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August 8, 2008

Justin Rose


KELLY ELBIN: Justin Rose, ladies and gentlemen, in with a 3-under par 67, tied for the low round thus far in the 90th PGA Championship. Justin's two-day total of 140 ties him with Ben Curtis for the clubhouse lead.
Only 25 putts for the day, the greens treated you rather well today.
JUSTIN ROSE: They sure did. I guess the putter was the key to the round. I was looking forward to this morning's rounds -- I putted pretty well yesterday afternoon but the greens were pretty spiked and bumpy as they normally are after a full field has gone through them. I was actually excited about the conditions this morning, or what I thought the conditions were going to be. I thought it was going to be nice and calm, the greens were going to be a little receptive and make some putts and shoot a decent score. I shot a decent score but I did it luckily in some conditions that were much tougher than what I expected to face today.
KELLY ELBIN: Can you go through your three birdies and one bogey.
JUSTIN ROSE: On 12 I hit driver, 3-iron into the bunker on 12 and splashed out to four feet.
Then I hit 5-wood and 6-iron to about 15 feet and made that putt.
I made a great bogey on 18. I hit it in the right bunker off the tee up against the face and then I hit it in the next bunker and my ball was plugged. I then hacked it out into the fairway and had a 7-iron for my fourth shot and hit it to about eight feet and made the putt there for bogey. So that was a really key point in my round to keep my momentum going.
And I birdied 2. I hit it just short of the green in two and made a really good up-and-down from about 30 yards.
And on the fourth hole, I hit pitching wedge to two feet.

Q. Where does this rank in terms of rounds you've played this year?
JUSTIN ROSE: I've got to think it's got to be right up there with the best round I've played all year. I think it is the round of the year for sure. It's the kind of round I've been looking for to get myself back on the leaderboard and feeling the good vibes.
I think more importantly, it was the round that I felt most at ease out there and really calm with my emotions and in the moment and playing one shot at a time, and that's what I've been struggling to do. Obviously when you're not playing great golf, it's very easy to get frustrated out there on the golf course, and although sometimes you don't show it, you're trying your hardest out there. It's very easy when you do make a mistake or two to get frustrated.
Today I felt like I made plenty of mistakes but I didn't really react to them and I got rewarded with some great recovery shots.
KELLY ELBIN: 67 is Justin's lowest round in the PGA Championship in six appearances.

Q. We were beginning to wonder when this was going to come and where it was going to come from; did you start looking at The Ryder Cup list and begin feeling the heat maybe?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, no doubt about it. I knew this week was key to the Ryder Cup, and it still is key. There's two days to go here, but the key for me to play good golf is to not get ahead of myself and think about Ryder Cup and all these things. It is important, but today I was really in the moment and playing one shot at a moment and that's clearly my goal for the weekend. Along with that, yeah, a good performance here really helps out with the Ryder Cup.

Q. Can you just say how frustrating it's been, the last two majors, you were in contention at the Masters at the start, but after last year, you were knocking on the door for all four.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it has been frustrating really. I think the U.S. Open, I hit the ball really, really well there and putted poorly and put it down to that.
Obviously Birkdale would have been a great week to play well just due to the history of that tournament and that golf course.
But I think if you look, I sort of try to take a little bit of confidence from the fact that if you look at a lot of other guys' results, they don't always play great in the majors. Some guys play better than others all the time but others really struggle occasionally and I think this year has been the hardest set of majors that there have been, or certainly that I've ever played in.
So sometimes when your game is not quite on the mark, these sort of tournaments really find you out, and that's kind of what I've been feeling about it. I've just thought, well, I haven't played perfect golf and these are the toughest weeks there have been.

Q. Has the main issue for you this year been putting, and if so, how have you gone about turning it around to the state that we saw today?
JUSTIN ROSE: I would say all year has been sort of different parts of my game have been up-and-down and in and out, but certainly the putting is one area that I certainly would say I haven't had a lot of confidence with. I haven't really gone about changing anything, which I think is the important thing. I haven't tried to rebuild my stroke or that sort of thing. It just been a matter of the confidence coming back and seeing a few putts going in and start to believe in yourself again. That's how fickle it is, I suppose.
It's just been a waiting game, I suppose, to start putting well again.

Q. There was a lot of criticism yesterday from some of the players about course setup, Robert Allenby and Lee Westwood had a lot of things to say; do you agree with those comments, and was it different today in any sense that way?
JUSTIN ROSE: They are talking about some pin placements and what-have-you?

Q. The rough supposedly being combed back towards the tee and that sort of thing.
JUSTIN ROSE: Obviously that's what we are facing all week. I think today they tried to putt some pins in places where it gives you a birdie chance and you have half a chance of making par.
The green complexes here, you almost feel like it's a golf course that you want to be able to run the ball around a little bit and take -- and bring in the skill of chipping; whereas this week, to a certain extent, you're very much just -- it's a little bit of guesswork around the greens, pitching.
Off the tee, it's more of a U.S. Open than a PGA Championship, and I don't know if the -- I think that's why maybe the guys feel that way is because the green complexes are so severe that you're almost being tested on every shot that you hit; there's no letup.

Q. Ian Poulter is just behind you in every sense this week, he's playing in the group behind you today; how much fun have you had talking to him about your race for the Ryder Cup and how much you would like both o you to be on the team next month?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think it would be great if we both made the team. I think Ian is playing well and I probably expect him to make the team. Yeah, I think he -- must have been tricky for him today playing behind me and keep seeing my backside in the air, picking the ball out of the hole. (Laughter).
Obviously I think we're rooting for each other. I think it would be a great. It's obviously down to Nick, but I think it would be a natural pairing for one or two games in either/or format. We've both just got to focus on what we've got to do individually, but I'm certainly rooting for him and hopefully he's rooting for me, and that's all we can do.
KELLY ELBIN: The tees on No. 6 were moved up to 300 yards. Did you try to drive that hole?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it was probably unfortunate today that the wind is so strong because it just doesn't quite allow you to reach the green, but it certainly was a very interesting move and I enjoyed the fact that the tees were up. It's nice that the people setting up the golf course are showing a little bit of imagination.
Yeah, it brings in all sorts of trouble, too. There's a big, deep bunker about 30 yards short of the green that's about 250, you have to hit a good drive just to carry that bunker.
Although it's a short hole, it's the perfect risk/reward hole. There's going to be 5s out there and there are going to be 3s.

Q. It used to be true that players would win their first major in their late 20s and early 30s and Tiger came along and made it look so easy. Do you feel it's true that for most players that you have to pay your dues, and the 29, 30 age group is more realistic for majors?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I do believe that and I'm hoping it's true. No doubt, Tiger has made it look very easy and, therefore, for some of the younger guys, it's easy to get frustrated that you are not doing it yourself.
You look at Faldo, I'm not a great historian with the game, but even Hogan, they didn't start winning majors until they were in their late 20s, and you have to start somewhere. And you can't always keep saying, well, I'm gaining experience, I'm gaining experience. There is a time to start believing, this is the time to do it and the time is now. It's a bit of a Catch 22. I think experience in majors is essential, just the environment, the golf course, and I think the art of patience in majors is the key.

Q. Just one more thing on the putting, the 25 putts and the 11 putts on the back nine, these green complexes in the minds of most people are right up there with Oakmont and Augusta National. What does that do -- talk about what that does for your confidence to have those kind of just stats, that kind of putting day on these green complexes?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I guess the key for me is I felt like I've always putted well at Augusta, I played well at Oakmont, felt like I putted well there. So I quite like the tough greens. I like them when they get quick. I like the imagination that are needed with the big curves.
I think if your speed is good, sometimes it's easier to read the big breaks rather than if it's just quite subtle and you can't tell if it's a ball right or a ball left. Sometimes on poa annua is looks straight but you can't really read them, but I'm able to read these borrows just a little bit better.
KELLY ELBIN: Justin Rose, thank you very much.

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