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March 7, 2010
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLORIDA
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Justin, you matched the course record of 64 today, and right now you're tied for third in the tournament, a very nice round. Sort of talk about your play today.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, sure. I mean, I kind of -- looking at the scoreboard obviously Camilo stretched out there ahead but below him it was going to be very bunched, and I figured a Sunday, low Sunday round is really going to make or break a lot of guys' weeks this week, because I was 1-under starting the day at 23 but 1-over was 40th. There were so many guys in and around the middle of the pack that really I just kind of knew that a low one today was the order of the day.
But you know, the funny thing is about golf that if you try too hard to come out and go low, obviously it goes the other way. All weekend I felt really relaxed. I kind of hit a little sweet spot in terms of enjoying my golf and just staying really nice and composed, and I think today probably is the most composed I've been for a long time.
I didn't even look at a leaderboard the whole day. I caught a glimpse occasionally that I was making progress obviously. I didn't have any idea what Camilo was going. I was in the back of my mind feeling that if I could go forward maybe pinch a couple more birdies, post 9, I figured with the Bear Trap looming on anyone's mind that could be enough. But he obviously has gotten off to a great start, and fair play to him.
It was nice to even be in a position to kind of think that way, no doubt. Got off to a fantastic start, I mean, birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie. Holed a 30-footer on the first and chipped in on the second, and that gave me a little inkling that today might be a good day.
Two putts for birdie at the third. Stiffed it at 4.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: How far was your chip-in on 2?
JUSTIN ROSE: I was off the fringe, probably about 30 feet, fairly straightforward chip-and-run.
And I stiffed it at 4, what felt like an easy 4-under with a sand wedge.
And bailed out a little bit on the par 3, made bogey, and bailed out on my tee shot at 6. Tough shot: Water left, windy, a couple slightly uncommitted shots there but got away with it at 6 and hit a great 4-iron from pretty much the 4th fairway down to 25 feet and made that putt, and that's kind of really kept my momentum going.
From there just played good, steady golf. Hit a good 6-iron in on 9 to about six feet and made birdie, good shot into the breeze there. And then on 14, I managed to snake in about a 35 -foot putt from the lower ridge, so that was a little bonus.
Nice just to steal one before heading to the Bear Trap, because it does -- especially when you know you're 3-, 4-, 5-under on your round, it's only a good round once you've finished it off. You kind of know that. So it was nice to sort of play those holes level par. In the back of my mind, I was trying to go forward; I was trying to hit good, committed aggressive shots, which I did I hit two great shots into both par 3s.
Finished in the back left bunker on 17, which is a very popular spot but that hole seems to play shorter than its yardage and you know all of the trouble is short. But hit a great bunker shot to a couple of inches.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Nice, long 2-putt at 18.
JUSTIN ROSE: The difference for me, I had 49 putts on the weekend. I feel like recently I've been putting nicely the first two days and they have been drying up a little on the weekends and I think sometimes it's because you want it too much and I've been a little too result-orientated and I felt like I hit a nice, calm mind-set the last couple of days which is obviously the goal. It was very free and stroking the ball well and seeing the putts going in, which was nice.
Q. Did you know that if you birdied the par 5 last hole you would have the course record?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I was aware of it to some degree.
Q. Did you play that -- it said 255 for your tee, were you playing it as a three-shot hole?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, there's no way of getting up there today. I hit 3-wood off the tee because the fairway runs out right. The mistake was not hitting the fairway with my lay-up.
I pulled it just a little bit left, I was in the first cut, actually right up against the collar and the first cut, and was right in between wedge and 9-iron and I decided to go with a wedge so I could hit a committed shot. And as I was coming into the ball, my club snagged in the thicker rough, turned the toe down and I hit a bit of a pull, 40 feet left.
Obviously there was no future right.
Q. Are you surprised you've played as long as you have without winning out here so far?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I played good enough golf to win out here. I've been close a few times. I would have hoped that one of them would have got in the way by now. You know, sometimes winning just gets in the way without you kind of trying too hard. It's felt like it's been a bit of a battle.
If I can just maintain the direction I'm going and certainly try and recreate the sort of calm mind-set that I've had the last few days, I certainly believe it will happen.
Q. Two things if I may. First, were you between clubs a little bit on 12?
JUSTIN ROSE: 12, the only club I could hit was 9-iron. But the decision was, was it a full one or did I have to take a little bit off it. Because when the wind wasn't straight off the left or wasn't helping a fraction, that was kind of a dilemma there.
Q. And the second thing, how much do you -- at this point in your career, how much do you think about, okay, if I do this, I can maybe sneak into Doral; if I do this, I can get closer to getting to Augusta. Do you think about it in those terms? Or are you strictly a shot-to-shot, day-to-day kind of guy?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I think I'm where I am because I've been thinking about it too much. I think I'm where I am today because I haven't been thinking about it. I've actually been listening a little bit to Camilo. I think he's said, I'm out here, I'm enjoying my golf, I'm trying to take my mind-set back to when I first came out on TOUR, grateful to be out here, having fun, and that really is the nuts and bolts of what we need to do.
The whole pressure of the PGA TOUR can somewhat -- all of the extraneous stuff that you shouldn't really think about or pay attention to, that creeps into your mind-set. The more you can get rid of all that stuff, your true ability can come out.
That's what I'm working on, obviously, just trying to keep it simple, and if I can go out there with that mentality, I know that my best golf will come out, and then I should be in all of these tournaments that you're talking about.
Q. When exactly did you change coaches and what has that it done for your mind frame and the way you approach the game?
JUSTIN ROSE: I changed coaches in the end of last year, end of July after the Open. But it was really only this off-season that we really got down to changing a couple of things.
This week is probably the first time I've really seen -- in these windy conditions, I'm able to trap the ball and really control my trajectory a lot better and hit draws and fades to hold up against the wind, and those are the shots I just didn't have for the last couple of years.
I felt the last couple years actually that any time it got windy I was really struggling, couldn't keep the ball down and couldn't flight it how I wanted to. Today I really saw, or the last few days, I saw that I'm hitting some cool shots and I thought, I'm making progress.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: What's his name.
JUSTIN ROSE: Sean Foley. He's worked with a few pretty good players, Hunter Mahan, Sean O'Hair, Stephen Ames, all guys that I think hit the ball really well.
Q. Was it something that you did this week that has kind of gotten you into this calmer mind-set, or is it something that you've been working on since the beginning of the year and things maybe have fallen into place this week?
JUSTIN ROSE: I've been aware of it for a while, certainly. I've had a lot of good rounds this year. I've hit that sort of frame of mind a few times.
But it's just obviously doing it consistently, and keeping that frame of mind on the bad days, that's the important thing. I feel like sometimes I've had a few bad rounds and it's how you react to those bad rounds is actually what's more important, and sometimes I've maybe just got a little too frustrated and then tried too hard the following day and kind of things just get away from you a little bit. But like I said, the more calm I am, the more relaxed I am, things will come to me.
Q. When is the last time you shot 30?
JUSTIN ROSE: Don't know. Maybe back nine at -- maybe my last nine holes -- front nine maybe at Waialae this year in the final round. Shot 64 there on Sunday, too.
Last year it was a great year for he many, I think I was second on Sunday scoring average. So I feel like I have been playing nicely, but my last couple of Sundays have not been good. So today was nice to put those two Sundays behind me and really come out and go forward again.
Q. There's been a resurgence in English golfers; can you talk about that and how I'm sure you'd like to be at the forefront of that again yourself?
JUSTIN ROSE: Sure, I think I'm ranked eighth in England now. I'd struggle to make the English Ryder Cup Team, which I feel like I'm a pretty good player, so that does speaks volumes for how strong English golf is right now. Obviously we've got 4, 5, 6 in the World Rankings as you all know. But it goes deeper than that.
Obviously we are a real big golfing nation. I saw it out there today, a lot of English fans, English support out here. British people love their golf. Even though it's a small country, I think it's not that surprising to me that that's the sort of representation on TOUR.
Q. Following you from Turning Stone last year and as recently as Riviera, I noticed that prior to your pre-shot routine you work on a drill where you look like you're trying to get a down-and-away shift from the ball, and I didn't see that at Phoenix, so wondering, is your swing where you want it to be right now?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, you're playing close attention, maybe more than I am myself. That's cool. Yeah, I'm definitely working on getting more to my left side, moving through the shot, not staying so much on my right side and flipping it, which is obviously one reason why I'm able to drive the ball a little bit better into the wind.
But yeah, I think that I'm driving the ball this year way better than I ever have. I think I'm sixth in all around driving. I was at one point, anyway.
Par that to me is a stat that I've never been up there before in, so things -- like I said, I'm seeing a lot of cool things happening in my game and trying to let it translate into some good play.
Q. Did you feel like the conditions today were easier than earlier in the tournament?
JUSTIN ROSE: No. I don't think so.
Q. It was warmer?
JUSTIN ROSE: A little warmer, yeah. But the breeze picked up today. It was tough again. I was happy to see that. Obviously you shoot a good round on a tough day, you move up. If it was calm out there, you see a lot of 66s, 67s, it would have been tough to make progress, so I was happy to see a challenging day.
Q. Correct me if I'm wrong, all of your starts this calendar year have been in the United States; is that correct?
JUSTIN ROSE: (Nodding).
Q. Talk about the change of strategy in not playing the desert European swing or anything like that this year.
JUSTIN ROSE: I feel motivated to play well over here this year. Obviously I've won the European Order of Merit. That's a great achievement, too. I want to go on to achieve more on The European Tour, but I feel like in some senses, ticked that one off my list. I feel like in my career over here, I haven't done as much over here as I have over there, obviously.
So that's a focus for me, to try and breakthrough over here. And I guess that's where my attention is right now.
Being ranked outside the world's Top-50, it's tough to commit to playing both tours. That's why I need to get back into the top 50 and that will make my schedule a lot easier and make my decisions to play The European Tour a lot more simple.
But like I said, I'm quite committed to playing this tour this year and playing through.
Q. Are you still committed to playing 12 in Europe?
JUSTIN ROSE: That's the plan. My initial plan is to play well pre-the-Open here and spend maybe a month, five weeks or something in Europe and play a bunch of tournaments then; and then come back, focus on the FedExCup and go back to Europe and play a few more after that.
Q. Segue is perfect to what I wanted to ask you: What's the next four or five weeks, what's next for you?
JUSTIN ROSE: Sure. Right now I'm a week off, looking like I won't play Doral. And then I play Tampa, Bay Hill, more than likely I'll play Houston. Looking like a week off at the moment, and then I think it goes Hilton Head, New Orleans. That's where I'm thinking.
Q. So the plan right now, Tampa, Bay Hill, Houston?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah.
JUSTIN ROSE: Tavistock, yeah, sure.
Q. Where does The Ryder Cup rank for you?
JUSTIN ROSE: Ryder Cup is really important to me, but it's something that I don't feel like I can focus on right now. It's a weird thing. I think for me to get into The Ryder Cup, I need to not worry about The Ryder Cup if that makes any sense. The Ryder Cup will take care of itself if I play well. Just got to play well.
Like I did last time around, I mean, I had to Taylor my schedule towards the end of the qualification process to make the team, and that's what I'll do again, should I be close.
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Thank you, sir. Continued good luck.
End of FastScripts