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THE RYDER CUP


September 26, 2018


Justin Rose


Guyancourt, France

STEVE TODD: Justin, many thanks for joining us. Ryder Cup is always a very special week, but just give us your thoughts on being part of The European Team this week.

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, obviously excited, once again. This is my fifth Ryder Cup and only my second at home. So it's just exciting to be back playing in front of a home crowd and obviously Gleneagles was an amazing amount of fun. I'm kind of looking forward to that feel, get the home crowd behind us and playing in front of, yeah, like I said, a home crowd.

We've enjoyed the build-up with the boys. We've had a fun couple of weeks. We've seen a lot of each other on Tour. We've all been very busy doing our own things, but in the back of our minds, we've been spending a bit more time with one another, maybe playing the odd practise rounds, an extra nine holes here and there than we otherwise would have.

We have all been preparing slowly but surely for this week, and it's now upon us, which is great.

STEVE TODD: On a personal level, nice windfall on Sunday, but how much does that do for your confidence, the summer you've had in general, just coming into a Ryder Cup?

JUSTIN ROSE: Oh, yeah, it does a lot. I've been playing consistently well. Obviously I think that's why the FedExCup ultimately -- that's ultimately the way I won the FedExCup was through my consistency season-long, and that obviously does give you confidence coming into this week. And more so, specifically, if I boil it down to just having to play that last hole to win, the feelings that I faced there are going to be very similar to the feelings I'm going to face this week in order to try and close out a point and win a point.

So there will be moments I can draw upon that this week when trying to deliver for Team Europe.

Q. We just had Jon Rahm in here who seems to be floating about six feet off the ground. Is there a danger of being too excited, and how do players like you try and temper that so he get the job done and he's still pumped up?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I think Jon's 24, is he? It's his first Ryder Cup. He's a passionate player, so I think him being six feet above the ground is brilliant because he's already about 6-4, so that would be pretty intimidating if he's flying high.

I would encourage him to just keep feeling that way, keep going and keep riding the emotions and use it as inspiration and feed off it.

For me, knowing a bit more what to expect and the length of the week, obviously, yeah, trying to build into the week is important for me personally, and just grow into the week.

It's only going to get bigger and bigger. Obviously the crowds yesterday were fairly small out here when we played, but that was a good day to play 18 holes. Obviously the team have now a lot of the hard work under our belt and we can now ease into the week and start to build on the energy that's going to ramp up for sure.

Q. What have your experiences been of Ryder Cup crowds, and do you hope that it's going to be a benefit being here in front of the home crowd this week and perhaps put the Americans off a little bit?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I definitely hope to benefit. I think obviously three of my four experiences have been playing away, and I play a lot of my golf in America. So I feel that I never get terrible kind of like -- I never experience any negative treatment by the U.S. crowd, which is great.

But I think it's a very intense environment to be playing away from home, and I think the one thing The Ryder Cup does, is it attracts a sports crowd, not necessarily a golfing crowd, and that's going to be the really interesting thing this week.

I don't know what to say, but the demographic of the crowd; for example, Scotland, Gleneagles, very much a purist golf crowd, very knowledgeable golf crowd, very respectful golf crowd. And obviously I would say here in Paris, I don't know -- I heard 40 per cent of the crowd are French and maybe 25 per cent English and the rest is a mix.

So it will be interesting to see the dynamic in terms of how that feels for us. I would welcome an atmosphere that's more of a sports crowd and a bit more raucous and a bit more as we face it in America. I think that would be fantastic to play in front of, and it will be a lot of fun.

Q. With your five rookies on the side, obviously all of these guys have great accomplishments individually. What's your advice to them this week as rookies, and can it be an advantage or a disadvantage to have that many guys who have not done this before?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I think it was a disadvantage in 2016 for us, but I think that's a big deal being a rookie playing away from home versus being a rookie playing at home. I'm thinking that our rookies this year are much less rookies by nature, world-class players. Obviously Jon has been up at the top two or three in the World Rankings. Obviously Tommy Fleetwood is competing in major championships. Alex Noren wins very regularly and won here earlier this year. Tyrrell, again, tenacious player, I think will relish it -- and who am I missing -- oh, Thorbj√łrn, of course, who has obviously shown his mettle to qualify for the team.

I've been in that situation. In 2018, I was travelling and playing a couple of extra events on The European Tour to get in, and it's not easy. So anyone who qualifies that way has already proved to themselves that they are ready for it.

But yeah, I think we have a nice mix, a really, really nice mix. I think some rookies can be inspirational. They can just really relish it and put points on the board, and once they get a taste for putting points on the board, they are as dangerous as anybody out there. We have seen many wonderful players who don't have great Ryder Cup records; I think it's important to not place too much importance on stature.

18-hole match play is what it is. Anybody can win. That's why the Dell Match Play championship changed it's format because the No. 1 seed kept getting knocked out in the first rounds and the sponsors didn't like it. At the end of the day, reputations don't mean a great deal here. It's the players who find the inspiration on the day.

Q. A lot of the Americans were sort of celebrating with Tiger on Sunday. There was the whole Tiger Mania thing going on. You winning the FedExCup, does that have a galvanising effect for The European Team? Is there some sort of psychological boost that the team can take from that?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, the team have had fun, they -- apparently all the drinks are on my tab this week and all that type of stuff. We've been having fun with it, so I guess there is that element.

I've really tried to curb -- the FedExCup for me, it finished on the plane. I enjoyed the plane ride over, but once I landed in Paris, I was one of 12 guys. I didn't want it to carry over into this week. This week is about another job to do.

I was happy for Tiger, too, last week. I think the golf world was. He's had an immense struggle the last few years, and I think it's brilliant to see him back, and I think it's good for our sport. I was one of the guys celebrating with him, even though I was obviously in contention and I wanted to be doing a better job myself on Sunday. But my Sunday turned into another type of challenge and one that I was able to overcome just about, and that was exciting for me.

But like I said, I think for me now, I can shelf that for another week or so. I will certainly enjoy it. It's kind of a season-long that you really want to enjoy. But I'd like to maybe start that party on Sunday night and here for the right reasons, because of this week.

Q. Can you talk about how your role on the team room's changed over the years, and do you enjoy potentially being the team leader going into this Ryder Cup?
JUSTIN ROSE: I haven't tried to be anything that I'm not. I think I'm just trying to be -- I feel like if I want to say something, I'll say something; and if I don't feel the need to say something. I think it's really important to be who I am, and that's going to be the guy that's hopefully going to deliver some points. That's what talks the most is earning points, leading by example rather than talk.

That's what Thomas has encouraged me to do. He's encouraged me to be myself, and that's why he's been such a fantastic captain so far is that even in the year leading up to this point, he just put a lot of trust in me to be ready for September. Didn't put pressure on me to play in Paris in June if it didn't suit my schedule, and he didn't put pressure on me to do anything that wasn't right for me personally, and therefore trusted all my decision-making to get here and be ready to play and ready to earn points. That extends to the week and to the team room. Just be natural and be yourself.

Sure, my confidence through the years has probably grown. I've been able to play well in Ryder Cups, and if I can share experiences that are going to be helpful and meaningful to other players, of course I'm going to do that, but I'm not going to try and be anything that I'm not.

Q. You spoke at Hazeltine about the course and the setup. How does this course suit your eye and what are your thoughts about this?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it's a really good setup. It's a very fair setup and it's a very challenging setup. Especially with the wind direction that we played yesterday, there's a lot of tee shots with the wind blowing left-to-right, which is hard to fit into the fairways. The fairways are fairly narrow, which is in stark contrast to how Hazeltine is set up.

Typically, Medinah and Hazeltine have been very little rough, very fast greens, and obviously here, we have quite narrow fairways, quite substantial rough off the fairway where you're struggling to get to the green and greens that are rolling fairly fast but not quick. They are rolling a beautiful like 10 1/2, 11, which is great for this style of golf course and the type of grass that we have.

So I think actually it will create interesting -- we all know this golf course is a great golf course, lots of water. You're going to see more -- I think it's going to create very interesting matches. I think Hazeltine was a putting competition for the most part. The greens were perfect. You're winning holes with birdies; very few times you would make bogey and not many holes were won with par, basically.

This week, you're going to see a lot of holes won with par, and it's going to create a very different mentality and some exciting matches. I think some guys are going to hit into the rough, and doesn't necessarily mean you're out of the hole. You have to work very hard for par on quite a few occasions around here. A very different type of golf course, and it will be fun for both teams. It doesn't suit any team more than any other. You could argue quite U.S. Open-esque. Traditionally, quite narrow fairways and a lot of rough. So no one is going to be unfamiliar with this type of golf.

Q. Generally 18 --
JUSTIN ROSE: Not generally, it's a wonderful finish, it really is, and I hope a decent amount of matches do get to 18, because it really is a fantastic golf hole.

Q. How important is it to the European Team dynamic that you don't take yourselves seriously in the team room during this week, and was it particularly merciless on you, the video?
JUSTIN ROSE: What do you mean? I've got my Gold Medal here, polishing it away (laughing).

No, it wasn't too merciless on me I don't think. It was all in good spirit. The more merciless, the more funny, I think, is the nature in which it was intended. Yeah, they were all brilliant.

Q. Is it important to the team dynamic that you don't take yourself too seriously?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, very much so. If you're getting slated in the team room, it means you're loved, yeah, absolutely.

Q. Jon Rahm was in here earlier on, and he said the jet-lag had him asleep on the physio table yesterday. How much has last week taken out of you, especially considering what you had to do on Sunday evening, and are you sort of confident you'll be sort of fully fit to play five, if necessary, this week?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, to be honest, I've had a bit of a dream kind of run into this. I slept probably five hours on the plane, and I've had two full night's sleep my first two nights here. Really clicked in surprisingly well to the time change.

Yeah, I've had no idle hours awake that I wish I was asleep, so I've done really well, and hopefully that will start to pay off as the week goes on. Yesterday was a long day obviously. We played 18 holes, and that was the team's choice to do that, get some of the hard work knocked out early so we can focus on easing our way into Friday morning.

Yeah, if I'm called upon to play five, then I will do. I think I played 19 out of 20 matches out of The Ryder Cup I've played, so I'm sort of used to that in a way. But I will be ready if needed, yeah.

Q. How important was it to you to have Henrik Stenson on this team?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, really important I think. Obviously Henrik, you've just got to look at his statistics. I think he's No. 1 on the PGA TOUR fairways hit. He's No. 1 on the PGA TOUR, greens in regulation. Who wouldn't want to play with that guy?

But what he brings to the team is not necessarily great ball-striking -- or not only great ball-striking. He's a fantastic guy. He's got a brilliant sense of humor, as has been referred to today. His caddie, as well, has great relationships within the team and great relationship with my caddie, Fooch. If Henrik and I were to play together this week, it's not just me and him that get on really well, it's our fourball, the two caddies as well create an awesome dynamic. I think that's actually an important part of it.

You know, Henrik and his family, I adore, and we spent a bit of time with them in Sweden. I was delighted he was going to be part of the team. There was never a doubt he was going to be part of the team. He's the kind of experienced player you want to have, and I think from a captain's point of view, he's one of your reliable guys out there that you need to lean on.

Q. As the new FedExCup Champion, I'm hoping you can offer some perspective here. Phil made the argument yesterday that the Playoffs has helped the Americans because they are playing all the way through The Ryder Cup, as opposed to in the old days, they would take four to five weeks off. Do you think there's any merit to that conversation?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I think our team is fresher than the American Team, so it's going to be an interesting conversation for sure. I'm hoping that that's one of our benefits is that we are slightly more rested as a team, as a collective group.

You know, the guys have been playing hard, obviously, and playing under a lot of pressure. Obviously has have I, but I've also made a lot of small little mini decisions through the Playoffs to try to keep a bit of gas in the tank. I've played many less practise rounds than I otherwise would have. I've skipped out on the Pro-Am in Boston and only turned up Thursday evening.

So there's been a lot of conscious decisions on my end to try and get through this week. You know, the guys that have been playing over here in Europe have played a lot less golf and some of the other guys on the team, some of the more experienced guys, haven't played all the FedExCup Playoffs. Henrik took a couple off.

I feel like we're more rested. It's interesting. They might feel like they are playing their way in and our guys are going to have a bit of gas in the tank. We'll have to evaluate it on Sunday, but I'm hoping our strategy is going to be the one that pays off in the long run.

Q. You've obviously played in all sort of high-pressure situations as an individual. Is The Ryder Cup still a unique test of character as far as you're concerned? Can you explain what that test of character is?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think no matter how many times -- it's once every two years. You never get comfortable with it. I don't think you can ever really walk on to that first tee Friday and go, yeah, this feels good, or this feels normal. Of course it feels good. You feel alive.

I think José Maria Olazábal gave us a little memento one year, and it says, "All men die but not all men live." I think what he meant by that is feeling that adrenaline, feeling that whatever you want to call it, feeling that emotion, I think is what it's all about.

And I think there's no more intense session than the first morning on Friday. That's why everything is a crescendo there. I think from Friday morning onwards, you build into the week and you start to get comfortable. Friday afternoon, you're into it. Saturday morning, it's intense again, but you've done it before the day before, and so you start to build into the week.

But no doubt that peak on Friday morning is something that you anticipate and you're never quite comfortable with, but that's the beauty of it. I think especially this year, the scenes around that first tee will be absolutely amazing. It's the most incredible first tee shot I've ever seen for sure. And this year, it's a long iron. Normally you tee up the driver and hope for the best, but now you might have to hit a good old 3-iron down there. Could be interesting.

Q. Could you take us back to that pivotal putt you made at Medinah in that comeback, the putt itself, Mickelson's reaction to it, and whether you feel like that was your greatest moment as a Ryder Cupper?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think it has to be my greatest moment as a Ryder Cupper. I think the momentum in which it created for the team, you're not quite aware of when you are completing your match, but I think it happened at a time where people watching at home suddenly start to believe that we could do this and then the comeback was on. So from that point of view, it's been -- the story has been told to me many times.

But I just remember, I had a putt from about ten feet to stay 1-down with two to play, and I made that to give myself half a chance. I remember walking onto the 17th tee and just forcing myself to stay aggressive, because in the back of your mind, you'd be like, okay, let's just get a halve out of this match, but I knew that the job was to deliver a point. We needed to have an historic come back and a monumental come back. To force myself to stay aggressive was my goal.

The putt on 17 was, yeah, unbelievable, and that's what kind of people remember is the putt on 17. But that only got me all-square. So my funny reaction of waddling up there and not really going crazy, inside I wanted to, you know, cannonball into the lake, but I knew that I was only all-square. I had to go to 18 and win the hole. I remember consciously walking as slowly as I could to get the ball out of the hole, get to the 18 tee and then continue to play 18 well. So that putt on 17 means nothing if I lose 18, and I was very conscious of that at the time.

The putt I was most proud of was 18 to finish it off, and that's not necessarily remembered or talked about it, but as a player, to make it on the one that's on 18, that's the one that counts.

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