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July 4, 2017

Justin Rose

Portstewart, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland

NEIL AHERN: Justin, first time in seven years at The Irish Open. Good to have you back. Can you tell us the thought process of why you came to Portstewart and you came back to The Irish Open?

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, obviously great tournament in its own right. Part of the Rolex Series now, so holds extra prestige in the schedule and obviously with the great date running into The Open Championship. I like to prepare for majors with a week off before and knew that I wanted to play some golf, and to have the opportunity to play some links golf running into The Open is fantastic. So everything just worked out really well for me.

NEIL AHERN: I hear you played ten holes out there.


NEIL AHERN: How is the course looking?

JUSTIN ROSE: It looks really, really good. I played the front nine and No. 18. Really, really impressed with the golf course. It's a beautiful piece of land. True links, huge sand dunes, and yeah, it's a really, really good design I think. Looking forward to it.

Game is unknown. I haven't played a lot of golf unfortunately. Missed the cut at the U.S. Open and had a couple weeks off since then, so really looking forward to getting back into a run of golf now. Obviously I've been practising and hitting balls and things are feeling good. Yeah, just looking forward to taking that now on to the course.

Q. You spoke about being refreshed and ready. How important is it that you have that ahead of a busy schedule and having time off?
JUSTIN ROSE: Obviously it may not pay off in the immediate short term but it's something that's going to be important for the whole summer ahead. There's a lot of golf to be played before now and the end of the year, and it would be a great time to start really getting on a good run and a sustainable run and really sort of looking between now, really, and October and November and keeping the foot down and playing hard to the end of season.

Q. These two big events that come before The Open, how do you approach it? Can you even have one eye on The Open at this stage?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think obviously these events deserve their full attention in their own right. So I think I'm trying to put together a body of work and from Thursday onwards, trying to play great golf and not look at Sunday as a finish line or not look at Birkdale in three weeks' time as the finish line.

Just really commit to my process over the next three or four weeks or even longer than that, because you think, you have The Open Championship, a week off and then Akron and the PGA. It really is what I call a body of work so that's what I'm focussing on, sustaining some good golf throughout.

Q. How are you feeling in the buildup to Birkdale? Do you go back with memories?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, obviously I think 2008 was my walk down memory lane, and I think that 2017 is let's just play golf. I think that for me, I'm really looking forward to going to Birkdale.

Obviously there's some good memories there but I feel like I've done the return-to-Birkdale thing in 2008. So I'm excited about going to Birkdale with a fresh mind and focussing on the championship at hand.

Q. You've been Tweeting a lot about the rugby, the Lions. How impressed were you with the win, and do you think they can compete it this weekend?
JUSTIN ROSE: Obviously I think a few things went in their favour. Obviously they battled hard and they were behind it, the whole game, and to come through at the end showed a lot of character and spirit.

Obviously that's what the British and Irish Lions are all about, and obviously it sets up a really exciting finish. So absolutely, I hope they can do it.

Q. When it comes to setting your schedule, how much does Rory have to twist your arm or does it depend more on what you want to do, rather than him persuading you?
JUSTIN ROSE: Obviously it's nice to support a friend. Obviously with his foundation benefitting, it's an extra good reason to come and play. That was definitely part of the decision-making process. But it also has to suit what my bigger objectives are. But it's really nice to support a friend and it was definitely a factor in my decision.

Q. Am I right in thinking you're hosting the British Masters next year?

Q. Will you be returning the favour?
JUSTIN ROSE: Unknown at this present time. A huge reason I'm here, I'm only here for Rory -- no, I respect everybody's schedule and busy lives and a lot of things to take into account. I'll be asking the question but we'll see, no pressure.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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