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September 6, 2007

Justin Rose


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Justin Rose in. Justin No. 23 on the FedExCup points list, a torrid start for you, eight birdies in your first 11 holes, finished with a 65. Maybe talk a little bit about the start and the finish and then we'll open it up for some questions.
JUSTIN ROSE: Sure, obviously got off to a dream start today. Hit a few shots close, hit it like to about six feet on the first hole, three feet on the third hole, three feet on the fourth hole, so that was nice to have tap-ins to start with. Actually had about five feet for birdie on the sixth hole, which I made, so I'm 4-under through six without having made a putt, which was nice.
Rolled in a 15-footer on 7, good up-and-down on 8, about a four- or five-footer for par, rolled in maybe a 35-, 40-foot putt on 9 to get it to 6-under. I didn't realize I was 29, which is always nice for nine holes.
And then I made another putt on 10 from about 20 feet. So it was a nice combination of a few putts made and a few close iron shots. Yeah, obviously it's always disappointing when you're 8-under par through 11 and you finish 6-under, but at the same time, I think you've got to realize it's certainly not an easy golf course. There were some tough holes coming in, and I felt like I was -- yeah, a little bit in between clubs, which was funny.
The front nine I had good yardages, I was able to hit aggressive shots, and on the back nine I felt like the wind was gusting and I didn't feel like I had a good number, so therefore you have to be slightly more defensive. That's how I felt coming in.

Q. Did you feel like you were going to shoot about a 56 there for a while?
JUSTIN ROSE: No, just 59 (smiling). No, to be honest -- when you do play well and you stay in the moment and you're playing shot for shot, you're not getting ahead of yourself, and I was doing all those things today. That's one of the reasons why I was able to play well.

Q. Did you think about 59 at all?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think it briefly came across my mind on the 11th hole, but not -- no, I mean, I never really got excited about it from that point of view. I knew it was a par 71, which is always a little easier than a par 72 obviously. But no, it was -- like I said, I did a good job today of just one shot at a time, and that was my mental focus today.

Q. Is it easier or harder when there aren't a lot of spectators out on the course? It seemed like there weren't a whole lot of people following you.
JUSTIN ROSE: Sometimes it's harder because you kind of notice -- let's say you notice more movement or you notice the cameras more. When there's a lot of people out there everybody just fades into a background, and sometimes that's the best situation to be in. It's either best to have nobody out there or thousands. Sometimes a couple hundred is kind of -- or a handful if you like, is sometimes the hardest to play in front of because you tend to notice a lot more in that situation.

Q. Were you conscious that Ryder Cup qualifications started this week? Any thought to getting off to a good start?
JUSTIN ROSE: I was aware of it, for sure. I was aware of it, to be honest. But at the same time, this week I've been really trying to take the pressure off myself. I think just get myself into a really relaxed frame of mind. I think last week for whatever reason I didn't feel all that prepared and ready to play, and I felt a little bit frustrated on the golf course last week. So this week I've really tried to get back to that relaxed frame of mind that's been working for me well throughout the season.

Q. Can you talk about some of the course conditions that were out there as far as all the rain we got last night? Did it sort of help in your approach shots as far as how close you were able to get?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think the greens were obviously receptive, which is why the guys were able to shoot pretty deep, low scores today, considering there was a decent breeze out there. I was out the second group, so on the front nine the greens were rolling perfectly, and obviously on the back nine the greens having had a little bit of traffic on them, they weren't quite as smooth. But still, the greens were rolling nicely today.
Yeah, we played preferred lies today, which I realized after five holes I hadn't used it. There was really no need for it, but I suppose they weren't 100 percent sure that if the round was interrupted and there was loads of rain, then once the guys had to go back out -- once the guys started you can't amend that rule. I think that was the reason for preferred lies today, although it wasn't necessary as it turned out.

Q. In a tournament with no cuts, does it change the way you approach it from day one?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think it can do. I think what I've been doing very, very well -- I missed my first cut in about a year last week. Obviously I've been playing my golf without the cut being a factor or without the cut being an issue. So it shouldn't really make a difference.
Obviously it's still a four-round golf tournament every time you play, that's the mentality. The first round is as important as the last round. I think if you get off to a bad start, then it's great, if there's no cut. Then it's great. You can say I've got 68 more holes here or 60 holes to work my way back into the tournament. There's less pressure to get back to a decent number by 36 holes.

Q. You had the second best scoring in the majors this year next to Tiger. What do you attribute to elevating your game in golf's biggest tournaments?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think I prepared well for them. I think I singled them out this year as goals of mine, and I focused hard on the majors and I prepared hard for the majors, and it was nice to get that reward, really. It was nice to know that when I do put my mind to something and that I do work -- if I do try to peak for a week -- this year was nice that I actually was able to do that.

Q. On that note of peaking for a week, does it change how you approach these Playoffs, that it's over four weeks as opposed to four days with a regular tournament?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think this week I've made a conscious effort to rest more, definitely. I think for whatever reason the Friday start in Boston upset my normal routines and rhythm, what have you, and I felt a little bit -- it was funny, I felt tired but underprepared. So this week I've gone back to the routine that works well for me and also rested up a little bit more, which I think is important because it's a marathon, not a sprint.

Q. Just to follow up on preparing for majors, what changes did you make and how did you prepare differently?
JUSTIN ROSE: I took a week off before the majors, and I really sort of -- I visited the venue -- actually except for the U.S. PGA. But I went and prepared specifically for the types of shots and such that were going to be required that week. Well, I basically identified what was going to be required that week and then spent a week before the major really working hard on those sorts of shots.

Q. Is it difficult for you to play four straight weeks like this?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, to be honest, I used to do it a lot. I think this year -- last year I think was the first year I identified that four weeks in a row is tough for me. I short of have a mental shelf life of three weeks where I feel fresh and at my best, and four weeks -- you can play well four weeks in a row, but sometimes by the fourth week you're hoping to play well rather than knowing you're going to play well. So that is a tough part of a schedule, for sure.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Justin, thank you. Play well.

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