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November 4, 2018
CLARE BODEL: Thanks, everyone. Welcome, Justin. Turkey is becoming a bit of a special place for you, defended your title. First time you've defended a Rolex Series title and back to world No. 1.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, some great accolades there, absolutely. Taken me 20 years to defend a title, I guess. So that's great. It's interesting because normally when you win a golf tournament, it's at a golf course you like, so I'm surprised it has taken this long to kind of achieve that. But maybe I joke, I haven't won that many times to have that many chances to defend but I'm getting up there, beginning to win regularly which is one.
Great week in Turkey, on and off the golf course, I really enjoy this week, and I think the off-course is as important as the on-course because at this time of year, everyone is dragging and everyone is getting pretty tired, and it's almost been a rejuvenating week in some ways.
Today was a good battle, a good test. Obviously Haotong, three-shot lead, I knew I was in a good spot going about into today. Whenever there's only one guy ahead of you, you've always got a great chance because you just never know how that player is going to play on a particular day. If you're three back and there's seven guys ahead of you, you can guarantee one of those guys is going low. When you've only got one guy ahead of you, you know you're in good position going into Sunday.
CLARE BODEL: For the fans, a thrilling day, maybe not as much fun for you, but Haotong is someone you know well and a good friend. What was that like?
JUSTIN ROSE: Obviously you want to win the tournament and I want to win it at all costs, but I couldn't help but be rooting for him, as well, and I couldn't help be feeling really bad for him on 18. It did get tense for both of us coming down the stretch. It was a really good battle. He eagled 15 and I nipped ahead at 16. 17 and 18, obviously I would love to play those again but they are tricky holes and a lot of shadows around the cup. Very tough to judgment the speed and very tough to read the last couple greens.
As you could see, the last green definitely took a couple scalps towards the end. It's a very treacherous green back-to-front, and when Haotong missed the putt in regulation, I had that very slick -- I had six inches outside left edge to try and make that one, but because it was so quick around the cup, lacked a little bit of speed. Would have been a much easier putt to make to force the playoff rather than to win outright. Just dropped a little bit of speed on that one.
Lots to learn from. Again, I did learn; lost a playoff not too long ago to Keegan Bradley in the States, and there was a little incident around the back of the tee box where I heard a golf cart and didn't back off, made a mistake.
On the back of this 18th hole, I heard a golf cart. Kind of settled myself, took an extra few moments and hit in the fairway. You're always learning. But Fooch and I just tried to sort of learn from our mistakes in playoffs today.
Q. What's the most important shot you hit today?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think the tee shot at No. 10. I played the 10th hole poorly all week and I made birdie there today, and where that pin was front left, a good tee shot actually set that ball up to be a birdie hole because it was a bit of a feeder pin.
So bogeying the hole two of the first three days, and to make birdie today set up by the tee shot, I think that was the most important shot today.
Q. Do you think you're playing the best golf of your career right now?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, definitely. Collectively as a collective body of work, no doubt about it. Just the consistency of it, churning out -- I think I average 68.9 something on the PGA TOUR this year and that's way lower than I've ever averaged before.
The fun thing is I still feel like there's improvement to be had and that's what I'm looking for. I don't know if I'm a bit, you know, whatever in the head but I'm really looking forward to the off-season to still work at a few things and still get better.
I think that's the exciting part, at 38, I still feel like there is improvement to be achieved.
Q. How will you celebrate the win?
JUSTIN ROSE: Heading home, which is exciting. I haven't seen the kids for a couple of weeks. Obviously Kate, I'm sure, will re-toast getting to No. 1, and this time I've got some silverware. Last time it was muted because I was still so mad at not winning the tournament at the BMW, but this time I've got the double kind of winning feeling, so it might be a bit more fun to celebrate it at this time.
Q. That was sort of my question because I know when you sort of lost the playoff, you weren't very happy, a bittersweet moment but to win it now with a victory must be that much more satisfying.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, absolutely. I've had some pressure-packed Sundays of late. Dare I say, kind of coming way with consolation prizes in a way. World No. 1 after losing in a playoff, finishing fourth but winning the FedExCup. You know, the FedExCup was an interesting one because I knew exactly what I had to do and I was playing a tournament within a tournament. But not having that winning feeling in a tournament but still coming away with accolades.
I was keenly aware I wanted to get back in the winner's circle and it was good to get it done today.
Q. Major Champion, Ryder Cup, Olympics, FedExCup. What is there left for you to target? What's the next goal?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think more majors for sure. That's what I'm interested in. Trying to chase down as many as I can. You've seen players like Phil and PĂˇdraig Harrington have had hot spells towards the end of their careers where they have amassed two or three really quickly. If I was able to do that on the top of what I've already achieved, it would make things really good, so very much focusing on the majors.
I think next year is going to be about majors and just overall recovery, maybe not playing too much and playing as fresh as I can for those.
Q. Was that nervous finish perhaps an indication of just how much this victory did mean to you? And is the big target now to win Europe's world No. 1?
JUSTIN ROSE: There's always a moving target, isn't it, so you never quite get anywhere. It's a journey; life's a journey, not a destiny and all these beautiful clichĂ©s we try to live by.
Yeah, there will be another opportunity to either go further ahead, or Brooks will have an opportunity or DJ will have another opportunity to go back to No. 1 if they win.
Yeah, would be lovely to end the year at No. 1. Nice to have Christmas turkey at No. 1, of course. I'm not going to stress about it to be honest with you.
Q. That nervous finish, was it an indication of how much this meant?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, sure. Clearly I wasn't out of my mind nervous, but it was not a great finish obviously. Just a little bit of doubt on my second shot on 17. I was in-between clubs. That's what I'm talking about improving. I'm still making swings down the stretch that I don't like and sort of reverting to old faults which is what happens under pressure. That's why I'm excited where I can keep going with my game.
Great bunker shot on 18, I thought when I needed it there, and obviously make that putt, then suddenly it's a great finish. But I hit a decent putt. I think I hit the putt where I was looking. It was just a really, really lucky putt.
Q. How important was your shot on 12, under the green, where you hit the pin? That seemed like an amazing golf shot.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it was a little bit muddy, so it was hard pan and still quite soft. It could very easily chunk that shot and it took all of my practice there, what I've been working on in my short game to, make decent contact on that chip, and I had to land it in the fringe of the rough there to try and kill the ball because I was landing on a downslope.
Yeah, hit a lovely shot. Always a bit of fortune to hit the flagstick. It didn't have a ton of speed; could have dropped. It's a hole you want to capitalize on, the 12th hole. It's almost like a banker birdie. To have played the hole not great to that point, it was an important up-and-down.
Q. How often have you practised that shot?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think you're always improvising out there, always. You can't practise every shot that you're going to face. There's always an element of improvisation in every round.
Q. You had a real close look today at Haotong Li. What do you see his potential going forward?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yes, I liked the way he dealt with the day. He didn't really have any good breaks go his way early. He kind of got himself -- the lead frittered away, and I've been in that situation before. It's hard to deal with, but he kept his humour with him, which is what I like. He got frustrated at No. 11, but I like that, too.
He's got the fire and the passion, but he hung in there. He stayed with it. But for the most part I kind of like that he still had a sense of humour about the day. He was generally smiling. And then just how he played the playoff, really, I guess. All the 18th in regulation is taking driver out and really committing down the left side. Says a lot about a player, and also, the first couple holes.
Actually the first green, he was literally a foot off the green and pulled out a wedge and chipped it, whereas I definitely would have had the chicken stick out, first hole of the day, rolled it up there. Good to see the young nerves, and that taught me a lot about his mentality and confidence.
Q. What was your strategy on 18?
JUSTIN ROSE: I had not done it all week. It was a really awkward tee shot for me because 3-wood just brought the bunker in play. Yesterday I knew that 3-wood -- yeah, yesterday. I knew that 3-wood brought the bunker in and I had to try and commit more down the left side and I turned it over into the water.
For me it was a really awkward tee shot so 5-wood left me miles back and 3-wood brought the bunker in. I wanted a comfortable aiming point and that was out of the bunker for me. It's the kind of green that you know if you bail out right a bit, you get a nice bounce towards the flag, so I don't mind going in there with a long iron.
If the pin was front left, would probably force the issue more to hit driver. But from where the pin was, coming in from 200 yards wasn't a bad play.
Q. I may have got this slightly wrong, but six Top-10s in the past six European Tour events, and 24 in the past 30. That's remarkable consistency.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, you're right. It's 24 out of 31. Yeah, it's crazy, really. If someone were to tell me, another player put up those numbers, I'd be like, whoa, that's a decent run. I don't know what to say to that.
Obviously it's multi-facetted because there's weeks where I back into a Top-10 or have a hot last round to finish Top-10. Obviously you can steal a Top-10 here and there. Other weeks, you have a chance to win and you back into a Top-10. There's some weeks where it's a good finish and there are some weeks where you're disappointed with it.
But for the most part it shows a level of consistency that's been fantastic for me and also shows, what I know has happened, this week I didn't really drive the ball well but my iron play was great. Some weeks I drive the ball really well. Some weeks I chip it really well. Some weeks I putt it really well. I feel like all aspects of my game are there to bail me out on a given week. It's just a matter of trying to get more of them together, more often.
Q. You mentioned you're always improving your game at this stage of your career. Before the round today, you were working on something with Fooch on the driving. How would you assess that aspect of your game and what were you trying to eradicate from your driving? How would you assess that today?
JUSTIN ROSE: I'm generally a good driver of the ball, but this week, maybe the last month or so, I haven't been driving it as I'd like. I don't have a go-to shot or shape. I was hitting a few extra drivers to find a feel, really, to see if I can could work with something for the day.
Fooch came around to the front side of me and noticed my ball position was maybe a couple balls too far back, which you can get a bit stuck on it. I put the ball forward and it worked. I hit a tee shot that I've hit terribly all week was No. 7. Drove it miles down there, and hit 5-wood on the green and made an easy birdie which started my run. So that was an important tee shot.
There were a couple other tee shots this week. No. 12 I struggled with all week. 13, I struggled with all week.
Yeah, driving, and 10, I struggled all week. But today hit a good one down there, which I think was a key moment in the round, as well. I did hit some key drives when I needed to but yeah, I was trying to find something with the driver. I just kind of gave myself an extra five, ten minutes on the range today than I otherwise would have.
Q. You were talking about a journey. Your professional journey started 20 years ago. Have you had time to enjoy all that you have achieved?
JUSTIN ROSE: Great question. I think Phil Mickelson said that he's still hungry to keep moving forward, and I think the minute you start to reflect, it can kind of soften you a little bit. It's like when you start thinking about your time -- you're done, basically. That's not really the time -- I'm trying to enjoy the moment. Moments like today are enjoyable. These moments are enjoyable.
I love the grind of it. I love that feeling. So the more I can be competitive, the more I can play under pressure, that's what I really enjoy, and then the reflection, the warm, fuzzy feeling, the reflection, we'll save for down the road.
Q. When you're done with a professional player?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think, so turn my attentions to something else and see where that takes me.
Q. What was your yardage in on 18 in the playoff and what club did you hit for the second shot?
JUSTIN ROSE: I was one yard different from regulation, so I had 215 I think, 214 -- when I was a kid I would have known right off the top of my head.
Q. 210 on TV.
JUSTIN ROSE: That makes sense, because it's six uphill. We played a 6, so 215-ish, 5-iron.
Q. This gets you in the hunt for The Race to Dubai. Does this reconsider what you might do the next two weeks?
JUSTIN ROSE: You know, I need to just reflect on everything now, yeah. There's a lot of emotions obviously after this, and I need to do the calculations and see where I stand.
It's not your guys' problem, but I have a lot going on the next couple weeks, so it would be a big shift for me.
Q. Where are you playing the end of the year?
JUSTIN ROSE: As of now, Hero at home, try to roll out of bed for that one, and Indonesia. But yeah, a few other things I need to take care of.
Q. Any chance of a change to play Dubai, and if not, what are the reasons for not playing it in the first place? Obviously the European Tour's flagship event.
JUSTIN ROSE: Of course. I don't really know how to answer that one. It might become apparent next year, but there are things that I need to kind of get figured out. But it's a huge achievement. If I'm able to win it, realistically, then it's something that I've always said I think I should do. I don't know how far I am behind Francesco.
Q. Over a million points, but I think it is feasible, but you'd probably have to win.
JUSTIN ROSE: I don't know the numbers right now, but you know, that -- I can't be less committal on that or more committal than that.
Q. How did the nerves that you feel compare to what you felt in earlier parts of your career?
JUSTIN ROSE: The same, really. I think I probably had more nerves trying to make cuts back in the day than I do trying to finish a tournament now for sure. My perception of it was that every time I had a chance to make a cut, suddenly cameras would magically appear out of the trees and suddenly 12 reporters would be there, and I would just feel that energy, or that kind of extra burden or pressure.
Pressure is self-inflicted, as we all know, and you kind of just have to, I've got many, many more positive experiences under my belt now from which to draw, and that just makes it easier.
Q. In regulation on 18, there seemed to be a long delay on the approach shot. Did it affect you to any extent?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, Fooch tried to say this is exactly like Merion, because the 18th hole in 2013, Luke had hit it way right and was taking a drop. I thought that was good framing from Fooch to try to bring it back to a positive experience. It's never easy to wait, but I thought Fooch made a great comment there to just to try to bring it back to a successful moment for us.
Q. You talk about world No. 1 and winning majors and all that, but when did that really come into your psyche? When did you really think about that? Because obviously you're talking about the fact that you were struggling to make cuts way back?
JUSTIN ROSE: I've always had a deep-rooted belief that I had potential to be a great player. I would say my career started to progress, really kind of kick on in 2010 when I won my first PGA TOUR event.
And then 2011 I won a Playoff event.
And 2012 I won a World Golf Championship event, and so that's when I started saying, I'm trending towards winning a major.
And 2013, I won the U.S. Open. So I kind of felt like that was the start of the progression.
And then the world No. 1 thing wasn't really ever on the radar particularly and then it started being on the radar in May this year. Mathematically I had a chance at THE PLAYERS Championship and that's when I started to think about it. Obviously it's great I was able to get it this year.
Q. After you won the U.S. Open, you talked about winning majors. Did you have a major that you think fits your game best?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think Augusta, I'm always there or thereabouts on the leaderboard every year. I feel good there. I've got a great playbook. I know how to play the course. I read the greens well there. If my iron play sharpens up, which is has done a little bit of late, I think it's a great opportunity for me.
The Open Championship is not one that I've historically played that great at but I think I'm ready to break that kind of spell a little bit and have a great opportunity this year, especially making a run from the cut line to finish second.
Then the PGA Championship, could be any -- there's no reason why I can't play well in that one. Those are kind of in my wheelhouse, those types of golf courses.
CLARE BODEL: Thank you, Justin. Well done again.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports