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May 16, 2019

Justin Rose

Farmingdale, New York

JUSTIN ROSE: It was kind of what I expected. It was a tough golf course. I had to play really, really well, obviously, to find birdie opportunities. But there were birdies out there. I think I had three or four today. It was tough to limit the mistakes, and obviously four birdies is probably going to wash out most days with four mistakes here and there.

So I felt like it was a steady start, a good start, something I can build on for the rest of the week, and obviously Brooks is going low at the moment, which I kind of felt like it's on, as well. Like if you play a great round of golf and keep hitting it in play off the tee, you can find some birdies because the greens are rolling so well. Tough to kind of keep doing that hole after hole.

Q. How was the wind out there? 17 seemed like it was playing with guys.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, so I think it started to pick up really the last sort of 45 minutes of our round, so it could be tough this afternoon if the guys have to deal with a bit of breeze on top of a tough golf course, it could be trickier out there for them this afternoon, but until that point it was a beautiful morning to play golf.

It was warmer than I thought it was going to be today, so got rid of the long sleeves, which was nice, and the course looked and played beautiful today.

Q. Was it a challenge from a physical standpoint in terms of execution or from a mental standpoint trying to stay focused under awkward conditions?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think the golf course tempts you into making poor mental decisions. I think it all has to start with a tough golf course. If the golf course isn't tough, it doesn't bother us guys out here. Do you know what I mean? You can fake it. But I think when the conditions get really tough it stresses your game and stresses different parts of your game and therefore stresses you out mentally. I think the golf course always dictates the mental challenge, but that's the fun of it.

Q. What have you done in recent years to get better at handling that mental challenge? I would imagine at some points during the round today you needed to step on the gas a little bit.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I mean, 2-over par through four holes was not the ideal start, but I kind of tried to just keep putting one foot in front of another. Rickie got off to double bogey start and posted 1-under. He's a great example of staying free, playing loose golf and trusting that your skill set is going to put you in position come Sunday.

So that was my mentality today; that if I did drive it in the rough, trust my short game, trust my wedge play, get tit back in play, don't compound errors, and then trust that over the course of 72 holes I'm going to hit enough good shots to get myself in position.

Q. You said earlier this week that after the Masters you had to change your game. It sounded like you are mentally fresh and ready to go. How difficult was it to make that change with another approach and -- you seem to be a creature of habit?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, obviously I've done it a few different ways through the years. I've played in many major championships now, and sometimes -- one -- I think I turned up on a Wednesday once out at the U.S. Open, and I was kind of -- Wednesday night I was so excited that the next day was the first round, not another practice day and another practice day after that. Sometimes the preparation can be quite arduous for these events. But again, this week, the first round has come up upon me quite quick, which is exciting. I was ready to play this morning. But hopefully the fact that it feels like a short week gives me that mental freshness on the weekend.

Q. Do you feel like this golf course is built for your type of game when you're driving the ball well?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it should be a good golf course for me. I think this golf course is -- it's interesting, guys that are up there in strokes gained off the tee often don't hit as many fairways as you might expect. I think this week you're going to have to hit fairways. I don't think you can get away with hitting six a round; I think you're going to have to hit nine a round to be competitive.

That normally is in my wheelhouse. I should be hitting north of 60 percent I would say. But --

Q. If you want to do that, hit more fairways, you might have to lay off and hit more 3-woods off the tee, but it doesn't seem like you're able to do that?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, this golf course demands that you kind of get down there as far as you can. Because I think there's so many uphill second shots that you need a shorter club, you need loft to come into the greens. There was a couple of occasions I hit 3-wood today, but really it was few and far between. It was a lot of drivers.

Q. Do you prefer it when golf courses are set up like this, especially challenging, or is it easier in some ways when birdies are easier to get?
JUSTIN ROSE: I love it like this. You've got to work for your birdies. You've got to hit quality golf shots to make birdies out here. Tommy is, I think, one of the best ball strikers on TOUR, and this is right in his wheelhouse, this golf course this week, and I love the way he plays, and I think that certainly when I'm playing well, I play a similar way to him. I kind of feel like you get the ball in play off the tee, and then you can be aggressive with your iron play.

Q. Can you say something about toughness and fairness when it comes to golf courses, when they set them up? This is a PGA versus a U.S. Open. Did you see it out there? Did you notice in terms of setup how this was set up as opposed to what it's been like for U.S. Opens? Any comments on that?
JUSTIN ROSE: If I came here -- I kind of feel like this is a Torrey Pines U.S. Open setup, which I think is one of the fairest ones we've played in a long time. It's a golf course, Torrey, as well, that we play on the PGA TOUR regularly, so we know it. And then when you come to play it in a U.S. Open, it didn't feel like a totally different golf course, and this doesn't feel like totally different golf course to how we've played it in Barclays Championships in the past. It's just tougher, and I think it's a bit more demanding. Fairways are probably about five yards narrower than they normally are, which makes a difference here and there. I feel like the angles are slightly more awkward because off some tee boxes it's easy to run out on some holes when you're coming across a dogleg. And then the rough is more penal. You can't get to the greens out of the rough, whereas during -- maybe in August when we played in the Barclays, you can normally advance it up and around the greens. Just more of a premium on every shot really.

Q. Tell me about the elevation changes. You're making shots up into the greens a lot of times. How much time did you have to spend really dialing in your numbers with your caddie as you go through --
JUSTIN ROSE: We've got a pretty good cheat sheet. The yardage book has it in there. For example, I think playing up the 15th hole, it was about 13 uphill, I think, on the second shot. But it's all in there, just to speed things up.

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