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July 17, 2008

Justin Rose


Q. You were almost jaunty walking up the 18th.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it was a long day without a birdie, let's put it that way, and the front nine was hard work. I actually felt like I got off to a good start in terms of the first five holes and had an atrocious 6th hole where I actually did really well to make double bogey. I guess from that point I was on the back foot, it was tough to make birdies out there, and having a birdieless day you're up against it. If you can steal one or two or even three birdies out there from somewhere, it's great to have them on the scorecard. But to have no birdies kind of hurt all day long.
But really dug in the back nine, really believed -- basically after nine I just had to regroup and basically tried to go back to just playing one shot at a time. Easier said than done sometimes. When you're 4-over sometimes you feel like you need to press and push, and I managed to just get back into a good mind set, but I also believed that I could sort of shoot 1-under on the back nine and had a great chance to do it on 18, really, a bit disappointed.
I putted really well today, which I haven't been doing recently, holed out really nicely. All in all, I guess a steady start in the end.

Q. Is that part of the thing when you're playing in these kind of conditions, the mental battle as much as the physical battle?
JUSTIN ROSE: It's more mental out there. I don't think anybody is going to be physically good out there today. I didn't feel my swing once out there. You're wearing four or five layers, you've got your waterproof jacket on, the rain is hitting you sideways. The only good swing I made was off the 18th where I took my jacket off. I think the test today was just purely mental, more than anything.
I guess just trusting your numbers and trusting your clubs out there -- a couple of times I just couldn't believe how short the ball was going into the wind.

Q. How cold was it out there this morning?
JUSTIN ROSE: You know, you probably didn't need the hat and gloves, but to be honest with you, playing golf with cold hands is the hardest thing. You can't feel the putter and there's no feel. I tried to keep my hands warm, and the mittens were a great way to keep them dry.

Q. How bad were the conditions out there?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think we've all played in those conditions before. I guess they're relatively rare, to get such a poor day. But I said to Tom Watson out there, where is the worst weather you had, and he said the first round in 1980 in Muirfield. I said, "What did you shoot?" He said, "68."
Q. (Talk about Tom Watson.)
JUSTIN ROSE: I mean, he's awesome. I can see why he's won Open championships. There's no doubt about it. The way he reads the greens, his ball flights. You've got to think the guy is -- he's really -- I don't know how old he is, but -- 58, yeah. It's just incredible the way he can strike it. I love the way he putts, sort of a rappy sort of stroke, which I think is really good in the wind and good on sort of slightly slower links greens. There's a lot to take from what he did and apply it to my game in the future.

Q. How encouraging is that breakthrough (inaudible)?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it's always been holding me back, so I feel if I can get a little bit of confidence going with the putter, that's all that's been missing. Almost the putter kept me in it today. If I'd have putted like I have been putting, I would have struggled today, no doubt.

Q. You've been asked about '98 so much the last two, three months. Did it go through your mind at all today, or not really?
JUSTIN ROSE: Very sort of reminiscent of it through the crowd. There's slightly sort of more goodwill this week than I would say is normal. So from that perspective I would say it feels similar. Just like the little receptions going on to the 18th green, that just feels a little bit unique to Royal Birkdale for me.

Q. Would you like to see anything different tomorrow, conditions stay the same?
JUSTIN ROSE: I was surprised at the setup. There was a few holes where you walk through the dunes and you walk to the next tee box and you're hoping to see yourself up 15, 20 yards, especially on holes like 6 where there's -- some holes there's not the opportunity to put -- you're either going up 15, up to the front of the tee box, or you're going up 35, 40 yards to the next teeing ground. Holes like 6 I could have easily thought could have been playing off the back of the next tee because it's 500 yards into a gale.
Yeah, I was surprised. A couple of pins were on the right-hand side and there was a howling gale off the right-hand side. Certainly it's not meant to be easy and it was a test. I still enjoyed the day. The course is in superb condition. I get how they set the golf course up -- there are weather forecasts but you don't want the wind to die out and see all the tees pushed forward.

Q. You were on the clock for a while. Was that fair in the conditions?
JUSTIN ROSE: To be honest, I think there was plenty of warning. There was a good hour, hour and a half of playing where they were saying hurry up, hurry up, and I just think they felt they had to put us on the clock because 4:10 is the last tee time and there's a lot of play behind us, and if you have a couple groups slowing up there's a good chance everyone won't finish. I guess they've got to do right that's for the tournament. Yeah, it's tough in that situation when you're the guys on the clock. But I felt they were fair. There was probably a couple times we all hit shots that were borderline in terms of times, but I think they used common sense.

Q. Tom Watson said both you and Aaron play better when you play faster.
JUSTIN ROSE: That's interesting, yeah. Sometimes. I mean, Tom gets on with it, there's no doubt about it. It's great to watch. I think for some reason there's a lot of us who just -- you adapt to TOUR life. No matter if you're a quick player, you're not going to get around in under five hours, so you kind of adapt to the speed of play out there. So it's a bit of a Catch 22, I suppose, trying to speed everyone up.
From my perspective, yeah, I feel like I like to play quickly. I mean, sometimes it's just occasions -- today I was a bit like Rafael Nadal, just drying myself before every single shot I hit (laughter).

Q. Did you play like you felt you might play today? Did you always feel that you would sort of be in contention? You were 3-over after seven.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I was 4-over through nine. That round could have gone either way. At that point, playing great, things are tough. You haven't really got a lot of positives to draw on and you know there's some really tough holes coming. I'm happy that I just dug in there, shot even on the back. Yeah, I mean, at the time I'm thinking, this is it, do or die now. But like I said, I've tried to get away from that mentality and just bring it back to simply one shot at a time.

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