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July 14, 2010

Justin Rose


ALI BUCHAN: Ladies and gentlemen, let's make a start. We're joined by Justin Rose. Thanks for joining us. A couple of fantastic wins in the U.S. recently. Is this the most confident you've been coming into the Open?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I mean, I think it must be, for sure. It's one of those things, isn't it? Confidence comes with good play, and there's certainly been some of that recently for me to enjoy. But coming in here, I really don't feel necessarily that all those good weeks are going to help me all that much on Thursday. Thursday is about a new challenge, a new week, a new golf course. But should the week progress nicely and I find myself in contention, then that's when I might be able to draw upon the last few weeks. But until that point it's very much just getting down to business and enjoying this new challenge.

Q. When you woke up this morning and you looked out the window and saw the rain and the wind, typical St. Andrews in the middle of summer, what was your reaction and your thoughts?
JUSTIN ROSE: Let's get out there (laughter.) No, it wasn't too bad, actually. I got out here at about 7:00 o'clock and did a quick warm-up and played the back nine at about 8:00. The weather was holding off quite nicely. It was the perfect breeze that I wanted to play the golf course in. I practiced last week with a westerly wind and obviously it's blowing out of the east right now, so I was quite excited to feel like I've played both sets of winds that impact the golf course. It was a good opportunity to go out and do the last minute preparations. But the last four or five holes coming in were crazy, really, the proper sideways rain that everybody dreads here.
But I think it was a valuable hour or so. Obviously I've got all day to relax now, so it wasn't a big deal. But I just said to you earlier that I think it was a good hour spent to know what's possible and what's not possible in terms of the shots you can hit and what you can get away with out there.

Q. Just talk about shot selection at hole 9. What's the best way to play this hole?

Q. Yeah.
JUSTIN ROSE: For me with any sort of crosswind there you've got to lay it up short of that 266 yard bunker which leaves you about a wedge, about 120 yards in. It's the flattest green on the golf course, so for me if you can just get yourself 15 feet there, there's a realistic birdie opportunity. If you start trying to thread it down the left-hand side, you can bring bogey into play but really you shouldn't bring bogey into play if you're hitting it short of that first bunker. But if it starts blowing downwind the whole thing changes, and you take driver at the green.

Q. There's been much discussion this week about lengthening of the Road Hole. How did it play today in that wind?
JUSTIN ROSE: I didn't even go back there today onto the back tee because there was no way we would be put back there, I don't think, on a day like today. So it's nice to have that option. I think it's a good tee box if the weather is good, or if it's a favorable wind for it. It's a good addition. I think on a day like today, hopefully we'll be moved forward. I don't know, that's where I practiced from.
But I think on any day like today when the wind is in off the left you've just got to accept that hole. If you can play it in 18 for the week, I think you'd be delighted. I think it's the one hole you can't win the tournament there but you can lose it there, and that's the mentality for that hole. It's definitely a tough hole.

Q. With the exception of Pebble Beach and maybe San Diego, we don't get sideways winds and rain and play at the same time. Could you talk about what kind of shots you need to play, the variety of shots you need to play, and whether or not you're comfortable with playing in this type of weather?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, for sure. I mean, obviously I think the Florida Swing you get a lot of wind there. I do find you get a lot of windy conditions in America where you do really need to learn to control your ball flight. But the difference is you're still carrying the ball through the air there. Over here you've got the option to really just hit it knee high and just run the ball in. That's where shot selection comes in.
I think often if you're running the ball in, a lot of the slopes are kicking your way from the hole but you can keep yourself out of trouble. You're never going to make birdies that way. I think to make birdies you've got to hit great shots, hold it up, take on the tough option to get the ball close to the flag around here. It does give you the option to just bunt it around and keep it somewhat in play, and that's the great thing about links golf. Even on a terrible day you have that option of just scuttling it along the ground. You're never really going to gain too much or take the course on, but you can keep yourself out of a little bit of trouble.

Q. You remain an inspiration to people. How important is that to you and how important were your teenage years playing golf?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I have very fond memories growing up in the Hampshire Golf Union and I still stay in touch with the powers that be down in the County. I try to be an ambassador for them on a level where they use my name to help promote golf there. But that's for me the very least I can do, because so much of what I did as an amateur has formed me as a player. I had great times.
I miss the camaraderie of the team element. We used to travel as a team and go and play against other counties and play Match Play foursomes in the morning and singles in the afternoon, so that was great fun. I think it's nice obviously for counties like that to be able to use a player, not just me, there's a few of us, Richard Bland, Matt Blackey, some guys that have made it through to the Tour in the last ten years or so. So it's nice to know that the system they have in place does go on to produce good players. It's a nice goal for the youngsters to aspire to.

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, sure, it's progression. It hasn't happened overnight, though, but I wasn't playing County Golf last week. So that would be a totally different ballgame to turn up here and go, wow, it's a different world. But it's been a 12-year progression, so it's begun to feel -- it feels seamless now over time.

Q. You're no stranger to playing with Tiger. Can you talk us through how different that might be tomorrow given the spotlight is going to be on him tomorrow.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, sure. It's the first time I've played with him since he's made his return to golf here, so I don't quite know how that's going to feel. But playing with him has never been a problem. He's very courteous to play with. He acknowledges you out there. If you hit great shots, he always compliments them. He is a great playing partner from that perspective. If you do get into conversation he's more than willing out there. Playing with Tiger from that perspective, no problem at all.
I think the distractions come from the hustle and the bustle on the outside, outside the ropes, and I think this course is probably maybe the easier one to do because everything happens on the outside perimeter, and where the actual action is taking place is all in the middle, so you can kind of feel like you're getting away from it to a certain extent.
You know, that's the way I'm viewing it anyway.

Q. It's been a terrific year so far for the English with you in the vanguard of that and last year ended pretty well with Lee at the top of the Order of Merit. Can an Englishman win it this year?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yes, they can. I fully expect, whether you take it a little bit wider into British obviously or even European, I expect one of us to be in contention on Sunday, just pure numbers. Numerically you look at the World Rankings, you look at the opportunity for us, it's probably better than it's been, dare I say, numbers-wise ever, I don't know. Just using that basis, I think one of us will be in contention Sunday afternoon.

Q. You seemed to indicate in one of your answers that you had been here last week. Can you tell us how long you've been here and what your preparations are. And then B, your experience at St. Andrews and what St. Andrews means to you. Obviously it's, to all of us, a large experience being here.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, for sure. Having flown over from the States directly to the JP McManus Pro Am, I came straight here to St. Andrews, had a day off here on Wednesday, we traveled over here on Wednesday and then Thursday and Friday I played 18 holes each day which was great, westerly breeze, saw the golf course, felt like I was ahead of the game. Went back home to London, left my golf clubs up here so spent two days doing nothing. My goal was to be bored and ready and itching to come back up here, and that happened. I had a great two days at home just relaxing, which I thought was important, been quite hectic.
And then Monday just did a lot of short game practise, just getting acclimatised, all the long putting, the bump-and-runs, once again, getting my feel going, and then I played 13 holes yesterday and then six today. I feel like I've seen the golf course, like I said, in both winds. I feel quite prepared in my lines and my game plan. That's the great thing about St. Andrews, to go to the second part of the your question. It's one of those places I think everybody gets it. You hear about horses for courses and what have you. I've always enjoyed playing here, but I think everybody enjoys coming here. I don't think I'm alone in the fact that you arrive here. It's just the town. You don't even necessarily have to love the golf course but just the place, it just gets you. It's got a wonderful aura about it. I think an Open Championship at St. Andrews is the iconic tournament, and it doesn't get any bigger than this for a British player.

Q. In light of what Tom Watson did last year, do you envision yourself playing until you're 60 and playing competitively at that age? And do you think that older players will increasingly or could be competitive in events like this?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, sure. I think it's important just to realise what a phenomenal achievement that was last year. Had he gone on to win, I think we'd be debating was it the greatest achievement in sports, et cetera, et cetera. To think that 60-year-olds or 59-year-olds are going to go on to compete in Open Championships in years to come, I don't know, but it does prove it's possible. Especially with guys that are incredibly dedicated to their fitness and physique, which is becoming a trend in golf now, that's going to be an option I think later on.
In terms of me going on to that age, well, the way I'm breaking it down, I see the next ten years as my prime, where I really feel like I'm going to have the enthusiasm and energy to really devote everything I've got to being the best player I can be. And then who knows after that, I don't know what life will bring, whether family becomes more important or what. Maybe not. Maybe you'll still have that drive. But as long as you keep the love for the game, that's what's important. That's what I see in guys like Watson. He'd be out there today probably practising or -- I played with him at the Open at Birkdale in 2008, and I played with him in similar conditions, and he just looked still like he was enjoying it. It was amazing to watch. Love for the game is the important part.

Q. Do you want the weather to be as bad as it can be the next four days?
JUSTIN ROSE: No, I don't want it to be as bad as it can be. It'll be what it'll be and you'll deal with it. But I think I like a test. Just the way I pictured, it would be nice and sunny, 20-mile-an-hour cross-breeze across the golf course. I think that would have tested everybody but made it very, very enjoyable. If we get a little bit of that, that would be nice, and if we get a little bit of the extreme stuff, then so be it. That's definitely part of an Open Championship. You come here at least expecting that it could be part of an Open Championship.

Q. Does it help you adjust?
JUSTIN ROSE: It depends. The draw can be lopsided if it's incredibly tough one morning and then dies out, so depends on where you lie on that whole thing.
I think if it's really incredibly difficult it can be a little bit of a leveler, too. Who knows what can happen to you out there. It's just a matter of digging in and keeping it as steady as possible. I don't think it increases or decreases chances at that point. There might be an element of luck more involved in terms of the draw if it's a lopsided thing, but who knows.

Q. You've called this the bogey Open because of how many misses you've had. Can you describe the difference in your feelings this year as opposed to the last times you didn't get in.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, well, the fact that I'm here it was looking like being my bogey Open. I missed 2003, 2005, and to me it's the Open to play. It's the one I've wanted to play. I was first reserve here in 2005, sat there all day on the driving range, watched everybody tee off. Was here at like 6:00 in the morning until 4:00 in the evening. It's probably one of the longest fields teeing-off-wise, so it was a long tough day.
I think I was first reserve at the next major, Baltusrol, '05 again, and that spurred me on. I just did not like the feeling. I wanted to be a part of it, felt I should be a part of it, so earlier this year I was facing a few struggles in terms of the qualification process by committing to play in a tournament in Europe. I couldn't get back for the qualifier in America, and then by playing The Memorial I missed the qualifier in Europe, so it was a really tough situation. But ultimately I said if I back myself to play well, there were still ways in, the mini Money List that I ended up getting on in or the leading guy not exempt in the last couple tournaments. I just felt there's still ways. I'm glad it worked out, obviously.

Q. Whenever Tiger came back he said he wanted to improve relations with golf generally, with the public, et cetera, et cetera. How much has he done to improve his relationship with fellow players like yourself?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think probably just from the outside, to be honest, I have hardly had any -- I have just had not more than a passing hello really. He congratulated me the other day after winning the AT&T, which is a tournament that supports his foundation, so that's probably as much interaction as I've had with him. But that's not really anything abnormal. Me and Tiger in the past haven't really had mutual friends or had the opportunities to go out for dinners or what have you. Always been very pleasant and said hello, so that hasn't changed.

Q. Is he generally quite expansive with his fellow professionals?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, in the locker room he definitely sits down with the boys, and if there's a rain delay he'll be part of the group hanging out and chatting and doing whatever. He feels very comfortable around the guys, I think.

Q. For the benefit of fans that may not understand links golf that are watching on television, could you pick a hole that could bear some explanation as to how the players are playing it that may seem strange the way they're doing it?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, the 12th hole. On the card it's 380 yards. One day you might see guys if we get a favorable wind hitting driver and if you get the right bounce you can roll it up, potentially have an eagle chance there. This year, I had no idea what to do with the right-to-left wind when I played it when I came here, and now I've got no idea what to do with a left-to-right wind, either.
It's just such a tough hole and it's one of the holes where all the bunkers are blind. There's a set of bunkers at about 220 yards where you need to lay up short of and there's another set of bunkers at 260 yards where you can try and hit a great shot to finish in between them, but the way the course is playing recently it's quite a long drive to carry the 260 yard bunker. And if you carry that one there's a bunker 290 right in the middle of the fairway. So really I think a lot of the guys are aiming into the right hand rough. I think if the wind is off the left you'll see guys literally playing it into the rough. That rough from the tee it's wispy but it's still long rough. That's the best option. And if the wind is off the right you might see guys aiming into the left rough. That may bear some explanation what guys are attempting to hit into the rough.
The way I've been playing the last couple days is hitting 6-, 7-iron off the tee and leaving an 8-iron into the green. You've only got a five- or ten-yard shelf on which the pin is going to be placed, and if you're short of it, it runs down and you're left with a tough two-putt and if you're aggressive it rolls off the other side and you're left with a tough two-putt. So for a 380-yard hole it can be an eagle chance some days. It's a tough, tough hole.

Q. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about your work with Gio Valiante and it wasn't long between when you started working with him and when you started getting on this run.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think for sure it's been great for both of us. I think obviously it was just the little nudge that I needed in the right direction. There was so much going well or going right, and Gio certainly has helped me get back to basics and really just helped me put a few things in perspective, really. I think what I was doing is I knew I was playing so well and swinging the club so well and my range sessions were so good that that ultimately was creating a little bit of pressure, stroke frustration when things weren't happening on the golf course and I was just maybe getting in my own way a little bit.
Really all we've done is being able to focus on the right things on the golf course, harness what's been happening for a long, long time on the range and how I've been feeling about my game. It suddenly just helped to translate into taking it onto the course and, therefore, results.

Q. He said you're the only one who's ever taken notes in your sessions.
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, obviously I was excited about it. I'm quite diligent in that fact normally. I like to try and be prepared as much as possible. I see preparation as a big part of performance. So I guess, yeah, I like to just take it on board as much as possible.

Q. What would happen right now if Great Britain and Ireland were to take on the U.S. Ryder Cup team? And the second question I have is, you guys don't play in a vacuum out here. Was there a win that inspired you, Casey at Houston, Poulter at the Match Play, Rory at Wachovia? You pay attention to what's going on out there, was there a win by one of your close mates that you looked at and kind of said, yeah, I can do that?
JUSTIN ROSE: Sure. I think to flip it completely the other way it was the fact of not worrying about them winning helped me to go on and win, not putting pressure on myself to be one of the gang, to be measured the same way, or if they can do it, I can do it. For me a big part of that was taking all that pressure away, getting rid of that. I think for a while I was looking at it, feeling like I was being left out or these guys were achieving everything. I knew I was as good as but not doing it.
It was a fact of not letting their wins inspire me, if you know what I mean. It inspired me because they're great guys, great players. And I thought Rory's win was probably the most fantastic win I've ever seen -- well, not ever seen, but just the way he did it. He eagled the 7th to make the cut on Friday and then went on and won by a bundle. It was amazing. That golf course is one that I really respect. It's a hard course, and he took it to its knees on the weekend. It was good to see. It was fun watching him win I should say.
And the first part of your question?

Q. What would happen if GB & I took on the U.S. Ryder Cup team?
JUSTIN ROSE: Right now it would be a close game, like the old Ryder Cup was back in the day, and I think for the first time it would probably be a close-run thing for sure. We've always had one or two great, great players. We now have a great depth to the team. That would be the difference.
ALI BUCHAN: Justin, thanks for coming in.

End of FastScripts

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