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July 2, 2010

Justin Rose


NELSON SILVERIO: We welcome Justin Rose to the media center here at the AT&T National. Obviously on a hot streak of sorts and continued today. Give us some general thoughts on your round today.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, sure. Obviously today's 64 was a good round. It's something that just happened -- I didn't really go out there with the intentions of going low, so to speak. The round just evolved and happened.
But a couple things, I thought we got the better end of the draw today. The wind really calmed down late in the afternoon. And then I was part of a great group today; Sean O'Hair shot 68, J.B. Holmes 67, me 64, of which there's only one bogey in the group all day. So that around this golf course, it was a fun group to be a part of.
I think all that made it a great day out there.

Q. Can you put into words what you learn out of an experience like Sunday?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I mean, well obviously this is the way I see it: Closing out a golf tournament is difficult. You do learn things, and depends how long it takes until you give yourself another situation whether you really -- when you learn something, you've got to practice it for it to become natural, right, so if you're not in contention that much, it's very difficult to learn the lessons or to put into play the lessons that you learned.
So this week I'm very happy to have the opportunity to go out there, test myself and put into play what I learned last week. On Sunday I really thought that I went out there thinking very well. Everything from that perspective was the same. My game plan didn't change, my strategy didn't change and my commitment didn't change. I just felt a little bit more tight, which is, I think -- that's the human body; do you know what I mean?
But there are ways and means of getting over that and still performing to your best when you do feel like that, and that's obviously what I hadn't -- I hadn't felt those feelings for quite a while. I felt them at the Memorial. Down the stretch there the heart was going. But sometimes it just happens.
But obviously today where -- there were just some obvious things that didn't work out for me there at Travelers, which is easy when -- nothing happened for me at Travelers. It was just a day where if I hit one or two good shots and got a little bit of rhythm going, I think the day would have been so different. But that was the thing that I struggled with was my rhythm. I think everything got a little quick. Like I said, that's the natural thing to happen under pressure.
I'm excited to have a chance to go out there this weekend and try and put it into play.

Q. Are you getting sick of having to come to the media center every day?
JUSTIN ROSE: You know, there was a time in my career I'd just face the media after missing every cut. It's never a problem when you're on the business end of things.

Q. In all seriousness, a lot of guys when they have their first win sort of go quiet and we don't hear from them for a while and you just seem to have picked up where you left off after that two-week break. Did you feel it coming back where you left off at the Memorial?
JUSTIN ROSE: Actually going into Hartford, funnily enough, I didn't feel my game was in great shape. Got it going, mentally I got it going. There was a lot of wedges -- Hartford is a relatively easy golf course, and I just got it going, hit my wedges close and putted great from 10 feet and in the first couple days.
But it eventually caught up with me. My game wasn't after a two-week break where I wanted it to be. But I saw my coach Sean Foley this week and worked on a couple things and I'm hitting the ball a lot better this week than I was last week.
But it's nice to -- obviously I'm playing with some confidence at the moment, and that's what's keeping things going. Even if you're not swinging it great, if you're confident, you can still make the most out of it.

Q. When you consider how the scores have been and how other golfers have struggled on this course, how happy are you for the two rounds here with your play given how tough this course has played?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I am really happy to be honest with you. I'm really enjoying the challenge of the golf course. It's a cool golf course. I told them earlier this week this is my U.S. Open. I missed out on playing Pebble Beach. But this golf course has a lot of those types of characteristics where you need to play smart, you need to leave yourself below the hole, you need to not take on a lot of shots out there. You need to be very patient. So I was quite excited about the prospect of facing that challenge this week.
Obviously you have a day like today where everything goes your way and it's easy to think, well, kind of this course isn't that difficult. But you just need to really keep your patience around here. I think nothing really changes tomorrow, so -- but yes, I'm having a lot of fun. Great crowd out there today, too. To play in front of that crowd on a Friday afternoon was a great feeling, great atmosphere out there.

Q. Did winning at Memorial make it easier to bounce back mentally from last week?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, definitely. I turned up here Monday morning feeling like I was a better player than I was Sunday because you learn. My game doesn't go away overnight. You have an experience like that, and if you ask yourself the right questions and if you deal with it in the right way, you become better. That's what learning is all about, and that's what growing and improving is all about.
Yeah, I guess. Whatever that -- sounded a bit deep to me. (Laughter.)

Q. You sort of half answered this, but how quickly did it take you or how long did it take you to get over what happened at Hartford, and secondly, what did you learn -- how do you prevent something like that from happening again if you're in that position?
JUSTIN ROSE: You can never prevent it from happening again. I think that's the first thing to accept. You can't be scared of it happening again. You've just got to put yourself in that position, dig in, do your best; you know what I mean. But with all the right tools, golf happens. I didn't do a lot wrong at the Travelers to shoot 5-over -- I didn't do a lot wrong. It's just golf.
First if you accept that, it's a lot easier to go out there and play, but there are things you can put in place. And experience; Tiger, Phil, these guys, they get into contention a lot, and therefore it becomes more normal, and those feelings that they face become easier to deal with. So that's -- it'll be easier this weekend than it was last weekend, and obviously the more and more I put myself in contention, the easier it will be going forward.
But yeah, it took me about an hour and a half to get over it at Hartford. I was really disappointed coming off the golf course, but I went out to the ninth green actually because that's where I was staying and I hit a couple putts because my putting was so bad. Then I hit a couple putts, worked on it, spoke to a couple people about what went wrong with my putting and went to the same spot I missed a putt from on the ninth green and made it, and I thought, okay, let's go to next week. That's the way it is.

Q. You said you went out and you weren't really thinking about shooting low. Was there a shot or a hole that you said, hey, it's clicking for me today?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I made back-to-back putts of about 25 feet on 12 and 13. The guys I was playing with, they were playing just as well as me. Sean O'Hair played really, really steady golf. J.B. the same, had a lot of birdie opportunities, but they couldn't buy a putt. Obviously my putts were going in, so I just knew it was flowing.

Q. This is regarding the Open Championship coming up. Have you been back to St. Andrews since 2005 when you were, I guess, an alternate or one of the first guys who would have come out, and would you talk about your approach to qualifying for the Open the way you have instead of playing a specific qualifier?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I've got to tell you, a few weeks ago the Open looked like being a disaster again for me. I missed 2000, I missed 2005 when I was first alternate, and that was one the hardest days of my life. You see all your friends, you see all your buddies, you see people you know teeing it up and going out there and experiencing the Old Course in an Open, and I was left on the driving range as a spare part. I never wanted to do that again.
But this year I was put in a position where obviously the European Tour's flagship event is the PGA at Wentworth. I needed to be seen to be supporting it, and I wanted to play the tournament, but it meant not coming back here in time for the qualifier, which was the following Monday in Dallas. And then I wanted to play The Memorial, which is one of my favorite tournaments, but by playing The Memorial here I couldn't get back to the UK for the qualifier that Monday. So really by playing the two tournaments I felt it was important to play, I missed the two qualifiers.
But I knew that if I backed myself to play well, there were other ways in, the top guy here not exempt or the top guy at the John Deere not exempt or the mini-money list that's running. I just backed myself to play well somewhere, and it looks like it's happened.

Q. Scott McCarron said yesterday that this felt like a major with the number of tents and everything, and it struck me that you said that this was your Open. Just the atmosphere, if you could comment a little further on the atmosphere that you've seen here and specifically playing with Sean O'Hair, a local guy, and obviously I'm sure a lot of fans were following.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I felt like this afternoon we were the marquee group out there with Sean being a local guy, so that was cool to play in front of. That's good preparation for the weekend, you know, give you a similar feel for what it's going to be like.
You know, it certainly feels like a big tournament, and I think that's great. That's a nice environment to play golf in front of, and it can get the best out of you. Obviously it can be sometimes easier to play with, too, because you have to be focused. It's even easier to block out distractions.

Q. I know you've played a lot of great rounds in your career, but when you look at this round in particular, with a lot of the other guys struggling, where would you rank this? Would this be up there one of your more complete rounds you've played since you've been on the TOUR?
JUSTIN ROSE: That's a really hard question to answer because when you're playing well, there's still lots of shots out there I wasn't happy with and a lot of mistakes. But I'm just sort of thinking -- I'm not giving silly shots away right now and I'm making a few putts. It didn't feel like a complete round of golf in terms of I didn't miss a shot.
But I think mentally probably one of my better rounds of golf. Just felt very patient. Even when I didn't hit a good shot, I accepted it. I didn't try to force the issue and get bullied by the golf course. So from that perspective things clicked today.
But I don't know, I don't really know how good it is until I've checked out the scores. I haven't really looked at the leaderboard.

Q. Tiger has just made the cut, is 10 behind you. Number one, does that surprise you a little bit? And number two, has the intimidation factor that we've all heard about over the years, is that still out there for guys, even if he's far back in the field? Or even if he's up close in the field?
JUSTIN ROSE: There's definitely a presence. If he gets charging and he gets near the top of the leaderboard, he still has a presence, no doubt about it. But I don't think guys are playing their game and rushing to the locker room to see what's Tiger on. Everyone out here is a true professional. They all go about their own business. They all know how to go about their own business.
It's still hard for him right now. I'm sure we've all had distractions in our lives and stuff like that, and to bring your best onto the golf course when you're being probably depleted in so many other areas mentally, it's difficult. But I haven't seen much of his game this week, but by all accounts he hit it a lot better yesterday, drove the ball much better, and when he starts driving it well, you know his game is never far away because the putting I think is probably more -- that'll come with confidence. But if he starts giving himself good looks and regular looks, that'll happen for him.
NELSON SILVERIO: Justin, thank you.

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