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May 23, 2007

Justin Rose


STEVEN FRANKLIN: Good morning, everybody. Welcome to Justin's press conference. Justin we're delighted to have you here at the BMW PGA Championship, your first appearance since the Masters.
I such suppose we should start with a health update. Tell us how the back is.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, that's a good question. I'm doing well. I'm in good shape. I certainly feel I've given it some time. Obviously I haven't played since Augusta. So five weeks, I think that is, so obviously raring to go and had plenty of rest and I guess the trick is to just get it strong.
Yeah, I played on Monday and had no problems and practised hard yesterday, still no problems. I don't anticipate any really, so looking forward to the week.
STEVEN FRANKLIN: And obviously the West Course has changed a fair bit since you last played it. What are your thoughts?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, on Monday I played. It was sort of a wet, dreary day and the ball wasn't going very far, so it played extremely long. I'm thinking, like this is a tough course and 18-under par or whatever it was last year seemed like some score. I enjoyed the changes. I think they are good. Certainly it's well-bunkered.
I'm looking forward to playing this afternoon in some nicer conditions to get a better feel for the course.

Q. Was it a bit frustrating when it got to the point that you could have won any week that you played and then your back went?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I'm hoping I'm still at that point.
It's been an interesting thing. I've learned a lot about scheduling and how important being fresh is and having lots of energy to compete.
I think obviously I'm in a great position now where I don't feel like I'm having to chase anything really; so therefore, I can through this injury, take my time to get fully better. But the point being is that leading to Augusta, I didn't have any competitive golf under my belt either, but came out with a good attitude, very fresh mentally, and it worked out for me.
Obviously like I said then, there's two ways it can go. You can either be a little bit rusty or you can be very fresh mentally -- being tournament sharp. So this week, the excitement of playing again, is that going to out weigh the fact that could be a little bit rusty. But it worked out well at Augusta and hopefully I can create the same sort of positive thoughts this week.

Q. What you did at Augusta, given the fact that you couldn't have been fit, was that down to mental strength, or what was it that carried you through that week?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, maybe. Obviously a lot of adrenaline going on that week, as well.
But I certainly worked hard that week. I didn't over-practise. I sort of, you know, I played my golf. I didn't do too much practising after my round. I went back to the house that we were staying at and I had my physio, Cam, with me there as well, doing a lot of treatment, a lot of exercises, a lot of stretching. That's really what I've got to do now, the maintenance stuff to really keep on top of the problem. You know, with good maintenance, there shouldn't be a problem.

Q. You played it down quite a bit -- but was it that bad?
JUSTIN ROSE: Not really, I felt in decent shape. I still got a little tight but that's general tightness that most guys would feel. No, I was kind of surprised that the following week it flared up again. I don't know why that was; three-and-a-half-hour car journey to Hilton Head, I don't know what it was. There could be many reasons. Yeah, I was surprised it came back so soon.

Q. Have you got to be a lot more careful, simple things around the house, lifting furniture or whatever that you don't do that so much now?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, at the moment I'm not. Yeah, I think it's important. I think you tend to get injured not really on the golf course. It's more like, I don't know, it could be a suitcase. In fact, I think a lot of guys tend to get injured by training too much at the gym.
So there's definitely a fine balance you've got to find. I think for me it's very much just a simple maintenance program of core stability and stretching really. It's pretty boring but you've got to keep on top of it. It's a very low level effort type of work out. It's keeping the small muscles strong that support you.

Q. What have you made of the difference of opinion, shall we way, between your coach and ex-coach?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, to be honest, certainly we've looked at both sides to see if there's any truth there. But obviously Nick and I believe that, you know, I'm swinging the club in a much more efficient manner. I think possibly I've slightly, slightly altered my setup to keep it a little bit softer on my body. So, you know, to a certain extent, taken a little of it on board, but certainly we're very happy with the course that we're following really.
But yeah, we looked at it and said, well, you know, is there any relevance or merit to this, and I think as I said, a little bit, we slightly softened the setup but that's about it.

Q. Have you spoken to David at all?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I haven't spoken to him for a good two or three weeks. But he sort of puts a call into me occasionally; "How you doing; how's the back." We're still obviously very good friends. From my point of view, and also from Nick's point of view and from Lead's point of view, I'm sure there's really not a problem. Certainly from my point of view I'm staying out of it. (Laughter).

Q. With all of the problems you've had, it would have been very easy to stay in America. What was it that drew you back here this week?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, firstly, it's a great tournament itself. It's a tournament I've grown up watching as a kid. It's a tournament that really is, I guess, on the hit list of tournaments that I really want to win one day.
But then on the other hand as well, treatment-wise, Anthony Jacobowski is a guy whose treated me for a similar problem five years ago, and he seemed to get me better pretty quickly. So I have a bit of confidence in him obviously. I thought, well, it works really well, come back, see Anthony, hopefully get fit, play the PGA. It was a nice fit, really. My goal was to get ready for this week by coming back two weeks ago.

Q. It's been a very positive decision to go on the U.S. Tour, and this type of event, would it whet the appetite to play more European Tour events at some stage in the future?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I'm certainly going to attempt to get my 11 events here in Europe this year. I think the way my schedule is going to work out, after this I'm obviously going to focus on the U.S. Open, the Open Championship, the World Golf Championships and the US PGA, and then come into September, hopefully play a few events in September, October, to get my numbers, to get up to my 11.
So, yeah, I'm making that commitment to play a little bit more this year as I said would I when I got back into the Top-50 in the world. Yeah, there's no doubt, you come to this event and you realize that obviously the European Tour has got amazing things happening. There's no doubt about that.

Q. It must gladden your heart to be able to reel off a list like the U.S. Open, World Golf Championships events; whereas 18 events ago you were having to play minor events because you were not getting into those. You must be pleased with the way your game has moved on?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it's in a nice position where I feel like I'm not having to chase my tail. That's what I was alluding to earlier about my scheduling. I can be slightly more selective; and therefore when you do play, the idea is you play better because you're fresher and that in turn keeps helping your World Ranking. Whereas, if you're always chasing to get into the Top-50, I've tended to play more and more and more, and then you tend to play -- the average tends to be not quite as good and therefore your World Ranking suffers. It kind of can be a vicious circle, but once you're in there, it's nice to be able to target these certain events and then the trick is to obviously play well in them.

Q. The Tour will be very glad to have you back, but they were talking last night at the dinner, O'Grady and Michael Smurfit, about the lure of America for our players and how it could harm the Tour. Now we just had Vijay in saying it's all about money; if there was more money over here, they wouldn't bother to go to America. What do you think it would take to have players staying here more?
JUSTIN ROSE: For me it's the ease of traveling really is a big part of why American players are so comfortable in America. Obviously of course, they are playing for a lot of money every week. But it's the ease of traveling with your family, the ease of that just that and logistically really, I think that's probably the biggest draw for them.
So in terms of The European Tour, I think the more -- it's going to be interesting with the FedExCup and obviously how that plays out. There's going to be certain areas, times of the year I think where the European Tour can really capitalise on the fact of a slightly shorter season in America. And I think the easier you can make those times of year to play logistically, I think that's probably when you have the best chance of getting a good, international field for sure.
So I think basically it's a recap. I just think the PGA Tour is so easy to play in terms of, you know, short flights, no jet-lag, all those sorts of things. I think that's what keeps -- that's what makes the American players very content just to stay there.

Q. What did you learn from the way the Masters finished for you?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I think just really what I learned that week was certainly how comfortable I felt in that situation, which you can tell yourself or you can believe that when the time comes, I'm going to feel great.
But until you actually are in the moment there with a chance to win on Sunday, you don't quite know how you're going to react, and I actually surprise myself at how much I was able to enjoy the moment and how calm I felt and how confident I felt and how much sort of belief I had I suppose. I think only when you're really in that moment do you actually find out I guess what you're made of or what's going on or what you need to improve on.
So for me that was the biggest learning curve that, hey, actually I'm getting really close to feeling or believing that I can do this. So for me that was the most valuable part of the week.
The other side was I think just the turnaround was amazing. I basically got to the same sort of start as I did in '04 in the third round, and I shoot an 81 on Sunday. And this year, I managed to with just a little bit more of a calm feeling inside and not panicking, I managed to get my round back and so I think that was just a little bit of experience coming through. And then you learn obviously not to panic and to just sort of reevaluate the round and reevaluate your goals.
So, yeah, I think those -- everything I've learned seemed to come through that week. But my internal feeling is what I was most happy with really.

Q. Is there anything that when you reviewed the final round, is there anything that you beat yourself up about? Tiger always talks about minimising his mistakes and turning doubles into singles. Anything you look back and thought you could have saved a shot?
JUSTIN ROSE: My whole thought that week was everybody is going to make mistakes and the key is to not compound the areas, and certainly I'd done that really well all week. And on Sunday, yeah, that essentially probably cost me the tournament, turning my doubles into singles. Obviously that's it really.

Q. Were the doubles because you were trying to force, instead of settle for bogey, trying to think you could still salvage it?
JUSTIN ROSE: That course, literally the first hole, the shot I hit in there, you shouldn't be going to that flag. I slightly pulled it five yards on to the flag, but it was an inch or two from being 12 feet, but that's that course. You just can't -- that's the price you pay for taking on the wrong shot at the right time; although I didn't do that, I actually just pulled it a little bit.
Certainly I think from the edge of the green, you should be realizing this is an impossible up-and-down and try and make your five. Obviously it's the first hole of the day, maybe you're trying to get out of there with a four. So, yeah, there are a couple of situations -- but that's the kind of golf course; you find yourself in the wrong spot and a bogey is still a challenge. And I found myself in a couple of those situations really. I was around the green in regulation on all occasions but I was in the wrong spot and almost couldn't hit the green with my pitch shots.
The point is, yeah, you can't leave yourself in those spots at Augusta.

Q. Knowing you from that Masters experience and now to this tournament this week, what will it take to win a tournament like this, to actually win the tournament?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think it's the same as any week really. You've just got to go out there and take it shot by shot. For me I think the challenge this week is going to be my concentration and my focus and I felt like there's been a lot going on this week. Obviously a lot of faces that I haven't seen for a long time, a lot of catching up with people, a lot of distractions. So it's been a very busy week.
So I think for me the key is to really try and now get into the tournament pretty much as of today and certainly into tomorrow, just really trying to focus in on what my job is out there, which is to go and play well. For me it's sort of like drawing a line in the sand of, well, okay, now all that is out of the way; now let's get down to the serious business. The better I can do that, the better my chance of winning.

Q. Just going back to the lure of America, do you feel any sense of responsibility to the game as a whole, the profile of an international player to play outside of America and does that apply to your peers as well?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think so. I certainly think obviously, yeah, the more ahead of your position in the game, the more responsibility you have.
Michael Campbell last night was talking about after the U.S. Open, he got some note from Jack Nicklaus, I believe, about giving back to the game etc., etc., and he was talking about some of the projects he's got going last night. So I suppose the higher you do get up in the game, the bigger your responsibility to get the game grow in areas that are important to you. And certainly The European Tour has been a tour that is and has been very good to me. Hopefully the better I become, the more responsibility comes.
For the last two or three years, I've had to be kind of single-minded in terms of I'm not in position to be able to putt anybody else first. I need to put myself first at a certain time in your career. But there are going to be times in your career where you're going to have the luxury of trying to give back, and certainly I feel like I'm sort of getting towards that stage where anything Top-50 in the world, I think you have some responsibility to do your best to play both tours as a European.

Q. When are you next in Europe?
JUSTIN ROSE: Probably towards the end of the year I think after the FedExCup finishes.

Q. Apart from the Open.
JUSTIN ROSE: Apart from the Open, obviously.
STEVEN FRANKLIN: Thank you very much, Justin. Good luck this week.

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