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June 11, 2019

Justin Rose

Pebble Beach, California

MIKE TROSTEL: Ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure to welcome Justin Rose into the Media Center, the 2013 U.S. Open champion playing in his 14th U.S. Open this week, but first at Pebble Beach. You've played a couple AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Ams here, but this is your first U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. What do you think of the course so far.

JUSTIN ROSE: I had the pleasure of being here Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And obviously to have a venue like Pebble Beach pretty much to yourself, in U.S. Open condition for three days was just -- yeah, just enjoyable.

Walking down the scenic holes on the front nine, you can't help but just be impressed with the place. And the weather is a little different to how it is in February. February can be cool and occasionally rainy. Just to be here in the summer does it make it feel different. I'm excited about playing my first U.S. Open here. I think the course is in wonderful condition. It's primed and ready to go.

MIKE TROSTEL: Earlier this year you had a win at the Farmers Insurance. Ten consecutive wins you've had a win. What can you contribute that consistency is to?

JUSTIN ROSE: The decade prior to that kind of learning and taking some cuts and stumbling. You learn. You're always adapting, always learning, always getting better.

But I think over the years putting a good team of people around me. I guess sort of trying to see my golf as more of a business and maybe being -- not CEO, but a good CEO has good people under him. And I feel like the guys around me really push me to keep working hard, to keep learning, to keep improving. I think with that the consistency has come by being a better golfer.

MIKE TROSTEL: Being a champion at Merion, a special week for sure. What makes this week unique compared to any other week on the schedule?

JUSTIN ROSE: Well, you know, it's the U.S. Open. The style of golf is very different to what we face any other week of the year, I feel. It's on Father's Day, finishes Father's Day. That always makes it very special.

In a way it's a nice -- for me, when I won, it was a big part of the story on Sunday for me, was playing on Father's Day and trying to make my dad, who passed away, proud; but also from a role model point of view, competing and playing in a manner that hopefully my son can look up to one day. I used it as part of my story. Those are a couple of things that make this week particularly unique.

Q. If I remember, you had your kids names on the back of your shoes in the final round.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yes, definitely used it for inspiration, for sure.

Q. You've mentioned the more consistent you've been over the past few years, but you're always someone who prides yourself being able to peak for the majors. That would be the biggest disappointment so far this year?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, we're not done yet. I'll only judge that in a month's time, to be honest with you. And obviously some of the decisions I've made this year have been around playing well in the majors. And it hasn't paid off yet, but the majors come thick and fast, four in four months.

Yeah, it hasn't worked out yet, but I think it's a period of time. I think it's going to be harder for guys to have that consistent major run. It's hard to play well for a consecutive four months. And how quickly the majors come around, it's to peak and valley through that four months and to try to get it right, to peak on the right week, once a month, is going to be tricky. But hopefully I'm in the cycle now where I'm heading towards the good golf on the back end.

But obviously so far this year, the Masters was a disappointment. I definitely felt like I got my preparation wrong running into that. PGA Championship, I played decent stuff there, I just didn't play my best, but it wasn't far off.

And here we are. I feel like I'm trending in a much better direction now than I was maybe in April. I'm more positive, for sure.

Q. I asked a couple of players the same question. What do you remember about Tiger's win here in 2000? By my math, you would have been 19, already playing obviously a lot of tournament golf. But do you recall watching that, and what kind of impact did it have on you? And I have one other question when you're done.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, just 15 shots, unbelievable. He destroyed everybody else, and I kind of felt sorry for everybody else, I think, really, is what I felt. It wasn't a fair fight at that point.

I remember the guys were scrapping for second place. It was Ernie and Thomas Bjørn and guys like that. I felt like these guys playing in the Tiger era in the 2000s, anyone who finished -- basically Tiger was taking so many opportunities away from the guys. Your Phils and your Ernies and your Vijays, whoever the top guys were around then, it seemed like if it wasn't for Tiger, their careers may look a lot different.

Obviously 15 shots in a major is unbelievable.

Q. Unrelated question. Given your background growing up where you did, I'm curious your thoughts on playing in the wind and how you conquer that. Any good stories about that? It seems like that torments Tour pros more than any other challenge on a windy day.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think wind is the biggest factor. A golf course can play so differently with the wind direction switching. You can prepare for a golf course, and I think the wind is going to be out of the west this week, which must be the prevailing wind. But if this golf course was to change wind direction, your three or four days of preparation could be -- obviously you're always learning something around the greens.

But when I focus on my preparation, I focus on where -- I really practice where my ball is on the ground. That's the stuff I can learn. When the ball is in the air, day-to-day conditions can be so different. There's no point practicing 7-irons on 17 if you're going to turn into the wind and be hitting 3-iron and 4-iron.

You've got to understand strategy a little bit, and I think this golf course is very much wind dependent, as are most courses on the ocean.

I've worked hard on the wind. My caddie and I, we're not working together at the moment, but over the year we tried to build a matrix of understanding the wind. Like a ten-mile-an-hour wind, exactly how much it takes off the ball. We've used TrackMan a lot to try to gauge exactly how much the wind is taking off the ball. TrackMan has a great feature called "normalize," so you can hit the ball into the breeze, you can see your 5-iron go 170, you can press the normalize button, and it will say it should have gone 205. So into a 12-, 15-mile-an-hour breeze, you can see how much that is knocking off.

We've used wind gauges and all sorts of stuff to try to make it as accurate as possible, but the key -- the really good thing about the wind is there's so much feel involved. You very rarely hit a stock standard shot into the wind. And if you hit a hard 7-iron, the wind has so much more effect than if you hit a smooth 6. It's never as simple as a hard 7 doesn't quite get there, so you hit the smooth 6. Some of the smooth 6 doesn't get hit by the breeze as much. So there's so much feel in terms of playing in the wind. For me, a 5-, 10-, 15-mile-an-hour breeze is really what you want on a golf course. It separates the guys that are playing really well and the guys that aren't quite on their game.

Q. Just curious, based on your prior experiences playing here at Pebble Beach, whether it's a tee shot or fairway shot, approach shot. Are there two or three shots that are really going to be crucial for you that maybe in the past haven't always set up well for your eye visually that are really going to be critical shots for you this week at this tournament?
JUSTIN ROSE: Nothing that springs to mind, really. I think the critical shots are going to come down the stretch on Sunday. That's when it gets critical. I think until that point, it's a U.S. Open. The fairways are generous-ish here, especially the holes where you've got the ocean and will have you down the right-hand side. There are some camber and tilt to the fairways, but they're still generous enough where you feel like -- there's obviously a premium on having to hit the fairways, but you have a decent chance to hit the fairway. But it comes down to down the stretch. That's where it gets critical. That's where you're going to win or lose it. Until that point, it's just about patience and playing one shot at a time.

Q. You touched on not having Fulch on the bag. Has what's been going on with Fulch changed your perspective in any way coming into this, and can you talk about how much you've spoken to him in the last few weeks?
JUSTIN ROSE: I stay in constant contact with Fulch. Obviously he's one of my best friends, and I'm just checking in on him. He's okay. Like maybe he came back too soon. The Masters was a huge goal for him, as it was for us. And I think we all come back too soon from an injury or whatever it might be. He's not alone in trying to do that. And obviously just kind of felt like he wasn't at his best.

And in some ways -- he took the decision to take a step back, to be honest with you. So obviously wish him the best and back to full fitness. We stay in constant contact. He's great friends with Lordy who's now caddying for me, Gareth Lord. Between the three of us, we'll staying in contact. No one knows what the future holds, but all options are in play going forward.

It's obviously different right now. It freshens things up, and that's how I'm trying to see it right now. What Fulch does brilliantly, Gareth will do a couple of other things brilliantly. No one is the full package. There's going to be things that I'll miss and things that can be brought to the table. We'll see how it plays out.

Q. Does Fulch still have an input here when he's speaking to you, can't help himself trying to give advice?
JUSTIN ROSE: No, I don't think so right now, but there's no doubt he's going to be watching and Shot Tracker and seeing me over the back of greens and short of greens and probably laughing or snickering to himself. He's obviously wishing us well. He'll be keeping a keen, close eye on it, no doubt. I think for the time being we're in constant communication as friends rather than talking about golf.

Q. How would you compare this course with other world-famous courses, and which holes particularly stand out for you?
JUSTIN ROSE: Obviously there's so many iconic holes here. I think 7. 7 stands out just for what it is. It's great to play a par-3 that's not 200 yards. And I think as soon as the green gets firm, it's like the 17th at Sawgrass. As soon as the conditions get a little bit rough, everything changes. It's right there on the peninsula and on the rocks, and you get 10-, 15-mile-an-hour breeze, that green is pretty small. It's an elevated tee, so the wind has more effect. It's a fun hole.

18, incredible. Maybe St. Andrews, 18th at St. Andrews, and 18th at Pebble Beach, you couldn't pick two better venues, two better places to win a golf tournament. And the course is a really good, fun golf course. It's not overly long. It sets up really well for amateurs as well as pros.

They've tightened the fairways for us. Generally there's enough room out there to enjoy your day's golf. And the targets are really small on the second shots. Greens are very tilted and have a lot of slope to them.

But, yeah, I think it's all about the wind. It's all about the firmness of the green.

MIKE TROSTEL: You'll be out with a pair of U.S. Open champions, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth. What's it like playing with Tiger as far as the buzz and the excitement around the crowd being there?

JUSTIN ROSE: I played with him a couple of weeks ago at the Memorial. So it was good to sort of be out with him again. I haven't played with him that much recently. I think it goes up another level, I think, obviously at a major championship, as it does for everybody. The crowd and the pressure and the noise and the lights and the music, I call it, it all ramps up a little bit in a major.

I'm here to do my job, right? And as much as I enjoy playing with Tiger, I'm going to be doing my thing. And I think sometimes, when the atmosphere is ramped up like that, it forces you to tunnel in and focus a bit harder. And I think sometimes it can be a good thing.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the rough? Historically USGA has always tried to make the rough very difficult, sometimes even chip-out rough. Can you talk about this rough, and could it be somewhat embarrassing at times on where your ball is and what you can do with it?
JUSTIN ROSE: I haven't hit very many out of the rough. You hit a couple in the rough, you scoop it back into the fairway in practice rounds. It's about not compounding an error. If you have a marginal lie, just get it back in play, hopefully get it to within wedge distance and try and make your four. If you miss a fairway, it's like dropping half a shot, but let's see if you can, with a wedge in your hand, pick up that half a shot and make par and move on. It's about not making doubles and triples in a U.S. Open. You can absorb a little hit. You don't want to be making two or three birdies to counteract a mistake, because the birdies are hard to find.

The rough seems penal but not outrageous. I think there's going to be some very unlucky lies around the greens and the tops of the bunkers the way they've let the fescue, or whatever that grass is around the tops of the bunkers, grow. It's quite a coarse grass as well. Any ball that lands just over the top of a bunker and lands in that longer grass, I think the ball is going to stick in there and you're going to have some tough lies. And maybe you'll see guys not move a ball possibly from the tops of those bunkers. That's probably the most penal area of the golf course, I think.

Q. Jordan Spieth was in here, said he'd take 3-under for the next 25 Opens. Would you take 3-under for this one?
JUSTIN ROSE: I haven't seen the forecast. I think a lot of it is wind dependent for sure. Right now the golf course is relatively soft. And if it's soft and calm, you're going to see some good scores; if it's not, you're going to see some high scores.

But I think if it does what they wanted it to do, I'd imagine you're going to see some scores early, you're going to see guys 4-, 5-, 6-, 7-under for the tournament. And then hopefully -- well, it will kind of slowly pull back through the weekend and -- yeah, listen, I'd take -- I'll take 4-under if Jordan is taking 3-under, yeah (laughter).

MIKE TROSTEL: Justin Rose, best of luck this week.

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