we are good friends and genuinely wanted each other to do well.
Q. When you went through your tough patch were you always able to say: I'm young, I know I'll work my way through this or did you have days when you wondered if you could turn it around?
JUSTIN ROSE: Deep down I had the belief I was eventually going to get there. On the surface I didn't know how long it was going to take me. When you're putting a lot of hard work and not seeing the results it gets very frustrating. I think deep down I never doubted the fact that I was going to eventually get where I wanted to be.
Q. Can you explain what you mean by hard work? Was it hours on the range or working on that aspect of the game?
JUSTIN ROSE: Mainly my driver. That was causing most of the problems. I spent basically a lot of hours on the driving range trying hundreds and hundreds of drivers and this and that. But it all came down to technique, getting the club more in line on the hitting area, relying less on my hands, and that basically only comes from hard work making a little bit of a swing change.
Q. Do you suffer from nerves, --(inaudible) --
JUSTIN ROSE: I think I deal with nerves pretty well, and hopefully I've proven that this year with my performances and managed to win. This year I haven't fallen back when I've been in contention. I felt comfortable on the leader boards this year, so I would say -- I sense the nerves but I feel like I cope with them quite well.
Q. Do you think it will work in your favor, that the cheers for Tiger will be for you?
JUSTIN ROSE: That's nice to think. Hopefully the crowd can get behind me too, if I start to play some nice golf. I can swing a lot of those supporters my way. That would be really nice. Really I'm trying not to get too involved in everything that's going off the golf course. I just really need to focus on what's happening inside the ropes; me and my golf ball, that's really what I'm trying to see this week.
Q. Is there a sense that you've arrived with this grouping?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yes, it's a huge compliment, just what I was saying earlier, it proves to me I have come along way in a couple of years, playing with Tiger Woods basically on merit really. I've had a good year and I think basically it is a reward for that.
JUSTIN ROSE: I've been hitting -- to be honest I've just changed to the new 500 series, Taylor Made. Basically, it's a similar driver to what I've been using, yes, it's good, I've been with Taylor Made now for three years.
STEWART McDOUGAL: Thank you, Justin.
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