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November 12, 2009

Justin Rose


MARK STEVENS: I'd like to welcome Justin Rose to the interview room. Justin shot a 7-under 65 today, and currently has the first round lead. Justin, can you open up by just talking a little bit about your bogey-free round today and then we'll take some questions.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, sure. I guess bogey-free round out there today, although the courses aren't the most difficult in the world, I guess it's pretty few and far between because it certainly was tricky out there, and even good shots at times weren't going close to the flags because of gusting winds.
But I guess I drove the ball well, got it in play on every hole. When I did hit a scratchy iron shot, my short game was really solid, so that equated to bogey free. And I managed to capitalize on all the par-5s and that really helps a round out.
MARK STEVENS: Thank you. Questions.

Q. Just sort of characterize your year. I know you've had a new addition to the family. Congrats on that again, and that's been a fun sort of distraction, but your game has been a little down from your Order of Merit year, and you changed coaches. And how do you feel like you're coming along?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, sure. I think obviously that's a detailed question to answer. There's been a lot that's gone on this year.
Yeah, little Leo was born, and obviously that's an adjustment to start off with. And you know, I think we're getting to a stage now where we're finding our feet with all that, really enjoying it. It's an amazing addition.
And then from, yeah, so that's fantastic. Feel like very happy off the golf course, which is obviously a key ingredient to playing well on the golf course. And yeah, started working with Sean Foley in the summer, and although we haven't really delved too deeply into things yet, I feel like I've changed a few -- basically I felt my swing's changed quite dramatically. I've gone down a different path with it, and I feel like I've really seen some results already. I feel like my ball striking has really improved second half of the season.
Maybe just the putter has held me back a little bit, which is why I was encouraged today to putt so well. So things are going in the right track, and that's why I added this tournament to my schedule. I feel like it's a really fun tournament to play. I knew I was playing pretty well. I enjoy playing from home. So so far it seems like a good decision.

Q. Why do you think you played so well on this golf course?
JUSTIN ROSE: I don't know. I feel like the format itself is very relaxing, I mean because you go out there and you kind of gotta make small talk with your amateur, and it does feel somewhat like a Pro-Am, and I think I tend to play my best golf when I'm relaxed and enjoying it. The tendency is if you get a little bit too intense or try too hard, that doesn't necessarily bring out the best in me. So I think the format obviously helps me out here.
And I don't know, the golf course they're both in really, really good shape, the Magnolia and the Palm, so from that perspective I've always enjoyed putting on these greens. I think they're some of the better greens that I've seen in Florida all year long, so it's good fun.

Q. You had a bit of a later start. Just wondering what your mindset was when you saw some of the scores being put up early.
JUSTIN ROSE: You know, I didn't see any scores this morning. Even though when I started my round, Greg and I both got 3-under through five, and at this tournament that's normally no big deal, but already we were kind of nearly on the leaderboard, so I was surprised at how nobody was really going low at that point. 4-under seemed to be sort of third place kind of thing.
So that was encouraging, you know. It was nice to kind of get off to a good start, both of us, and really feel like you're in the tournament from word go.

Q. I guess you're headed to Dubai after this. Just curious how you've approached the whole thing this year with everything that you've got going on, trying to juggle the two tours. Was making it into that gravy, was it a goal? How did you look at all that?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah. I mean I think certainly it was a goal of mine to be a part of it. I think having won the Order of Merit in Europe in the past, I've sort of prided myself of being a part of that Tour and competing to win it again, so yeah, I definitely wanted to be in the tournament.
But right now I think I'm really trying to chase down some world ranking points. I'm outside of Top 50 in the world, and that's really key to my schedule. This year I've pretty much played all the tournaments I've wanted to play and that makes it quite easy for me to balance both tours, but when you're outside Top 50 in the world, you put yourself in a difficult situation and it becomes almost like you kind of gotta choose which tour you want to play one more than the other.
Don't really remember what the question was, but my goal for the next couple weeks, and one of the reasons why I added this tournament and I wanted to get into Dubai was to try and improve my world ranking by the end of the year.

Q. Justin, you didn't try quite as early on as Rory did, but apparently you decided to take up membership on this Tour. I guess that came out yesterday. You know, you sort of straddled that fence for an a while early on. Your world ranking was up there. You kind of started playing both tours, it went down a little bit. You weren't able to lock up the Ryder Cup berth as early as you might have hoped, and I was wondering if you could sort of speak to the risks involved of sort of serving two masters that he might have to sort through on the outside chance that he thinks this is going to be easy.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah. Sure. I think he probably does think it's going to be easy because he's a fantastic player and he's showing all the signs right now of coping with it perfectly well, but it is difficult. There's no doubt about it.
And there's no doubt -- it's kind of easy. It's a tough Tour to play over here. I think the strength and depth is phenomenal. It takes time to get used to golf courses, used to different conditions. And you know, experience is a very powerful thing.
So you know, but he came -- obviously if I'd have taken my mind back to how he started this year, he came over and played the Florida Swing, and didn't he have a bunch of Top 10s, Top 20s? So he obviously feels pretty comfortable over here. I think his game really suits here. He hits the ball high and long and putts pretty well. So I think to be one of the best players in the world I think you need to be able to play well in America, and I guess the sooner the better, and for me I think why not. You know, I'd encourage him to do it.
But yeah, there are risks involved. I mean he's done so well so early, it would be easy to kind of sort of -- I don't want to say a big fish in a small pond, but I think it's important that he pushes himself right now because at the end of the day all he should be doing even at this age and how good he is is just try and keep getting better and better and better.
If I look back at my career, I wanted everything early. I wanted to win. It was so important for me to achieve this, to achieve that. But if I look back at it, doesn't really make that much difference at that age as long as you're getting better and developing for the future.
He's going to win majors, I'm sure, so the more comfortable he feels here, the better.

Q. (Indiscernible). The fields are deeper here week in and week out.
JUSTIN ROSE: Sure. He might make less money here because he's maybe in a situation where he can command quite a bit of appearance fees in Europe to go play tournaments. So for him I don't think it's probably about the money. I think it's about developing. It's about challenging himself, and I think he's at the right age to do that.

Q. (Indiscernible). New stipulation where they might require playing a certain number of fixed events to keep you guys playing on the Tour. I wonder what your thoughts are on that and if you think that's a good idea and whether that might make you rethink your membership over there.
JUSTIN ROSE: You know, obviously he's right. I can't miss Dubai. It's such a fantastic event. It's something I've wanted to be a part of for years and years and years, and that requires me to be a member of the European Tour, so my goal is to continue to play in Europe as much as possible.
I did win the Order of Merit playing 12, which is the minimum, and that's kind of my business model. My business model is to be Top 50 in the world, play the majors and World Golf Championships and other select events in Europe to get up to my No. 12. That's the model for a lot of the world's Top 50.
So if it starts changing dramatically from that and say you fall out of Top 50 for a period over year and you miss one or two majors, you not only gotta make up one or two tournaments in Europe, you've also gotta make one or two up here in the States. So that's four more tournaments you have to add to your schedule by missing two majors, if you get my drift. So it becomes a pick and choose.
Like I said I think early on, I think push comes to shove, you gotta make a choice, and I think family wise we're pretty happy here in the States. I think it's a great place to spend our time, so it's a very difficult situation for me right now. That's why I'm pressing really hard to get back in the Top 50 so I don't have to put myself in that position to choose.

Q. Do you think they ask too much of you guys in terms of appearances and at-bats guys that are playing over here?
JUSTIN ROSE: Sure. I think if they ask too much, then they certainly are risking that, but I'm sure they're trying to tread a very fine line between encouraging guys to play not necessarily more, but to really support the key events, Wentworth, the flagship events of the Tour.
I think if they can really get guys to support those, which maybe hasn't been the case the last few years. I think that's really what they're trying to achieve rather than get guys to play 15, 16, I think they're trying to get guys to play the right 12, and it remains to be seen how it all pans out, but that's what I would hope.

Q. Would it be hard to add whatever those four events would be to your current schedule?
JUSTIN ROSE: You know, this sounds really lazy of me. I actually am not fully up to speed with it, to be honest with you. But I could pretty much guess what those six are.
And I'm going to start earlier next year. I'm going to probably start out in Hawaii, just get at it, and then I think that'll maybe free me up a little more in the summer to maybe play a couple more tournaments in Europe.
I haven't really played Lochland before the Open, I haven't really played the French Open in the last couple of years, but if I certainly got a bunch of tournaments under my belt early here in the States, it might free me up to play a month in the summer, play July in Europe. That's what I'm hoping. That's what I'm thinking in the back of my mind.
I find it very difficult to go week here, week there. I like to do it in chunks. Makes sense obviously.

Q. Do you go at the Ryder Cup through the world ranking or is it more through the Money List? I mean what is your best avenue?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I made it through the Money List, but always assumed my best avenue was the world ranking points. That's the way I see it. I feel like that gives me the ability to play here in America and still feel like I can make the team.
And I think that's been a great addition to the Ryder Cup from the European perspective is that guys can qualify by playing well in the States. That's my goal. That's the way I'd like to qualify because obviously that means world ranking position, I'll be pretty high.
MARK STEVENS: Okay. Thanks a lot, Justin. Good luck the rest of the week.

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