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June 14, 2019

Justin Rose

Pebble Beach, California

MIKE TROSTEL: It's my pleasure to welcome the 2013 U.S. Open champion, Justin Rose into the Media Center. Justin started with a 65, 6-under par in the first round, today a 1-under 70 for a 36-hole total of 7-under 135.

Justin, let's go through the card a little bit today. You started on 10. Five straight pars, and your birdie on 10.

JUSTIN ROSE: There were a couple of key up-and-downs before that. The round started much like yesterday, a bit of a scramble, a couple great up-and-downs, especially on No. 11, which was nice. You didn't want to drop a shot early in the round after yesterday. Birdied 15. Lovely little draw, 9-iron into that pin and left it right below the hole, straight putt. Was able to make that. Birdied 18. Hit a 3-wood off the tree, quite an aggressive line, left it in the front bunker, but had a good lie and made a pretty simple up-and-down there.

And at that point, I was a couple undergoing to 8 and felt like there was more birdies out there. But back nine proved to be a bit more of a struggle. But a good day.

MIKE TROSTEL: Bogey at 1, nice birdie at 2. What club?

JUSTIN ROSE: 7-iron. Chose to be aggressive off the tee. It's such a skinny green. I felt like if I hit a good tee shot, it potentially was a birdie hole. If I could get in there with a short to mid iron, I could definitely hit it more accurately, and then everything feeds to where the pin was in the middle of the green.

I got rewarded off a good tee shot, but hit it in and hit a 7-iron into about three feet that landed on the right edge of the green and cambered down.

MIKE TROSTEL: That was it for the birdies. You bogeyed 4 but finished really nicely with pars on 8 and 9.

JUSTIN ROSE: I felt like really the third hole I lost a bit of momentum. Great opportunity there. I had 90 yards to the hole. Was definitely a birdie opportunity, and then laid up in the hazard on No. 4. A bit of lapse of concentration there.

That's where I felt the momentum stopped a little bit for me, which is a shame, because I felt like 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 there's some potential birdie holes. 3, 4 was a little blip in the round. But managed to put it up behind me but two good pars on 8 and 9 is a good way to close out your round.

Q. You were 1 back through 36 holes at Merion, and obviously different scoring conditions, but any comparisons you can make between that week and this week so far?
JUSTIN ROSE: You know, kind of opposite in a sense. I must have worked really hard to get back to within one, because I got off to a poor start at Merion. And this week obviously I've gotten off to a great start. The situation could well be similar. There's a few guys at 5-under par with their afternoon round to play. And the golf course still with a good round of golf is yielding some birdies. I'm not going to be far away. I might well be leading. But at this point there's not a lot to worry about, if you're one ahead, one behind, it's a lot of golf to be played. But it's the perfect spot after two days.

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN ROSE: Still not feeling like I -- I still remember working through the week with Sean at Merion, I still wasn't a hundred percent dialed into my long game. So sometimes it's nice to be in contention with things to work on going into the weekend. Sometimes if you feel perfect after two days it's sometimes hard to keep that level every single day. So that could be similar.

Q. You mentioned the par saves. Par save at No. 8 comes to mind immediately. Can you take things from that grinding par at this tournament more than at other tournaments?
JUSTIN ROSE: Absolutely. You know you're going to need to make those sort of key, 5, 6, 7, 8 foot putts for par, and invariably they have a lot of swing on them on this golf course. They are makeable. You feel like you should make them. But they're kind of 50/50 putts. So when you make them you are keeping up the momentum and then you miss one you really feel like you've lost something. Even though they're 50/50 putts the psychological gain from making them is like a whole shot.

Q. Can you speak to the importance of hanging around in major championships, particularly U.S. Opens? So often guys kind of just are right there and then opportunity is there on Sundays. What's the different dynamic of a major?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, for sure. I think sometimes the hanging around mentality is almost more important when you're three or four back. And you feel like you should press or you want to press and you want to get your name to the top of the leaderboard, but sometimes the patience that's required is just about hanging around. Often the golf course gets tougher for the leaders in the afternoon so I've always felt like there's an opportunity and a mindset that just hanging around. Obviously wait for your run. And it's going to be the same for me in contention, and then even if I'm in the lead it's going to be about being very patient but still waiting for my run, still trying to hit positive golf shots, still looking for the momentum. And just working really hard and fighting really hard if you're out of position. Each save can mean a lot come Sunday.

Q. You kind of addressed this about hanging around. I'm curious, Merion and here, because they're not particularly long, do you feel like that gives more players a chance? Do you have to fend off more people here than you would the last few years at longer courses?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think this is a great venue for that. I just saw Jim Furyk shot the round of the day today at 4-under par. Use him as a great example. It means that this golf course is there for everybody. Jim Furyk has never wasted a shot on the golf course in his life, I don't think. The way he plays, it's -- he's obviously a U.S. Open champion, the way he manages his game is a lesson to us all really. And I think my caddie, Lordie, today said basically Tiger is a Jim Furyk with just a bit of an extra gear in terms of distance. But Tiger doesn't waste a shot. People think he's a very flamboyant player and an aggressive player. He's one of the most conservative players out there and strategic players. So that style of golf really lends itself well this week.

Q. Just wanted to find out your tee shot on 4 they said on TV there might have been a camera problem. It sounded like there was some discussion on the tee with the camera, was that the case?
JUSTIN ROSE: It's just one of those awkward hole. It's a double tee box. And the guys were teeing off on 17, and we were doing that rotation, they'd hit one, we hit one. I just kind of felt a little out of my routine. And there were cellphone -- there was a click, but it wasn't like the first time that's happened this week or the last time it's going to happen. It just amounted to a poor shot. And I never felt really set. And that's the frustrating part as a player. You probably mentioned something about the camera but I ultimately I never really felt set on that shot. I was close to hitting driver on that hole, too. It was one of those kind of half committed situations, just frustrating.

Q. Could you talk about the conditions? Was it a little bit firmer, faster, could you compare today to yesterday?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it was comparable for sure. Because there was so much moisture in the air early it was misting, almost misting, but it felt like rain. So that kept moisture on the golf course on the front nine. I would say that the greens were maybe a step or two firmer with your iron shots than they would have been yesterday, yesterday morning, I imagine. I think the wind is picking up, from what I can see out there right now. But if the marine layer burns off a bit and you get a breeze this afternoon that will change the golf course really fast.

Q. Just curious, would you say that overall the golf course is just about where it needs to be given the scoring and the firmness of the greens and the speeds and so forth?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think so. I think for U.S. Opens guys gets under par. It's about who finishes under par really is the trick. But guys do tend to get it under par the first couple of days. And there's a bit more moisture on the golf course. But things can change really, really fast. I think the USGA would probably have loved the course setup, but they'd probably have loved five mile an hour more breeze both days. And I think it would have been a very demanding and challenging setup. Par would have probably meant something a little more than it has the first couple of days, but that doesn't mean it's not going to be the case on the weekend. I think this golf course has plenty of teeth in it. Because you're playing near the ocean you have to respect Mother Nature, you can't set it up for perfect weather and not get it. So I think it's right where it needs to be.

Q. Brooks is say few strokes back. I'm just curious if you notice his name when it is up there on the leaderboard. And secondly, what do you think sort of sets him apart from a lot of guys when it comes to particularly the major championships?
JUSTIN ROSE: I don't know, really. I go on his sound bites, really. He seems to get very focused. He seems to let the mistakes roll off his back. I've heard him saying that so I'm just regurgitating that. I don't know.

I imagine it's a good start for him. He looked rusty in Canada, and come here, it's a great first couple of days. He's probably feeling like he can build into the week and put a good weekend together. And no doubt, him on the leaderboard, with his recent form in majors, absolutely. He's a threat. He is the guy probably that his name is standing out more than anybody else's, for sure.

Q. Regarding that indecision on 4, is is that something you kind of go through the golf course again and think about? Will you watch the golf tomorrow at some point just to see how the golf course is playing before you tee up late in the day?
JUSTIN ROSE: I'll leave that to my caddie, to be honest, to do all the watching. I find that's not conducive -- when I watch golf, I never want to miss a putt, I never want to hit it in the rough. So when they make putts I get frustrated. So it doesn't do me any good really to watch it.

But I think the strategy that you can learn can sometimes be important. But the one or two nuggets I might get from watching it I don't think will help me. I'll leave that to him.

Today I think the situation I was in, maybe, because I had a discussion with Lordie on the tee, we hit 4-iron, because I was 8-under and leading, I think today was driver, if I'm honest. I probably let where I was and the situation dictate the club off the tee. I think it was -- with the pin placement and the wind direction I think it was a driver hole today.

Q. How much do you feel your huge experience will count over the next couple of days and what would it mean to you to win a second career major at this iconic venue?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I hope it counts for a lot and I hope it means a lot. But I'm experienced enough to know that there's no point answering the second part of your question right now. There's a long way to go. And yet I couldn't think -- here and St. Andrews would probably be the two most iconic places to lift a bit of silver. I couldn't think of anything better. But if you don't mind I'm just going to wait a couple of days.

Q. Can you talk about the process after the win at Torrey? You took some time off. How important was that and what have you accomplished in that time since then until now?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, yeah, obviously I got off to a good start this season winning at Torrey and my game was in great shape and I took a month off, which was intentional. I played a lot of golf and I played a lot of International golf at the end of last year. So I felt like that February was about freshening up for the major season. And obviously the first couple of majors haven't worked out as I'd like. Taking February off is always intended and designed to maybe help me out later in the season. So what have I achieved since then, not very much at all after that month. But doesn't mean it's not going to play out to be a great decision at the end of the year. But I'll trust it. And putting myself in situations like this, ultimately that's what it's been designed to have that mental freshness to compete in majors.

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN ROSE: No, I think after you win you can tack on another week off. Sometimes you've got some points on the board, you get off to a good start, you're doing okay in the FedExCup. So, no, it wasn't really that way. It didn't feel that way, at all. But when you're playing an International schedule it's about trying to make the best decisions you can, and having a long-term view. I want to play well every single week. And I make decisions, the best decision I can at the time to try and prioritize certain weeks and use other weeks as -- when I turn up I'm always trying to play well and win. But you have to understand that some weeks are necessary to go through. And sometimes it's necessary to go through a poor run of form before you get to the good stuff.

Q. In your post round interview with FOX you mentioned needing another gear this weekend. What would that be to you, the next gear, what do you think you'd still need to do?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I felt like I hit a couple of better golf shots today. Just feel more confident in the ability -- if the greens get firmer and the wind is a little bit in and off to the right and the perfect shot is the whole 5-iron, but you know it's a premium shot because if it comes off fiery you're way through the lot. To hit the right club into the greens, because if you go with a 6-iron and you hit it on the wind it's always working away from the hole. But if you hold it up in the breeze and land it soft that's the premium golf shot. And sometimes to win tournaments you need to find that level of your game. To win going away, to be in top form. That's what you need to have. That's what I've had in the past. It's probably where I'm just kind of hoping that I can draft into type of form. Yeah, I'm swinging it well, I can put it down the fairway, I'm pretty comfortable on every shot. But you're just looking for that last bit of quality.

Q. Why do you think you've been the best in this tournament thus far?
JUSTIN ROSE: I'll say my short game has been really, really strong this week. I've made a lot of putts inside ten feet. I've managed my game really well. I've missed it in the wrong spots. I've always given myself an opportunity to salvage something out of every hole I've played. And I haven't compounded any mistakes so far.

MIKE TROSTEL: Good luck this weekend.

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