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July 4, 2010

Justin Rose


DOUG MILNE: We'll jump right in. We know you've got a plane to catch. We'd like to welcome the 2010 AT&T National champion, Justin Rose. Congratulations, your second win in three starts, almost your third win in three starts. Great playing today, even par 70. With the win you moved to second in the FedEx points. As you termed earlier, business is taking care of business. Just your thoughts on the win and looking ahead.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, sure. Obviously this was an important day for me. Obviously I was in here just talking about how I wanted to be getting better as a player and that is ultimately the truth, but I knew having not closed out last week it was important for me just for myself to do it today, but to do it in a way -- I felt like I really did put into play the lessons I learned at Hartford. I played much slower and I really felt calm. I didn't feel like the nerves got the better of me at all the whole weekend, so was much better at that.
Still never easy to close these things out, I'll tell you. Had it going nicely on the front nine today and probably got a little bit closer than I should have with two slack three-putts 10 and 11. But I knew today around level par would get the job done today. I was probably -- maybe even by a couple but obviously Ryan put a great round together, birdieing 17 I think he did, so he was definitely putting the heat on.
I joked at the beginning of the week this was going to be my U.S. Open the way the course was, and that's how it played coming in, trying to hit the fairways and hit the greens and two-putt. Every two-putt felt like hard work coming in, I've got to tell you. It was good fun. I felt very much in control of my emotions and it's been a long week, but I'm very glad we've got to this point with a win.

Q. Talk about the 9th, and then talk about the importance of collecting yourself walking up to the 12th tee.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, sure. I think obviously 9 was huge. You're just trying to run the 5-wood up the gap there, and for it to bobble up and roll up to four feet, there was an element of -- I wouldn't say luck; it was a great shot, but to go so close, it was amazing to pick off an eagle there. That was great for the momentum.
Then hit a nice shot into 10, left myself in probably too easy a spot. I thought it was so quick around that cup, but it's quick from a little bit higher up the green, and I was almost straight up at it. Anyway, I misjudged that putt, and that putt probably influenced my putt at 11, I knocked that one past, and from that point on it was a bit of a grind coming in.
But I really collected myself. I kept trying to tell myself one shot at a time and commit 100 percent to each and every shot. That's what I did coming in. I hit every green on the back nine today, so, I mean, I didn't put too much pressure on myself.

Q. Now that you've obviously established yourself in a short period of time here recently, just look ahead to majors. What's your schedule going forward and how is this going to help you in the majors?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, sure. I mean, I think winning on the PGA TOUR is a steppingstone to winning major championships. I mean, there doesn't get a much bigger arena than this unless it's a major championship. You know, this prepares you. This is great practice. The emotions you're facing -- even the crowd out there for the most part was a really great, energy, vibe crowd. Especially yesterday, Friday afternoon, too, so you get the feeling playing on the PGA TOUR in these big events like this that you're playing at sort of the highest level with a sense of pressure. And that really helps you going into major championships.
But I've always felt that a major could come along as my first win. I've always believed that. But this is the progression that I would have expected. I established myself in Europe and then it took me a while over here, but to then establish myself by winning PGA TOUR events to then going to the next level, which would obviously be major championships.

Q. What's your history at St. Andrews? You haven't played an Open there, but played other tournaments there, played recreationally?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, actually St. Andrews I've got very fond memories. I won the St. Andrews Links Trophy as an amateur there, which that was probably the performance that got me into the Walker Cup. It's one of the biggest stroke-play events we have on the amateur circuit. So winning that, I think I was 16, got me into the Walker Cup. And I finished 2nd at the Dunhill Links Championship in '07 then.
It's a place I love. How can you not love St. Andrews? You've just got to stand on the 1st tee there and you feel like you're part of something special. To do it in an Open is something very special. That's been my goal for the last few weeks. Since winning Memorial, obviously I've been looking good. But St. Andrews, I've dubbed it my "Bogey Open," missing it in 2000 and 2005, so I'm glad I've changed the trend.

Q. To be first alternate in '05, what was that like?
JUSTIN ROSE: That was a terrible day. I was there from the crack of dawn waiting or hoping someone was going to pull out, and you watch all your friends and guys that you know you're every bit as good as teeing it up and getting all prepared for the tournament, you feel like a spare part on the driving range. Those sorts of situations -- it also happened to me here in the States at the PGA Championship once, and it's -- I sort of vowed -- it gives you inspiration. You don't want to be that guy. You want to be part of the action. So it does make you -- those sort of situations did fire me up to kick on and get my game going.

Q. Obviously you knew what you needed standing on the 18th tee there. Can you talk about the couple of interruptions? There was a marshal that stopped things quickly, and did you hear the fireworks going off in your backswing?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, happy 4th of July. (Laughter.)
I did hear it. I did hear it. You know, committed to the tee shot, made a good swing. I hit it down the right side, which was the aggressive tee shot, really. It got a nice little bounce in, too. So it was a good tee shot, a little fortunate, as well, with the break I got there kicking in. But I felt very calm on that tee.
But then when I backed off and started again, you know, I sensed there was a little bit more pressure on the shot than -- I felt very comfortable going into it the first time and maybe less comfortable the second time, but still, that was a big tee shot. You miss that fairway, there's no way of really getting that ball within 45 feet, so that was a key tee shot. And having got the tee shot away, I had a nice little three-quarter sand wedge in there, which you've got to hope you can make par from that point.

Q. At The Memorial, you mentioned feeling at some point like the forgotten Englishman. Now none of those guys have gotten more PGA TOUR wins than you have. What do you see for your profile and potential now?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I mean, a lot has changed in a few weeks. But I think it's really important for me -- in the past I've worried about those sorts of questions. I've worried about where I fit in, how I stack up, what people think, where do they rate me, do they or don't they, and I've got to tell you I'm less worried about that now. It's great to be No. 2 in the FedEx and probably climbing back to No. 20 in the World Rankings. Sure, that's all nice.
But right now that's not what's driving me. It's how good can I get at this game and that's a personal challenge and a personal quest, really. That's really all I'm focused on and not really worried about where I stack up to others.

Q. How much did you watch the scoreboard, especially from say 12 on, to know where you were as you came down the stretch?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think I knew I was five ahead at the turn, and I caught a glimpse of it on I think about 13. I new Charlie was at 8-under. I kept saying to myself, listen, I thought maybe Charlie could -- I wasn't paying attention. I wasn't scanning the board to see how many guys, but I thought there was a fair chance Charlie could make a bogey and that still means you're three ahead. So I thought, don't panic; keep making pars; you don't know what these other guys are going to do.
But then Ryan put a run together. I think he birdied 16 and 17, he got it to 9, and that was a great number to post. I had a chance on 16, missed the fairway at 16 which made actually then the end stretch tough. Even that wedge shot into 16 is not easy.
And then 17, I hit a wedge right where I was aiming, but it still leaves you 35, 40 feet up and over a ridge, tough two-putt, and I left that one four feet short, which I wasn't too happy about. But I was just getting it in at that point. Once I heard Ryan didn't make birdie at the last when I was on the 17th green, I knew exactly what I had to do.

Q. When are you planning to arrive at St. Andrews and what are your movements between now and then? Where will you be practicing and what will you be doing?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, we're heading off in about ten minutes to Ireland for the J.P. McManus. I'm on the charter so I'm probably holding it up right now. I'm going to do that for Monday and Tuesday and then I'm going to go Wednesday, Thursday, Friday to St. Andrews and then spend the weekend back in London and probably head up Monday night. So I'm going to do my practice and preparation while it's nice and quiet there and then come up Tuesday and Wednesday and maybe play nine holes, nine holes, something like that.

Q. Do they let you practise this week?
JUSTIN ROSE: I would imagine they do. I've got tee times. I might be playing with Bill, Jack and Ted; who knows?

Q. I'm sorry to have to do this, but can you go back to the beginning of your career when you struggled and missed all those cuts and compare where you were then as opposed to where you are now? Back then could you imagine being where you are right now having won twice in a month?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I guess in six months -- from finishing 4th at the Open I would have expected all this, this would have been normal, and then eight months or a year later, it was like, whew, I don't know, can I get back on TOUR, can I -- so it's been a long, hard road, really. But I think I have learned more in the tough times.
Playing today is a lot easier than grinding to make cuts, especially the way I had it, missing 21 in a row. It felt like every time I had a chance to make a cut, cameras would appear out of the trees and suddenly I would feel the heat. That's how I perceived it. I felt like there was that pressure on me. So playing under that pressure to make cuts when you're not playing well, that was hard.
Playing under this sort of pressure when you're playing well is like exciting. It's butterflies and it's a buzz. It's something you've really golf tournament to embrace and enjoy. I guess that's why like last weekend it's not really that big a deal if I do put it in complete perspective and put it back ten years. But it does seem like a lifetime ago now, I've got to tell you. I feel like I've had two or three careers. I feel like I'm two or three different people, I really do. You know, the young kid, and then the journeyman, and then the working my way back to being the player I wanted to be in the first place.

Q. Just to clarify about the 18th tee, did you step away from your tee shot when fireworks went off, or did you just hear it --
JUSTIN ROSE: No, there's some skyboxes around there on 17 and there were some people talking or what have you, and I was prepared to hit that tee shot, but then obviously the marshals sensed that they were getting a little bit too rowdy and then they were like "quiet, please, quiet, please," making more of the situation than it was. So I was prepared to hit it and then I backed off because of the marshals, and then the second time around was the fireworks.

Q. And then you talked about the difficulty of closing things out. Could you just talk about exactly what that's like in the last couple of holes trying to close it out?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah. You kind of know what you've got to do and it's very easy to get ahead of yourself. It's already -- it's tough to bring it back to the moment, and that's all you can control, but that's what you've got to keep doing. You've got to keep stopping your mind and saying, right, what am I doing now, what's my shot, what's my target, commit to it, accept it, move on; what's my shot, what's my target, commit to it, accept it, move on. That's the only way you can play coming in.
Ryan getting to 9, you know that there's no room for error. But still, it doesn't change your process. It does make it a little harder, but it doesn't change things, and that's all I was really trying to hang on to today.

Q. It's undeniable that you're the hottest golfer in the world over the past month. Is that a position that you're comfortable with?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think it's a fact. I mean, I don't look at it any other way. I played great. It's nice to know it's possible, et cetera, et cetera, but obviously everybody goes through various forms of consistency, doing it week in, week out, year in, year out. That's what we strive for.
DOUG MILNE: Justin, congratulations.

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