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August 31, 2018

Justin Rose

Boston, Massachusetts

MARK WILLIAMS: We'd like to welcome Justin Rose in the interview room after 6-under 65 at the opening round of Dell Technologies Championship.

That's a score no one else touched today. What was different for you from the rest of the field?

JUSTIN ROSE: I don't know. Obviously I was very aware that the course was playing trickier than usual. I arrived at the course a couple of times before my tee time. Went to hit some chips and putts, trying to get a feel for the golf course, feel for the greens. I noticed that it was playing tricky out there, for sure. I looked at the pins last night, and I thought there was an opportunity to make some birdies. Holes of No. 7, No. 4, the short holes that you can get up and under in regulation. The pins were in accessible places. I felt clearly it was trickier than I thought last night. It was windier today, a cool breeze, just enough to swirl around and make it tricky. I think that's what the guys were having a tough time with. And I was able to go bogey-free today, which I think no one else managed to do. I guess just keeping the card clean made the birdies really count for something.

MARK WILLIAMS: Was there a moment that was anything that turned the round around?

JUSTIN ROSE: Not turned around the round, but kept the round going. I was 3-under playing 14, and missed left, which you can't really do -- I'm sorry, 13.

Obviously I know 14 is a tough hole, as well. I feel the front nine is easier than the back nine. You have 11, 12, 13, 14, which is a pretty stout run. I was very aware that I had to get will you that unscathed. And obviously knew there were some chances coming in, 15 onwards, to birdie three of the last four made a good day a very good day.

Q. Do you feel this is a course where you should play well, as far as ball-striking goes, or was today more what you're comfortable with, having to control your ball and the way the wind was, you were saying how tricky it is?
JUSTIN ROSE: It's a course I've enjoyed playing. I've had some mixed results here. I've had some great weeks, and I've had some poor weeks here. It's a course I never really know exactly what to expect. But it's a fun golf course. I think it's a golf course that if you are on your game certainly you feel like you can play well and score well here. The greens typically roll really well. I imagine statistically it's a course guys tend to make a lot of putts. Bentgrass is probably one of our favorites on Tour that we are going to play.

But, yeah, today was the kind of day, I hit 15 greens, apparently, someone told me. Just kept it really, really solid, and that should suit me -- those stats obviously kind of add up to how I like to play.

Q. Did you miss the cut last week?

Q. I'm sorry to bring up the negative, but I was curious, this time of the year when you miss a cut, is there any part of you that doesn't mind it because you've had such a good year to be in that position, a couple of days off or do you get irritated?
JUSTIN ROSE: I felt since the Northern Trust last year, I had 11 top-10's starting at the Northern Trust in a row. And 17 of 23 from Northern Trust to Northern Trust. In the back of my mind every week when I didn't have a chance to win, I still fought hard to have top-10's. You don't want to play golf with top-10's. They're great, they keep everything ticking along. But I felt like last week kind of snapped the streak in a way, and kind of enabled me to let that go. It's been a great run. I'm proud of that consistency. But I now feel I'm on to coming new, can rebuild a bit, refocus and put that nice run behind me and just start fresh now with fresh goals for the rest of the season.

In some ways that missed cut helped me from that point of view, changed the mindset a little bit and obviously offered me a chance to go home for six days. I only arrived here back in Boston last night. I managed to pretty much have a full week off, which hopefully will pay off, if it's not this week, next week or the week after.

Q. You haven't seen the course since last year?
JUSTIN ROSE: Correct. But I've seen it about 14 times. I figured with the Friday start and with the intense run right now it was a good week to opt out of the Pro Am. We get the opportunity to do that a couple of times. Obviously I came here last night and did something for the sponsors, did the Pro Am prize giving, and spent some time with everybody there, so I contributed in that way.

Q. Curious how much you remember of your first round here 15 years ago?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I shot 63. I remember that. That was a big week for me, obviously Deutsche Bank and Jay Monahan was tournament director I think at the time. They extended an invite to me. I finished third and got my U.S. Tour card without having to go to Q-School. This venue, I've always been very thankful and grateful to it. Everyone here in Boston for extending that opportunity. So sad to have this be the last year of it, but obviously hopefully the Tour will find ways to get back here and play here.

Q. After you shot that round and after you finished third that week, you said you had mixed results. Did you figure at that point, all right, this is going to be a course that I may have success throughout my career here?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, but this golf course has been changed and manipulated a lot through the years. And obviously I think the first couple of years I played really well and enjoyed it. And then obviously significant changes through the years. So I guess the last few years things have settled a little bit again. So I played better when it was -- preredesign. I probably had more success on it.

MARK WILLIAMS: We'll clarify that the Tour will be back at this venue, but it will alternate year-to-year with the Northern Trust event in New York.

Q. You said you don't know what to expect from the golf course because it changed, but do you know what to really expect from yourself? Could you maybe explain a little bit of the work you've been doing with Jason, and how much this can make you think more positive when you miss the cut?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I know how quick this game can change, so I never think about a missed cut as anything more than what it was that particular week. Weirdly last week I felt comfortable with my game tee to green. I struggled on the greens with my speed and never got into seeing the lines. That was the problem last week.

So even though I haven't played this golf course, I did a lot of mental rehearsal, visualized how I wanted to play it. Played a couple of practice rounds in my head, similar to what I did at the PGA Championship when my back wasn't great and I couldn't play the golf course, I walked it. I felt like the mental was as valuable -- could be more valuable than spending four or five hours out there trying to play nine holes. You don't hit a bad shot in practice if it's in your head.

Q. Tiger told us today because of his body and his health he is not doing too much practice because he takes care of his health. Maybe you can explain like you can play golf or practice in your mind with the way, as you said?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, obviously if I choose to play one less practice round a week I could cut my output by 15, 20 percent a week. Obviously you want to be fresh for Sundays. And you want -- that's when you want to have your game peaking. And obviously over the course of a year the less hours out on the golf course I think the fresher you can stay. You still need to do the work. I do a lot more work -- maybe do a lot less traditional work now. As a young kid I'd be out there on the putting green and just drill, drill, drill for hours and hitting balls and just burning a lot of energy. Now I focus a lot more on recovery, a bit more mental rehearsal, do a lot more stuff in my hotel room in terms of drilling my game and my swing.

Q. In terms of your game peaking, how much are you concentrating on these next few weeks, and how much are you thinking about this sort of bigger event later next month?
JUSTIN ROSE: You mean the Ryder Cup?

Q. Yes.
JUSTIN ROSE: I think I'm trying to be selfish right now, and focus on these next three tournaments. And winning the FedExCup will probably be -- that would be a huge moment in my career if that happens. I have to focus on that.

And to do that you have to win at East Lake. These next two weeks are vital, as well. But it's about -- probably the decision to spend six days at home has given myself the energy and the motivation to finish strong now. I feel like I'm on a nice ten day run, this week into next week, and get a chance to take a week off after the BMW, and then come back for East Lake, which is a course I love. My whole goal is to be fresh and ready for East Lake and then I'll roll into the Ryder Cup. I feel like I've built a lot of buffer in the system really to stay fresh through the Ryder Cup. And obviously that's an intense week. I feel Ryder Cup you can get through that week on adrenaline. So much excitement and so much energy there, that's a week you can push yourself a bit.

Q. The guys who went out early this morning, it seemed like the wind swirling around was building up. The first hour or so it was down, it came up, and then it stayed constant. Through your round did it stay steady, or did the wind sort of tail off? Was there a place on the golf course you found was especially tricky as you went through?
JUSTIN ROSE: I felt like it was there at all times. I feel like it was dying at moments. You knew the wind was there, the clouds were moving. For clouds to be moving I feel like it needs to be blowing about 10 miles an hour. There were lowish clouds so you could see the direction in which they were moving. There's a lot of tall trees on this golf course and the greens are kind of positioned in front of them. So when it's into the breeze the flag isn't moving but you can see the clouds moving.

That was the tough part today, judging is it going to be sheltered, or once the ball gets up in the air how much is it going to be hit. I didn't feel like there was one particular part of the golf course that was tougher than the other. But when you're in copses of trees it was hard to judge.

Q. When you hear the name Thomas Bjorn what's the first thing you think of and why?
JUSTIN ROSE: Eyebrows (laughter.) And I don't need to explain why.

Q. Character, leadership, versatile player, what stands out to you, outside of the eyebrows? I should clarify.
JUSTIN ROSE: I think he's a determined character. He's always been -- he's a leader, really, he's always been a leader in terms of whether it be European Tour advisory boards and player boards and whatever the terminology is for them. But he's always been part of the leadership of the players on the European Tour.

MARK WILLIAMS: Thanks for being gracious with your time, Justin.

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