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May 21, 2008

Justin Rose


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Justin, welcome back, you've been admiring the pictures of Anders Hansen all over the media centre. I take it you would like it to be you next year.
JUSTIN ROSE: I would like it, but obviously he thoroughly deserved it.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Your thoughts on a week ahead, coming home and a big tournament for you.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yes, very much. So obviously the BMW PGA, it's my home event, really, if there is such a thing. It's the event, I've said this many times but clearly came to it as a kid. Yeah there's something special about Wentworth for me. I feel like I do get a really good support from the crowd and it's a really fun place for me to play with lots of friends, family in the crowd as well.

Q. Do you feel more fired up after losing in the playoff last year, to win it this year?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, losing the playoff last year, it's always been a dream of mine to win this tournament, and I think getting so close to doing it last year and not winning makes you want it even more, for sure.
But at the same time, yeah, I sort of come into this week obviously clearly wanting to win the tournament but also just I'm enjoying being back in England and hopefully using it as a bit of a kickstart to the rest of the season, as well.

Q. Has the season so far been a disappointment?
JUSTIN ROSE: Actually I guess results-wise it has not gone exactly according to plan, but there's been a lot of good things that have happened. It's the old adage, you often hear players say, they are close, they are close, and I feel like I'm getting close.
I feel like I've had a good few weeks now and I feel like I've got to the bottom of a lot of things. So I'm excited about the rest of the year. Obviously a good year can happen many, many ways. Last year for me it happened through great consistency. But a good year can also be one or two or three very good weeks, and you win one or two of the right tournaments, suddenly you've had a good year. I feel right now, I'm very positive about the remainder of the year.

Q. In the Q&A at the dinner last night, you alluded to the fact that you saw yourself playing more in Europe going forward now. Would you mind elaborating?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think obviously with The Race to Dubai and everything that's going on with that, it's an exciting time for European golf and it's something that I want to be a part of.
Obviously I haven't played in an event in Dubai and things like that in the past and that's something I'm keen to do. Basically I see that as, yeah, I'd like to support the events that are going to be based around The Race to Dubai.

Q. So what do you see your schedule shaping up to be?
JUSTIN ROSE: I don't want to throw it out right there right now. I don't really know right now.

Q. Would you say a couple more in Europe, a couple less in America?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I would say there's probably less. I probably won't add in more golf necessarily but maybe, yeah, especially for the first year of The Race to Dubai, focus more on the European side or get more of a balance maybe.

Q. You also were quite effective last night saying about ten years ago, you were a kid missing cuts. When you come back to a place like this, is that a time when you start to think that you've come a long way in a few short years or whatever?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think last night, it got me thinking about that. You know, not necessarily when I come to Wentworth and things like that but yeah, obviously winning The European Tour Order of Merit and last night I guess with it being represented to me, and having been to Birkdale last week; obviously maybe I was in that mind-set of just having been looking back, having gone to Birkdale.
So I guess being representative of the award, it did make me feel like, yeah, I've come a long way, and I felt like everything that had happened in the past was kind of water under the bridge by having got to this point in my career, yeah.

Q. Do you still have to be very careful of how much you play, both body-wise and to get the best out of yourself?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think body-wise, I really do feel like my body is in good shape right now. It's been reported here and there that I'm struggling, but the fact is, the last couple of weeks, just didn't play particularly good golf but certainly couldn't blame it on the back. I've been in good physical shape and I've been practising fully.
I think the key for me, I'm just someone who needs to be able to get away from the game, as well; so when I do come back to playing golf, I'm enthusiastic and patient and I'm mentally recharged.
I think this year, although I've taken time off from tournament golf, I haven't necessarily taken time off from golf. I've been back in Orlando and practising and working hard and really being a little bit more intense than I was maybe last year.
It's been a slight learning curve again this year in terms of, well, when I set out my schedule, obviously I clearly wanted to emulate some things that worked for me last year. But being healthy, the temptation is to go and work harder, and obviously you have to work hard at certain points, but I haven't quite gotten away from it this year.

Q. Would you have such a long winter break as you did this year again?
JUSTIN ROSE: I'm not sure I would really. I'm not sure I would. I think was something that I felt I had to do at the time and I'm sure that long break will stand me in good stead somewhere down the road, hopefully from now on through the rest of the year.
Obviously I did work hard on my fitness. I thought that was a priority for me at the end of last year, and I based my decision around the fact, yeah, last year, that I missed quite a lot of golf through injury; I didn't want that to happen again.

Q. Was last week's trip to Birkdale partly to get some homework done for The Open and to get the nostalgia out of the way, as well?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, definitely. I'm sure I'll have to answer quite a lot of questions on Birkdale but myself I wanted to go back and relive the memories and be able to just have a really casual couple of days of off and enjoy myself, and I really did do that. I thought it was a valuable trip, and obviously I gained a lot of information as well, and I was certainly having a good look around.
It was fun. I really enjoyed being back up there.

Q. Do you think the 17th green is a mistake?
JUSTIN ROSE: I don't think it's a mistake. I think with the prevailing wind, it's going to be a reachable par 5 and clearly a hole that you'll want to take advantage of.
I think it will be a mistake if pin placements are put on some spots that -- there are a cup of pins I'm sure the R&A will avoid. So I think that green is how you set it up. There's nothing wrong with the green itself with three or four of the pin placements I know they will use.

Q. What were you saying about in the winter, making a conscious effort -- are you setting specific distractions for yourself to take up new hobbies or anything like that?
JUSTIN ROSE: It's a good question. No, I haven't really setup any hobbies as such yet but I think it's a good thing to do to have other interests and get away from the game. I've just picked up a guitar for the first time and little things like that where you can just lose yourself for a couple hours or whatever it might be.
But I think also last year, I had a few little mini-holidays and went away for three days and a couple days here, a couple days there, and I think that made a difference. Like anything, it's just finding the time and really pencilling it in and doing it.

Q. What kind of music do you play on your guitar?
JUSTIN ROSE: I don't know even. Slash; Guns and Roses.

Q. What songs are you practising?
JUSTIN ROSE: I'm just learning the chords right now. Let's not get carried away. (Laughter).

Q. Do you sing along?
JUSTIN ROSE: Tone deaf with singing.

Q. Getting back to your back, didn't it go out sometime right after the Masters?
JUSTIN ROSE: I withdrew from Hilton Head but if I'm honest, I felt like that was a precautionary measure, as well. I felt like, yeah, got a little bit tight and what-have-you, but I was being very cautious there, if I'm honest. It wasn't a big drama, just a little blip and probably something every other golfer faces and never talks about. So it wasn't really a big deal at the time.

Q. Kept you out of action for a few days or a week?
JUSTIN ROSE: Basically I just went back, relaxed, iced it and by Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, I was kind of practising again.

Q. Why the guitar? Why not the piano or something else?
JUSTIN ROSE: Guitar you can travel with.

Q. But you've got your golf clubs already.
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I think you can get like little travel-sized guitars. Banjo. (Laughter)

Q. Get lessons from John Daly.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, exactly, set up a band.
No, I don't know, just I like the guitar. It's something I actually did learn as a kid when I was seven or eight years old, but kept nagging my dad for an electric guitar and he said no, not until you can play the acoustic. Found that a bit boring at the time.
Actually, no, my coach, Nick, plays guitar and also Anthony Jacobowski who looks after me, as well, plays the guitar and they have also been teaching me a little bit here and there.

Q. What are your other targets for the season? You obviously have other events coming up like The European Open and The Ryder Cup, as well.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, basically my goal right now is to get back to basics, not putting too much pressure on myself, and just really for the rest of the season come on. I haven't got off to the start I wanted in terms of my goal setting, so in a sense, I've taken a different track for the rest of the year and just really focusing on the things that I can control really; how disciplined I am in my practise and all these things. That's really where my mind is at right now, and I'm trying to take the results and all that stuff out of the equation for the time being.

Q. Talking about playing a couple more tournaments here, in conversation with players in America, are they deciding to do the same? Do you get the idea that others will copy?
JUSTIN ROSE: Actually, no, I really couldn't comment to be honest on that. Do you mean as of next year?

Q. Yes.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, to be honest with you, I haven't heard any talk or in terms of players deciding to go down that route but all I know is The European Tour has done a fantastic job of enticing the players and giving them the opportunity to play more and giving some very attractive rewards for doing so. From the Tour's perspective, that's all they can do, and from there it's all down to the players.

Q. Can you see perhaps adding one or two more over here?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think it makes perfect sense to. I think it's really, really exciting. Obviously with the Tour having an alliance with Leisurecorp and basically having a centre there in Dubai; I've always enjoyed playing in that part of the world, too, and it's somewhere that I haven't gone for quite some time.
I remember the end of 2006, I went off and played in Japan and I played in Australia and I kind of realised I missed the travelling, as well. I missed that sense of adventure as well, playing around the world rather than just playing all my golf in America. So from my perspective, it's exciting and I know that obviously the talk is of other players in the Top-50 being global players and it would be nice if they did kind of go down that route.
Like I said, I haven't really heard talk about it yet. It is too early really for players to be setting their schedule for next year. They may have stuff in the back of their mind, but it's not clear yet.

Q. Can you just talk about the differences between the two tours, if there's one that's more enjoyable, more pressure-filled than the other?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I think there's a lot of differences between the two tours, and I think obviously the PGA TOUR I think is a very easy tour to play logistically. Obviously you're only dealing with one country and very few time zones, clearly. And it's therefore very family-orientated. It's easy for the guys to travel with their families; and then therefore, it makes it slightly less sociable. Because if you've got your family with you, you tend to golf and do things as a family; whereas in Europe you tend to travel to far-off places where it's basically really difficult to travel on your own; therefore, you're with a whole bunch of single guys on their own, so you get together and have dinner together.
So I think that's the major difference I see. And I'm always asked to relate, and that's how I relate it to The Ryder Cup and the camaraderie or it appears that the European Team has more than the American team, and that's kind of how I sum it up.

Q. Are you for or against the possible raising of the minimum number of tournaments?
JUSTIN ROSE: Neither, really. I don't want to make a comment on that. Like I said, it's up to the Tour to give you -- well, they have done a great job of giving the players the opportunity to play for and if they do play for, there for they are going to be rewarded with obviously huge bonus pools and things like that.
They are obviously clearly giving the players a lot of incentive to play more and whether they force them to play more by upping the minimum is up to them, but all I know is they have done a great job in giving the players an opportunity.

Q. Is there a number at which, though, you would say there's no point of trying to play in Europe, if the minimum was up to 15 or 16 events in Europe, and with nine -- and counting the seven you play in the States, would that be too much?
JUSTIN ROSE: For example, I don't think necessarily you could ask a player to necessarily play more than 25. Some guys do play more but I think 25 is a comfortable number to play. So seven majors and World Golf Championships, and so that's seven -- how are we looking?
Yeah, getting up to that number starts to be difficult to play both tours, yeah, exactly. You're really splitting your time 50/50 on each and there's the argument, are you doing justice to yourself on either tour; so that's always the balance. Obviously it's all very well to say if you had a year like I did last year and playing well in all of the right events, you will do well on both tours. But some years, things don't necessarily go according to plan in all of the right events, so it's tough to feature on both tours if you're splitting 50/50.

Q. Just going back to Birkdale, is it right that two or three years ago that you got as far as the front entrance and didn't want to go through with it?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think it was like the year after, may have been 2000. I was playing a Challenge Tour event at Formby Hall close by. And so much bad stuff had happened I suppose afterwards, I felt like, I didn't want to go in and make too much of a fuss. I just kind of wanted to skulk away quietly, really and not make a nuisance of myself. That's why I waited, if you like. That's why it was nice to go back to Birkdale ten years later and I feel like I could turn up with my head held high, and it was a nice feeling.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Justin, thanks for joining us. Good luck this week.

End of FastScripts

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