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February 22, 2007

Justin Rose


RODDY WILLIAMS: Justin, great win out there. Tell us how does it feel to get the better of Phil Mickelson.
JUSTIN ROSE: Obviously I'm delighted to advance again and to last 16. It was always going to be a tough game today and it proved to be that way, really. A lot of birdies out there and it really was an any place and tuck game from the front nine to the early part of the back nine. It was one down, square, one down, square.
Just managed to get my nose in front there on 10 maybe, I kind of lost track a little bit of the game -- or 11 -- but yeah, it was a really fun game to play, a lot of birdies.

Q. When you're sort of matching each other birdie for birdie, did it spur each of you on?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think so. I think the way the course played today was a lot easier than yesterday. I think the pin placements were more accessible. My strategy was certainly obviously just to try and birdie every hole and expecting Phil to do the same because there's certainly chances out there.

Q. On No. 1 Phil punches out from underneath the tree there, makes par, you go down in the first hole. What are you feeling that then he punches out from underneath there?
JUSTIN ROSE: Obviously I was looking like winning the first hole for sure, and then obviously -- it's the classic match play flip really. It looked like I winning the hole and I lost the hole.
You know, it was too early in the game to be worried about anything, and I think what really helped me is I bounced back straight away, hit an iron shot to gimme range on the 2nd, and suddenly the game was all square again.
Obviously I felt kind of a routine up-and-down on the 1st and a routine up-and-down on the 3rd and I didn't make either, and I kind of felt to myself you can't give Phil Mickelson too many chances like that.
So I knew from that point on I kind of had to tighten up a little bit.

Q. I was going to ask, where does this place in your list of career achievements, beating Phil Mickelson?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, you know, I think still obviously got to look at it as a golf tournament. I think reputations don't mean anything this week, and that's certainly been my attitude coming into it.
For me it's a good win. Obviously it's always nice to beat a player who's obviously won majors and stuff like Phil has. Really I'm looking at it as a golf tournament not a -- not sort of as a who's who list of players.

Q. What does that do for your confidence? And what do you do tomorrow?
JUSTIN ROSE: You sort of reset the dial and go into tomorrow. You know, it's a new game. The thing with match play is you never quite know what to expect. I think all you can do is go out there, play hard and give it 100 percent, and that's it, really.
As long as I feel like I go out there and I give it 100 percent and I commit to my shots, that's sometimes all you can do. I don't certainly feel like today was -- obviously I'm thrilled to have won, but I don't feel like it's -- I feel like it's another game of golf and I managed to win.

Q. But your confidence must be as high as it's been for a long, long time?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I've been playing well for a long, long time, I think. The last three or four weeks I haven't played quite as fantastically as I have been playing, but the good thing is I know is it's just right there bubbling below the surface. This week I've tapped into it a little bit more. I'm certainly feeling a little bit more comfortable with my game as I was at the end of last season.

Q. Could you take us through 15, what you faced on that lie in the desert and the putt, and how did that set you up walking to 16 then?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think that really was -- that was the game right there in a nutshell maybe. Obviously hit a bad tee shot left into the desert, Phil maybe hit his best tee shot of the day, just like a little flick wedge into the green.
I had 8 iron into the green. I was trying to hit it but I knew I needed to make 4. Didn't hit a great shot 35 feet right of the pin. Phil was kind of outside me, helped me a little bit about the read on the putt. That was the first putt I've made in two days of any distance.
My putting began to feel better on the back nine. I've been struggling with my putter a little bit, to be honest with you, through the last couple of days, and I've just been managing to hit the ball so well. But the putter began to feel good on the back nine which is something I'm excited about going into the rest of the week.

Q. What about putting the pressure on him on 16, making him go for the green?
JUSTIN ROSE: I had to hit a sensible iron shot. I knew 3 was going to be a decent score. I think I saw Padraig Harrington in front of us sort of behind the pin and then pretty much what Phil did, I think. I knew it was a tough pin and had to hit it left of the hole.

Q. Justin, in terms of confidence, do you feel you're now back at the level you had in 2002, or is there still somewhere to go?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think I'm more confident, really, in the grand scheme of things. Yeah, 2002 I won four tournaments, but I think I'm playing at a much higher level now. I think certainly my game is elevated way above -- much matured with my game certainly more than I was back then.
So in terms of looking at going onward and upward and moving to the next level in terms of winning majors and in terms of winning big golf tournaments I'm so much closer now than I was back then.

Q. Just in terms of your opponents coming up, obviously it seems to be a stream of good friends of your, Charlie Howell or Ian Poulter or Trevor Immelman.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it's almost like a Tavistock Cup match, which obviously we all live in Orlando, Lake Nona or Isleworth, and we've got the Tavistock Cup coming up at the end of March. We're obviously good friends.
One, it's hard to play your friends; and two, you've still going to be out there -- we're all going to be playing hard. There's too much at stake, really.

Q. Along those same lines, a lot of young players like yourself have advanced into the round of 16. Anything you can attribute that to?
JUSTIN ROSE: My wife Kate. She said this week is going to be the young guys' turn. So far she's proved right. I don't know, I think there's a lot of young -- really good young players up there in the World Rankings right now. There's no real reason. There's no big surprises. There's a lot of good talent around at the moment.

Q. Does it matter that you guys haven't played that much match play in the past and maybe some of the older guys have played more of it?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I think if you go back to amateur golf, which is obviously for the young guys nearer to -- nearer time-wise, we play a lot of match play in amateur golf. So it's not really, I don't think, too much of an issue.

Q. Back to Charles Howell III, you take care of Michael Campbell 6 and 5, Phil today, both are coming in here steamrolling through their matches. What do you expect out of tomorrow?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think a tough game. I think Charles possibly who is best player in the world right now other than Tiger, let's say, and it's going to be a tough game. He's obviously playing well very, very well, striking the ball well.
He's been in contention a lot, and it looks like he's putting well to me. It's going to be a tough game. I think it's going to be a game like today where you've got to go out there and expect to make birdies.

Q. I spoke to Phil last night and he said he held your game in very, very high esteem. Was there much interaction between the two of you out there today?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I must say Phil really is a great sportsman, he's a wonderful sport, and he's a gentleman out there on the golf course. Always compliments good shots. He makes small chitchat when we can, and we happened to find ourselves walking up and down the fairway together.
Yeah, that's everything you can expect or ask for a playing partner. So yeah.

Q. And the galleries?
JUSTIN ROSE: Obviously a bit one-sided, but (laughing) -- to be expected, I think. I heard a lot of wildcats or stuff like that, and Sun Devils and all that stuff.
But yeah, obviously he's a popular guy wherever he plays. I knew that was going to be the case, but at the same time I had some focusing to do out there.
RODDY WILLIAMS: Good luck tomorrow. Thanks very much.

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