home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 12, 2019

Justin Rose

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

JACK RYAN: We would like to welcome Justin Rose to the interview room here at THE PLAYERS 2019. Justin's making his 16th start here at TPC Sawgrass, with his best result coming in 2014, a tie for fourth place.

So Justin, if we could just get an opening comment on making your 16th start here.

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it sounds like a lot. But excited to be back, excited to be back in March. I've always been a fan, I think, of how this golf course presents itself with the overseed and the greener look, and also the opportunity for the course to play much different this time of year.

Obviously Jacksonville is just a little bit further north in Florida where you can get some cool days, you can get some cool days, you can get some northerly breezes blowing that can make this course very demanding, and the 17th hole for the last few years has been pretty much a wedge, but not saying it will happen this week, but there's the opportunity to hit 8- and 7-irons into that hole at this time of year, which completely changes the complexion of that golf hole. So, yeah, excited to be back. Haven't been on the golf course yet, but looking forward to seeing it and how it's playing.

JACK RYAN: We'll take some questions, please.

Q. Last count, 121 guys in this field have not experienced this tournament in March. You're one of the 24 who have. Do you think you gentlemen will have any kind of an advantage having experienced it in March, even though it was 12 years ago?
JUSTIN ROSE: Maybe. I would say maybe. It would be a very, very, very small advantage, but possibly. I think the only thing that I remember from it is that it seems the course plays a little bit more extreme in terms of I think there's some lower scores to be had, but I think there are also some higher scores to be had. The rough's little bit thicker, so if you're on your game, I feel like can you work the ball to the pins a little bit easier when it's overseeded and the rough plays thicker, so therefore, if you're off your game, you can run into more trouble. I felt when it was playing Bermuda style, it was still tricky, but I think the high numbers were a little less off the card, off the cards.

And, yeah, so we'll see. But from memory, you can just work the pin, work the ball to certain pins using the side boards when the green is just a hair softer and overseeded.

Q. If you rewind back to May, that final round when you went on that birdie blitz, six in a row, psychologically does that help you when you come back here?
JUSTIN ROSE: I forgot about that.


Yeah, I guess I should start to sort of -- yeah, sort of harness those good memories. I remember I was sort of a little bit out of it for the last couple of days and I used the weekend just to try and throw everything I had at it.

So, yeah, I think that this golf course is very interesting from a mindset point of view. There's a lot of trouble out there, but also like I was saying, I think there's a score to be had, as well, so if you go out there with the intent to get after it and play well, you've got to realize that you can make some birdies out there. So maybe I will try and harness that in terms of my approach to this week.

Q. You touched on this a little bit before, but what are some of the specific areas where this course plays a lot different, March versus may, specific holes, greens, things like that?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well I think in general, I haven't seen it yet this week, we had a lot of rain last night, right, so generally the fairways will play a hair wider, but if you miss, the rough's denser and thicker. You are probably not going to be always able to get the ball up to the green. I haven't seen how thick the rough is. The flier, the jumper is out of play generally, so the Bermuda rough you can get the big flier, which obviously made controlling everything into the green much tougher.

But I think it's more target golf, and for me that's how this golf course was designed. It's a stadium-style course, a target-style golf course. I don't think it was designed to be firm and fast and running and bouncy and out of control. I think the targets are there to be hit. And if you do, you get rewarded.

That's the great thing about this golf course; it's a little Augusta-like in the sense of the second shots, holes like 13 and No. 4, if you play the right shot at the right time, with the right pin placement, you can work the ball to the hole. But then if you miss that section you got a really, really tough 2-putt.

So for me it's a very strategic positional golf course; therefore in my mind that's a target golf course. You got to play, plot your way around and hit your targets, but sometimes when it's firm and fiery, it's hard. You can hit a good shot but still can't keep it in that section.

For example, I think the pin on No. 10, front right, great pin location if you hit a good golf shot in there and you can control the ball, it's a birdie opportunity, but sometimes I found it frustrating where that section can play sort of small that you hit a good shot but it kind of bounces through the section that you're trying to use to work it to the pin. So those are, I think, going to be the differences this week, but it remains to be seen.

Q. You touched on a lot of what I wanted to talk about in terms of changing shot values from the one season to another and the different grasses, but how much does that affect what kind of clubs you might take off the tee? If it was harder and faster maybe you can hit iron in some spots where you probably can't anymore.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think overall you're going to have to be a little more aggressive in your mindset. I think the scoring might be a hair lower, if we get nice weather. Like I was saying earlier, I think the weather could play a part in marks. You can get much colder, windier days, but all things being equal I think scoring will be a hair lower, but I think also the definition of the golf course. When it's green I think it just, everything sets up better, and for me personally, they talk about does the golf course suit your eye, and I think that when it's greener the golf course does suit your eye a lot better around here. The definition is there in terms of the run-outs and the fairways and the margins that you're playing with.

Q. I was curious if you had a theory on why the game's best players struggle to consistently contend or get to the top-10 here at this event. Is it the course? Is it the strength of field? How would you kind of analyze that?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think that's the beauty of this golf course is that it suits everybody. It suits all different types of game, which I think is, it's fantastic to have a championship played that suits the whole TOUR, the whole membership. If this was a modern style golf course where every carry was 300 and things widened out, it would be frustrating for 40 percent of the field. I don't think any one of the PGA TOUR players that are here this week is frustrated by this golf course. I think everybody gets here thinking, I've got a good chance to win.

The best players in the world think they have got a better chance to win, which they do, but I think that it's slightly condensed, and I think the top players in the world these days are the guys who are hitting it generally a lot further than most, so you might run into six, seven, eight nine venues a year where you're playing against guys who just maybe can't beat you based on their skill set versus yours. This golf course allows everybody that chance to win, which is I think appropriate for THE PLAYERS Championship.

Q. Bad weekend at Bay Hill; what was your assessment of it? Can you use it as a wake-up call? And could you give us a sort of an update on Fooch's progress.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, sure. Absolutely, yeah, it was a tough weekend, I thought I was in good position really after two rounds, and I was very aware of how Bay Hill plays, that it can get tough on the weekend and that a good score on either Saturday or Sunday and you can run through the field and obviously that was the case on Saturday more than Sunday.

Obviously awesome round by Francesco. 64 was incredible there. For me it was just, everything was a little off. Didn't read the greens well, didn't putt it badly, but just didn't read the greens well, didn't see the ball going in, which is not a good start. Few things to work on. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Four weeks off was always going to be not designed to play well necessarily at Bay Hill; it's designed to kick into effect in a few weeks' time, hopefully this week. But the first week out is always a slight, are you going to be rusty or are you going to be fresh, ready to go.

So I think it was important. It was a week I just had to go through, I guess, and sometimes finishing 63rd is a wake-up call too, just gives that you little bit of extra intensity coming into this week to make you realize that the game isn't easy and you got to put in the work and make sure you tick all the boxes to prepare.

And Fooch I know is watching back at home, so take care Teddy Bear. He's texted me actually he's going to be watching the press conference, so I embarrassed him with that one.

He's doing all right, I think. He's got the bit between his teeth. I think that he feels he's confident in his recovery, and obviously I think the heart is in great shape. It's now just the remnants of the surgery itself. So he's motivated, he's working hard to get himself fit, he's rehabbing daily, and I think he has more of an aggressive timeline in mind than he did a month ago. I don't know what exactly what that is, but I'm sure he would love to be at Augusta, if given the opportunity.

Q. Two-part question. Having this tournament at this point of the year, did you find that that changed your internal clock or whatever with golf and your preparation, because normally you're aimed toward Augusta and I don't know if this hurried things up a little bit.
JUSTIN ROSE: I enjoy it. It feels like a real Florida swing again where you can kind of drive up the coast week-to-week. Driving from Orlando up here was a little nostalgic for sure because I feel like for me that hasn't happened in a while. But, yeah, I think, no, I like the flow of the new schedule, I really do.

Q. Looking at the World Rankings now, kind of an unusual spot here, none of the top-10 have won a Masters. And I don't know if -- these are all players who are very accomplished such as yourself and I'm curious how big a hole is that in your resume, do you think?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, yeah, I mean, listen, I haven't won three of the other majors. They're all holes at that point. The Masters no more than the others, but of course I've come close at the Masters. I feel like I've come second twice, and I've played golf capable of winning the Masters on both of those occasions. I wasn't really back-dooring my way into a second place; I was right there playing great golf against guys playing their best golf.

So I don't feel like I need to do a lot different to have chances to win the Masters. So, yeah, just keep doing what I've been doing there and hopefully the door will open. I'll get my break at the right time on a Sunday afternoon and hit the right shot at the right time, but yeah, of course, I mean, that's the one tournament that's maybe special to win based upon the fact that you get to go back to the same venue year upon year.

All the other major championship venues rotate around, so winning the Masters gives you the opportunity for many years to walk down memory lane and be a significant part of that club. So of course it's golf that all of us guys who are up at the top -- and if you look at the skill sets of the guys at the top of the World Rankings, Augusta really should suit most of us, to be honest with you. So I would say that this year there's probably a very good probability that one of those guys will get it done.

Q. Rory's on a really solid run but hasn't been able to get over the hump on Sunday. Can you relate to a situation where you were playing really well, feeling like you're good enough to win but not getting it done on Sundays, and what did get you over the hump eventually?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah I can't specifically pick out a time, but I mean of course I feel like when you play consistently well you create opportunities all the time. But I think also just the nature of it is very hard to -- you're coming up against other guys who are playing really, really well, as well, so I think even if you are in contention all the time, very hard to kind of always be the guy that comes out on top, just by the nature of this game. A break, a putt, a putt that lips out, something doesn't go your way, it's very difficult to control every variable in play.

But you just got to put trust in the fact that you if you keep putting yourself in position you're going to have your days where everything goes well. I don't know what's going on in terms of if he feels there's something going on on Sunday, if he's trying too hard. I think for me the only thing to do on Sunday is to try and make it feel as much like any other day as possible, and that's the key to it, really, is just freeing up on Sundays and letting your best golf come out.

But I haven't paid too much attention on -- I haven't seen him play on a Sunday. But you're right, he's putting himself in contention, and I'm sure he's getting hungrier.

Q. You did play with him the last time he won at Arnold Palmer last year; what did he have going that day that?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I thought that I was one back with four or five to play and I felt like I was playing really good golf and I felt like I could have easily won that tournament, so I feel like he didn't have anything over me at all that day. But we got to 15 and he chipped in. So it was that one moment, that one shot at the right time that just -- where you get a break. I'm not saying the chip-in is a break; it was a great shot. It was always going in; it was a perfect chip.

But those are the momentum moments that you just need on a Sunday sometimes just to kind of break clear. I think that was the difference on that particular occasion.

Q. Going back to you talking about the Masters, you have obviously had a lot of success there lately. Just curious if there was a time maybe earlier in your career midpoint where it almost felt like playing golf in a museum or the logistics of it in a sense made it almost harder than some other majors or other tournaments in that way, if that makes any sense.
JUSTIN ROSE: Sort of. I used to arrive at Augusta and just used to enjoy the experience. I used to kind of feel like it was a treat to be there, it was an experience to be there, it was a bit of a dream to be there. And I used to walk around just trying to take it all in. Arrive on-site, walk out to the back of the clubhouse and just look, just look at what was there in front of me and just be, wow, I'm kind of living this dream that I had as a kid. Just to be playing there was sort of -- it was the one tournament that makes you feel that way I think or makes me feel that way.

But then in recent years I've almost had the sort of a slightly surreal out-of-body experience like turning up knowing that I'm one of the players to beat and to contend there. That's sort of been something I've had to get comfortable with, knowing that this tournament has always been kind of dreamlike but now actually it's more of a reality and putting myself in a position where I know that I need to put my mindset in the right place to go out and challenge to win it. So that shift has kind of happened, I guess, the last three, four years.

Q. What changed? Why do you think that happened?
JUSTIN ROSE: I've always been comfortable there. I always had my name on the leaderboard there from an early age, even going back to 2004 when I was 23 leading after two days. So it's a place I've had many good experiences, but I think it was just maturing with my whole career and just self-belief, I suppose, in myself.

Q. When you see guys like Vijay a couple weeks ago doing what he did at the Honda, obviously Phil is still flashing on the leaderboards here and there. Even Davis Love at a tournament about a year ago was able to kind of get up there. When other players see that, see these older guys doing that, does it change the perception of how long you guys might think about extending your own careers as long as the health is good?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think my wife doesn't like to see it. You kind of sit there, yeah, baby, the five, seven years of prime golf and then we'll kind of, you know, maybe tone it down a little bit, and then you see guys like that and you think, well, maybe it's actually 10 years, who knows.

It's good to see, obviously, but if I look at, certainly if I look at Phil and I look at Vijay, I look at guys who are very languid, guys who still have loads of range of motion, clearly a lot of strength. They're big guys. They haven't lost the physical advantage that they had. I think that's the key. There's a lot of guys who tighten up, stiffen up. Their bodies don't move how they used to, and therefore their game is not same as it used to be.

Q. As a follow-up, do you expect to see a guy like Tiger out here when he's 50, if his health is good? If his health is good, do you expect him to still be chasing majors?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think that if he feels like he can win a major, he's going to be out here because those -- they're so lucrative. They change the course of a career, especially at the stage of his career. Who knows if he could win one or two, that final one or two could mean everything to him.

So yeah, he's going to do everything in his power, but that's the big if. It's hard. It's hard to stay fit and to stay -- well, one, stay motivated enough but two, stay fit enough, and three, stay good enough. Every credit to those guys who are doing it. The motivation needs to be in place because a lot of things -- you have a lot of other pulls on your time by that time. I'm sure there's guys that have many other interests and obviously families. It might get easier with the family because the kids might be old enough where they're a little bit more self-sufficient so you have a bit more time. I don't know. I think probably, to be honest, the toughest time is probably between 30 and 40, just in terms of raising a young family. But from that point of view it's probably the only upside I can see, but yeah, every credit to those guys. But both of them look to me like they're very similar in how they move and how they swing a golf club and the speed they're still able to generate.

JACK RYAN: Thank you for the time, Justin and best of luck this week.

JUSTIN ROSE: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297