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October 10, 2007

Justin Rose


GRAEME HAMLETT: Justin, welcome to the HSBC World Match Play. It's good to see you, great to be here this week?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it's such an exciting event and it's great to be part of the field. Certainly an event I watched as a kid, see everybody else winning the tournament and to be part of the field; I played in 2002 and really enjoyed the experience.
And obviously for me with the new qualification criteria, it's a nice reward for playing well in the majors this year, getting into this event, and that's certainly one of the reasons why I wanted to play well in the majors was to gain entry into this event.
GRAEME HAMLETT: In 2002 you won four times, this year, you've played superbly in the Majors and were second here in May - what would you say the difference has been between then and now?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think I'm playing more on the world stage now. I think 2002 definitely was a great year but obviously I was playing in Europe and sort of where I won my tournaments was South Africa, and I felt comfortable, and in England I felt comfortable. But since then, I feel like I'm performing well around the world, and I guess that just comes with experience.
But, yeah, I'm playing at a high level now obviously in the majors and World Golf Championships.
GRAEME HAMLETT: And you were unlucky in 2002 here in this event.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think I remember being four or five down to Vijay last time I played here, at lunch, three or four down, something like that. I definitely had an uphill battle and really just chipped away at it through the afternoon period and got myself back to, I want to say 1-down -- anyway. I had like a 3- or 4-footer to extend the game going into extra holes, and the putt horseshoed out for me. It was bittersweet.
Obviously it's never nice to lose, but at the same time being 4-down against Vijay could have been an 8 & 6 quite easily. But I dug deep and hung in there and managed to make a game of it.
That's what you have to realise this week is 36-hole matches are very different from 18-hole matches and 3- or 4-up is not a lead you want to be possessing.
So you need to keep being positive, and it was a good learning curve from that perspective.

Q. Is there any specific match you remember watching as a youngster?
JUSTIN ROSE: It's funny; I don't seem to be able to single out one game in particular. But I seem to have memories obviously of Faldo and I think Greg Norman. I remember being one of those kids who stands on the back of the ropes shouting for golf balls. I remember just being sort of bowled over when Norman came through, a little kid, struck at the size of the guy and you're in awe of him, as well, so that's one of my memories.
Yeah, I just have sort of vague memories of a lot of the players, and obviously that's one that sticks out for me.

Q. Could you talk about the match with Vijay Singh, were you quite scared of him or in awe of him or was there any conversation?
JUSTIN ROSE: At the point I was playing well and I was having a good year. I guess I realised I was up against it, against a world-class player like Vijay, and I think that's why I was so pleased with the way I hung in there with the game. At the time I think I was pleased with my effort, and now I don't think that would be so much of a consolation.
But, yeah, at the time, I certainly wouldn't have been as comfortable in my own skin playing a game like that than I would be now.

Q. Did you get a ball or hat off Greg or Nick?
JUSTIN ROSE: No. Like I said, they just bowled through, one of those guys that like, you know, big and strong and scary, yeah.

Q. How old were you?
JUSTIN ROSE: I reckon it could have been 10 or 11 years old.

Q. Is that why you take more time to sign autographs and interact with the fans?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I guess I do realise that when I was a kid - but they were making as much contact with the crowd as much as you can. There are times where you need to take care of business and do your thing.
But everyone is out here for a fun day, including the players. Everyone is out here to be entertained and to have a good day out. You know, a very small part -- well not a very small part, but part of your responsibility is to realise that as a professional golfer. There's a time and a place for it. If it's in between your game, in between your lunch, second half of the second round, you need to take care of what you need to do to take care of business which needs to come first and foremost.
But after the game when you have the luxury to relax, I think that's when it's important to realise that there are other people out on the golf course.

Q. What would it mean to win at Wentworth, especially after this year's BMW PGA Championship?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think winning at Wentworth would be certainly special and it would be a highlight of the year, or even a career, just due to living so close and having a lot of family and friends around the area. Any time that's the case, it makes it a fun place to play and I would imagine a fun night to win. I imagine Sunday night would be a good night should that occur.
Looking back on the BMW PGA Championship, I didn't have that much time to dwell on it. Actually losing the playoff in an event you would dearly love to win is obviously disappointing. But at the same time, coming here a month later gives me confidence that I played well in. In May was the first time I had seen the new course with the changes, and I liked it and felt like it suited me.
Yeah, obviously that's a positive coming into this week rather than a negative.

Q. The course will be a little softer at this time of year, so that should help?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, 2002 was the one time I had played here in the autumn, but my caddie, Mick, knows Wentworth better than anybody and I think the course does play a lot longer at this time of year.
But at the same time, the scoring is always incredibly low, and the greens are soft and I think due to the fact that there's only 16 players out there, the greens are incredibly smooth. The guys tend to make a lot of birdies.
So while the course plays long, I still think it plays a lot more tightly -- in May it can get a little bit fiery and bouncy; and with a field of 156 players, the greens often don't roll quite as smooth as they will this week.

Q. Can you attack more playing matchplay?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, there's a different feeling to playing match play for sure. And sometimes it seems to bring out better golf, just for whatever. I think that's because you know the worst you can do on any hole is go 1-down. It's not like you can make a double-bogey or triple-bogey, so sometimes there's a little more freedom possibly.
So, yeah, I guess that would be the reason why. Sometimes you look at Ryder Cups and you think guys tend to play out of their skin, and I think it's largely -- obviously the adrenaline and all those sorts of things, but you do have a certain freedom in match play; one mistake and you don't want to make one, but it's only one shot.

Q. Do you feel you achieved your goals this year?
JUSTIN ROSE: My goals are: To play well win in the majors and various goals within the majors, and I felt like I achieved all of those; to get myself Top 20 in the world golf ranking, and I've done that now. And I guess the last thing on my list would be to win a tournament obviously. I've had three seconds this year, two being close. And then finishing eight back at the NEC but that felt like a bonus second rather than close to winning the tournament. But yeah, certainly what I would like now, a piece of silverware would certainly cap off a good year for me.

Q. Chance to win Order of Merit.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I'd like to think -- yeah, certainly that is right. That is very doable now. Hopefully if it's not this week or next week; it's the week after. I'm certainly moving in the right direction. That's certainly a nice mini-goal now that's presented itself now halfway through the season.

Q. What do you feel you need to do now to step up that little bit more in the majors and win one, as well as win consistently?
JUSTIN ROSE: I want to say not much. I think the consistency that I've had this year -- I think the experience that I've had adds to my self-belief and that ultimately becomes the difference especially in majors. That's where you get tested the most. And I think my game has backed up pretty well, obviously when I'm playing well obviously. I feel like I've learned this year how to prepare well for the majors, and I'm going to try and use the same formula that I had this year, next year.
Yeah, I feel like I'm getting down to that very small percentage now between winning and losing. Obviously a lot of that is just purely experience and maturing and simple as that. And game-wise, I don't really think there's been too much that's been getting me down. So just keep playing the same process that I've been having and, you know, like I said, just a little bit more self-belief that I think I've learned and gained this year, hopefully things will go better.

Q. Are you playing more than you'd like to fit in your 11 events in Europe, and how have you fitted in playing both Tours?
JUSTIN ROSE: You know, I think really the way my schedule sets up now, it's more doable than ever. You can focus on the PGA Tour January to September, generally and obviously it's nice to come back to Wentworth and maybe an event around the Open. But generally you can focus on the PGA Tour January to September. The way I believe it, you can't spread yourself too thinly. You need to give yourself the opportunity to do enough on both tours.
I guess this year I proved to myself that if I play well in the right events, that means I can do well on The European Tour, as obviously the Order of Merit shows here.
But, yeah, the new schedule, it works in my favour. It gives me the opportunity to come back here and play some events I really enjoy in September to get my 11 in Europe. Injury-wise, I missed some events I wanted to play. So hopefully next year it will only be easier than it is this year.
Yeah, this time of year, I feel like I am playing more than I may want to, but that's part of the requirement that you need to fulfill.

Q. Will you try and reduce the amount of tournaments you're playing, or still play in 31-32 events?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think if things are going well, obviously it's easy to have a schedule that you pick and choose your events. That's certainly what I would like to be doing next year, definitely. Outside of the Top-50 in the world, you feel like you have to play more to earn points to get inside the Top-50, and it almost goes the other way because we know the World Rankings work on an average basis.
This year I feel my consistency has gotten better and my quality, my average has gone up. I think I've certainly played better because of it. So I need to learn -- and actually I stumbled across that through injury this year; that playing less I feel suited me.
When I look back to my amateur career, there were other four or five events that were significant, and I always tried to peak for those; and I felt like I had a good ability and that I always found a way to do that. This is the first year I have done that as a professional, but it happened by accident more than anything else. I need to learn from what worked this year and take it into next year.

Q. It's a busy close to the season for you?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, this part of the season I think is like that generally for most guys and certainly when it comes, it's nice for me to do that to get my 11 in Europe, which obviously has become a goal of mine since moving back into the Top-50 in the world.
So, yeah, there's parts of the season where you need to just accept that and you've got to put the work in, and simple as that.

Q. You mentioned the Order of Merit; are you surprised where you are in the rankings now?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it didn't even cross my mind at the start of the season. I wasn't sure if I thought it was possible to play 11 events and win the Order of Merit. It's certainly going to be a bonus should I go on to do it. But I think I have the luxury of feeling right now like it would just be a bonus.
Yeah, as I say I'm not preoccupied in trying to finish off the season well. Yeah, this week is a huge week for me. Obviously Portugal is an event I haven't really played in for a long, long time, but I call that a classic European Tour event and I'm going to enjoy that; and Volvo Masters is a great event.
So I have three really good events to get me excited about, and if I can go ahead and win one of those, then hopefully things might go in my favour. Yeah, it's great to have these things to keep you going at the schedule at this point in the year. Obviously with the goals and opportunities it's easy to get up for these events and not get tired, and use the adrenaline and excitement to push you through and I certainly feel that way now.

Q. You could go up against Padraig?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, that's one of things that could swing the Order of Merit, sure.

Q. You could win the order of merit without actually winning this season!
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, that's crazy, really. That just shows -- that just shows that my consistency has been so good this year, I think through nine events I played, my worst finish is 12th. Yeah, I'm very, very happy with that so far.
So obviously just trying to keep things going and keep doing what I have been doing, trust that what I have been doing is working, and you know, what we were talking about earlier, what I feel like I need to change for next year is really to the too much.

Q. With the time out with your bad back earlier this year, have you had any apprehensions about playing 36 holes a day for four days if you keep winning?
JUSTIN ROSE: I'll be taking care of myself for sure. I'll be making sure that I'm keeping loose, stretching.
Yeah, obviously this week is one of the weeks where it becomes a physical examination rather than just, you know, the mental examination that most weeks are. I think physically most guys can get through a pretty heavy playing schedule, four or five weeks in a row. But 36 a day around the West Course certainly becomes more of a fitness test.
No, I've been feeling very good in my back, and I've got some good support here this week and I have people to get me through should I run into any trouble, so it shouldn't be a problem.

Q. You were pictured wearing an England rugby shirt and kissing the red-rose - do you have any links with the team at all?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think I really enjoy sports at the highest level. Whether it's World Cups or things like that, I think you always get behind your country and for me it's fun.
Matt Dawson is a good friend of mine, and I get the inside scoop from him to understand a little bit more about what really is going on. Yeah, I mean, we're all patriotic now and that's the way it should be.

Q. Even though you've got start and stripes on your jumper?
JUSTIN ROSE: Can't answer that, can I? (Laughter).
Q. What do you think the score will be on Saturday?
Who are we playing? Yeah, I think beating Australia, that was the final right there. There's enough Aussies on Tour to give you earache for a year, so it was nice. To me that was the final there and then so the rest of the tournament is going to be a bonus. I think with New Zealand going out as well, we've got a fighting chance now which is maybe something we didn't necessarily believe we had at the start of the tournament.

Q. Do you think you've got one of the hardest first round matches?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, actually, I do. Certainly there will be no underestimating going on. Hunter, I think especially coming off the Presidents Cup and having some match-play experience under his belt, and probably being on his game after that week, I think obviously America has pulled off a great win over them. Yeah, he's had a good year and no doubt it will be a tough game.

Q. Have you played with him before?
JUSTIN ROSE: I've played with him a few times just in various tournaments. I think he's one of the best-ball strikers on the PGA Tour, and he's probably one of the guys I would say has got the potential to become one of the best players in the world, you know, definitely. He's got good pedigree as an amateur and he's beginning to show that as a pro now.

Q. Where were you at this time last year?
JUSTIN ROSE: In America probably playing one of the season-ending events probably trying to break inside the Top-30 in the Money List probably at this time of year last year. I forget which event was being stacked up against it.

Q. How important was your win in Australia last November? Did it feel like the start of the new season or the end of one?
JUSTIN ROSE: Actually it felt like a longer season for me. I felt like I had a few chances to win towards the end of the season in America and I felt like I was playing well and I had not taken those opportunities. And then to win in Australia, it made Christmas very nice. I felt like I could relax a little bit and you know, Australia was a good test for me. I started the final round two in front, and for me personally, I felt like I needed to win that event for my own confidence. That was big for me, no doubt about it. And a bit of relief, as well, definitely. First time I had won in quite a few years and that feeling was good. I feel like that settled me down to some extent for this year.
GRAEME HAMLETT: Thanks very much and good luck this week.

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