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April 10, 2008

Justin Rose


LARRY PUGH: Terrific day, congratulations. Open it up for questions.

Q. What was it like to be 2-over after four and come in with a 68?
JUSTIN ROSE: That was a bonus really. I think probably being 2-over after four, maybe wouldn't have expected to have shot 68, but obviously I wasn't really thinking about my score. I think that's probably the reason why I managed to obviously turn it around. I was trying to stay patient and play shot for shot.
And obviously, especially when you open up like that in the first round of a tournament, you just have to remind yourself how far there is to go and obviously that kind of patience paid off for me. I hit a great shot into 6 and holed a slippery little putt and that really settled me down.

Q. What is it about the Masters and especially the first round of the Masters that seems to bring out the best in you?
JUSTIN ROSE: I don't know exactly. I obviously work hard before it, get myself up for it and it's obviously an important tournament. I think the early part of the year you set your schedule up well around it, peaking for this event and I feel that I was kind of doing that.
I think it was a matter of I knew my game was getting close and the extra atmosphere and adrenaline and nerves, that sort of brought out the best in me.

Q. Could you just sort of comment on the scoring and the conditions out there? Nobody torched it and you somehow strung four birdies together in the middle which probably won't happen the rest of the week. The numbers, what seemed like ideal scoring conditions, it must have been a tougher golf course than what we would perceive?
JUSTIN ROSE: Exactly. The greens were relatively receptive, which I guess is a very wise thing to do on the first day to keep the golf course on the easier side of tough and just to see how the guys score.
Obviously 4-under is a good round of golf, and certainly, you know, it's stacking up well now today.
But I think the golf course is right where they want it. They can take it whichever direction they would like. If they want to create some more birdies, they can do that and if they want to make par a good score, that could be done, so I think it's probably perfect right now.

Q. For all of the talk of the golf course playing long and being a bomber's week, we are seeing a lot of mid-level hitters there; what's your take on that?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think Zach Johnson disproved that theory last year, that's the way I saw it.
For me today, I'm actually knocking on the 8th hole today, which is a surprise. I didn't think I was capable of that, so that was good.
You know, my wedge play was good today. My iron play was good. For me, whenever I play well here at Augusta, it's been my mid-iron play, my 7-iron, my 6-iron. I seem to have a lot of those sorts of clubs into the greens, and when I'm swinging those well, I tend to create a lot of birdie chances.
You know, I think Zach really just proves there is a different strategy to play on this golf course I think that sometimes being a shorter hitter, you can take a lot of the trouble out of play if you accept that the par 5s are three-shot holes.

Q. When you see Sandy Lyle's name on the leaderboard, what were you thinking when you saw that?
JUSTIN ROSE: I was thinking that a good friend who came out to watch me is Sandy Lyle's hero and he was probably more happy that Sandy was 3-under than I was 4-under. I don't see his name now -- he's 1-under? Great round of golf, fantastic.

Q. Can you remember anything from 88?
JUSTIN ROSE: His dance, his little tip-toe dance -- obviously the great shot he hit out of the bunker that rolled back down the slope and his tartan pants and his PING Pal 4 putter.

Q. Do you play a little more cautiously in the first round and sort of get a feel for things than you might, say, second, third or fourth to get the lay of the land, to maybe jab, jab, jab, before you start throwing a home run?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I seem to throw the home run early.
Obviously I've gone out there today with a really relaxed frame of mind and that's obviously what I've got to recreate the rest of the week. I've gone out there without putting pressure on myself and I've gone out there relaxed, positive and it paid off for me. The trick is you sit there now, top of the leaderboard up there and hopefully that's what I've learned the last few years is that there's 54 holes left, and you know, you've got to stay in the moment right until, let's say, the back nine Sunday. You have to see how you stack up and maybe reevaluate things.
That's the work for me today. I just got off to a bad start and I wasn't really too concerned with my score and my position in the Tournament, etc., just kept trying to plug away.

Q. Can you take us through the four birdies in a row?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I hit a 7-iron, I think it was playing 168 yards with a downhill to the par 3, 6th to about five feet and made that putt.
Then I hit driver, 6-iron to the 7th hole and made a 15-footer.
Hit driver, 3-wood to the front of the 8th green and made a good 2-putt from about 45 feet.
And I hit driver, 9-iron to probably 20 feet on the 9th hole and made a good putt there.
12 I hit it to four feet with 8-iron and made birdie.
13, I wedged it to three feet and made birdie.

Q. As many times as you've been at the top of the leaderboard, is it still exciting to see your name up there after the first round, or is it just commonplace now?
JUSTIN ROSE: No, I think it's still exciting just to be playing here at Augusta. I think that's the magic about this place is that you never tire of it and it can be your 20th year and you drive up Magnolia Lane as if it's your first time. It's like, wow, you still get that special feeling and obviously that's helping me get really fired up to play some good golf.
You certainly never get tired of seeing your name up there, for sure, that's exciting.

Q. You've had good days before; how different is the Justin Rose of today to the guy who had those good days before?
JUSTIN ROSE: That's a good question. I think obviously probably the score that I churned out today was a lot more through course management, strategy, experience rather than just hitting great shots, you know, which it may have been in 2004, I just went out there and played great golf and obviously scored well; whereas today, I probably just managed my game better to shoot the same score, or to shoot -- to sort of get up there at the top of the leaderboard.
Hopefully I'm more of a consistent player. I think that's what last year proved to me. My consistency was great all year, and last year I turned into more of a four-round player, my consistency was player and I had a lot of top finishes, and you can only do that by putting four good rounds together.

Q. You and Tiger are the only two guys to finish in the Top-12 in all of the majors last year. You piled up a ton of Top 15s on Tour last year and this year, you've done very well. What is it to take the next step? Obviously that's the million dollar question, but you've obviously beaten that to death the last couple of years in your head.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think I have to remind myself I've won two golf tournaments in the last 18 months, albeit on The European Tour. Sometimes it's not quite as recognized over here but still good wins. I think I won a tournament with the European Tour Order of Merit on the line, possibly more pressure than I ever played and came through and did the business there.
I don't feel like I've got to do anything different. Keep giving yourself good chances. You know, I feel like, obviously, this year, for example, I haven't quite putted as well as I did last year and that's maybe why I finished 15th every week instead of having a chance to win.
Yeah, the more times you're up there, the more comfortable you begin to feel and the easier it becomes and the more you come to win, it's a snowball effect. Hopefully this year I give myself chances and last year what I learned will help me finish the job off a little better.

Q. How pleased were you for your friend, Ian Poulter for his hole-in-one?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I was on the 5th fairway and heard a huge roar go up and I knew there was a hole-in-one on 16 and I glanced over on 16 tee and I saw Poulter striding up the fairway all excited, and then I saw his name creep up on the leaderboard on 6, so I had a little smile to myself.
It was kind of funny. I played I think early last year, and I was on the leaderboard straightaway and he said -- well -- because he has a picture of me somewhere that he's hitting a shot and my name is at the top of the leaderboard. So when he said, when you get to 8, you'll hit a shot off there and I'll be at the top of the leaderboard. A bit of banter but I was quite pleased for him.

Q. The fact that no European player has not won any Masters for years, is it a motivating point for you?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think it is and it isn't. I think there's enough pressure without having to pile all of the pressure of a whole continent on your shoulders. I think we are all out there for ourselves. (Laughter).
I don't mean that badly, but I mean, I'm out there because I want to win the Tournament. I think it would be great. Obviously Harrington broke the duck, if you like, for a European winning a major, and hopefully that will start the trend a little bit more in our favor.
It would be nice, because obviously historically, the 80s and 90s, we had a great run here, the Europeans.

Q. That trip that the three of you made a couple of weeks ago is beginning to look as though it's paid off. Is there anything more that you can say about that? These are three remarkable scores.
JUSTIN ROSE: Myself, Trevor Immelman and Ian Poulter came up here from Orlando for two days, Friday and Saturday, two weeks ago. And I think what it did was it just took the pressure off the practice days this week. I didn't do more than nine holes a day. Tuesday I didn't actually play the course, just went around with some wedges and stuff. So I felt like I wasn't chasing my tail trying to learn everything this week, and therefore you come into the Tournament -- I was itching to go from Monday afternoon. I was just trying to hold myself back and not get too excited too early.
LARRY PUGH: Justin thank you very much and good luck the rest of the way.

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