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September 18, 2011

Justin Rose


MARK STEVENS: We'd like to welcome 2011 BMW Championship winner Justin Rose. You move to 3 in the FedExCup Playoffs, pick up your third TOUR win. Do you want to talk about your thoughts and your round today.
JUSTIN ROSE: Sure, 3 is a great number on both accounts. To win my third tournament feels like I'm sort of moving in the right direction, and to move to 3 on the FedExCup list and give myself control of my own destiny next week in Atlanta is something I didn't foresee at the beginning part of the week, so just an amazing outcome this week.
I played some amazing golf at times, and today was just I guess a pretty gritty kind of round. It was a tough day, and there were ebbs and flows in that round. Sort of slightly shaky start, couldn't quite get the speed of the greens with the dew on them and then started playing really, really well and then wobbled a little bit but managed to get it done, and it was an amazing feeling making two great swings at the last and being able to enjoy the walk up there.

Q. You eroded to 1 when you had the chip-in on 17. Can you walk through that hole, the emotion and what you faced there with that?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, you can boil the whole day down to that moment. John Senden was just a rock out there, bogey-free round, that was awesome. But I knew it was kind of coming down to me. Either I was going to fritter it away or make something happen to win the tournament. That's how it felt. I nearly took the chicken stick out there and putted it on 17, and I had a little chat with myself. I kind of said to myself, I was very aware, very conscious, and I said these are the moments where tournaments are won.
It was an easy chip, it just needed committing to, just not wimping out, and it was just lovely to have that sort of dialogue with yourself and then see it play out in your favor, and it was just nice to have made the right decision and then executed it. That's a great lesson to learn that down the stretch it does come down to one moment sometimes, and you just need to be ready for it.

Q. The course was kind of criticized this week. How did it play today, and will you miss this venue?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yes, I will miss it. I really don't see the level of criticism that it gets. I don't think it's that justified. I think the course is a very strategic golf course, and it tells you to play it a certain way, and if you don't play it that way, you will get punished out there. But I had a great game plan all week, my caddie was phenomenal out there, Mark Fulcher is his name. I think we had a great teamwork week, and I think that was the kind of golf course that just didn't let up. You just had to hit good shots to the middle part of the green a lot of the time.
It was in phenomenal shape this year, and they did a great job righting the ship from last year when it wasn't in such good shape. So I think everybody here at Cog Hill actually deserves praise.

Q. I understand you went on a buddies' trip last week to Long Island and played four different courses, four different caddies. Was there anything that you took away from that experience and brought in that helped your mindset or strategy-wise?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I joked yesterday that got me back in contention. I finished tied second in the boys' trip. But I think sometimes when you get away from the game mentally but you're still playing the game, so I was still kind of keeping my eye in, so to speak, but I think mentally last week I got away from the grind of everything, the grind of the year, the grind of the FedExCup, and just hung out with some buddies, and maybe that recharged my batteries. Even though I played golf four times, I think I came into this week a lot more refreshed.

Q. To follow up, when you have those caddies out there, they're good caddies, but they kind of give you the simple stuff, give the yardage, your target, sort of where to hit it --
JUSTIN ROSE: You've been speaking to Fooch, haven't you.
Yeah, I did simplify things this week. I changed a couple things up with Fooch, also my caddie's nickname, but in the past it's throwing number after number after number at me, and this week we boiled it down to the number that the shot was actually playing and then committed to the shot from there. Basically just took out a lot of the periphery and just boiled it down to he was just ending up giving me one number. And it really worked. I didn't carry a yardage book this week, which is something I normally do. So yeah, some big changes there from that perspective, and that's why I give him a lot of credit this week. I actually said to him, Fooch, I want you to caddie for me this week. In the past I've been taking -- I've been taking the responsibility because I thought that's what was best for me but it was getting hard work out there, so eventually I just said to him, listen, caddie for me.

Q. Do you think getting rid of that extraneous information and just simplifying it just helped?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think for sure. Two things this week: I had a great lesson with Foley on the range on Tuesday and got the swing to a spot where the ball was going where I was looking, and then the changes I made with Fooch simplified the mental side of the game and enabled me just to not get in my own way. That's the best way of putting it.

Q. Which club did you chip with? Was it 60-degree?
JUSTIN ROSE: It was a 54-degree.

Q. And did you and Fooch both debate the putter issue there?
JUSTIN ROSE: I actually did. I asked him, I said, what do you like, and he said, I see it as a 54 landing on the green, bit of check, run it, releasing. Had he said putter, I would have putted it, so he gets kudos there for sure.

Q. Just to get back to the buddies' trip, I know you've talked about it so much this week, but you said your brother won. Does winning this week sort of bring back bragging rights in the family?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think so. I think maybe I one-upped him this week, maybe.

Q. Trophy is a little bigger.
JUSTIN ROSE: Exactly. But it's all relative. Last week was his major.

Q. You had a stretch there on the back nine, I think you missed four fairways out of five, some quite convincingly, and then you pulled it together at the end. What went wrong, and what did you do to get it right?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I felt like I had got myself into a nice groove on the front nine with swinging the club well, and then when the rain came down pretty hard, I felt -- I just felt uncomfortable with the driver. When you get a lot of water on the face of the driver, the ball spins less, and I just felt a little bit uncomfortable about how the ball was coming off the club. I was then sort of chopping and changing with the jacket, jacket on, jacket off, tried a tee shirt for a while, I was kind of just struggling then to find a feel, to find something comfortable with the conditions really. The conditions were really making it tough. And then I think luckily the last few holes it stopped raining. I put this little white thing on here, and again, I felt a lot more comfortable, I didn't have too many layers on, I didn't have baggy waterproofs to deal with. I still made a bad swing on 15 even though the rain had stopped and what have you.
But yeah, things were a little awry there through the middle but I put it down to the conditions and not being able to feel comfortable in them, which is obviously my fault, but I guess the two swings I made on 18 were clutch and came at the right time.

Q. Did you have the 54-hole lead at AT&T last year, too, so is this two in a row for you now?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it's like a trend.

Q. Yeah, the right kind of trend, right? That's kind of my point. Are you getting to the point where you feel a little more comfortable with 30,000 eyes on you and having the target on your chest and being the marked man?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I felt absolutely -- in terms of my hands and my feel and my heart rate and everything like that, I felt absolutely 100 percent in control today, never felt uncomfortable, didn't feel nervous on the first tee, felt like I had my game. All week actually, and I think that's a calmness more than anything.
You know, I practice closing. Every Sunday when I'm not in contention, I practice it. I practice doing the right things, practice trying to have the same mindset. I think it's very difficult just to expect to have it when you're in contention and when you're in the lead. I think you need to practice a strategy and a form of doing it even when you're lying 30th. And this week I've improved my position with my final round most of the time. I think I'm 15th in scoring average on Sunday, so I've definitely made some conscious changes and taken steps to improve on that aspect of my game.

Q. Two-part question. What was the ultimate thing that made you change to the 54? Was it Mark's suggestion to use the 54 rather than putt it?
JUSTIN ROSE: I just -- yeah, I knew 54 was the right club. I knew it was the club that if you weren't chickening out you would hit. If it was Thursday, that's the shot you'd hit. He just nudged me in the right direction, he saw the game the right way, he wasn't being influenced by the situation, which that's what you need a caddie for right at the right time. Our heads out there can start to spin a little bit and get a little bit clouded in that situation, and that's when you call upon your man. That's when you want him to be the voice of reason.

Q. How much better is your chipping since you started working with Mark Roe in April?
JUSTIN ROSE: Better for sure. Rowie has given me a couple of simple keys and a simple understanding of doing, I guess, what I did as a kid again. I think for some reason I got myself in a bit of a mess with my short game, I was way too open to the shot, squared up my shoulders and just -- yeah, it's been a lot better for sure. And I think I proved it down the stretch today. I missed a couple greens and I scrambled pretty nicely when I had to.

Q. Can you just talk about your moment on 18 there with your family after you tapped in? I'm assuming that's your son?
JUSTIN ROSE: It is, yeah.

Q. Who ran out there and gave you the low five, and what did he say, if anything?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, that's a moment I dream about and I look forward to. Even this morning I got a bit ahead of myself to imagine what it would be like to have the family run out on 18. I think that that is one of the most special moments because the family live and die by it as much as you do, or live and breathe it I should say as much as you do, and they sacrifice as much as I sacrifice, so to share that as a family is a very special moment.

Q. Did your son say anything?
JUSTIN ROSE: No. He was just like overwhelmed, I guess, again. But it was fun. It's just fun to have him run out there. Kids are great at that moment. They're so innocent. What's this all about?

Q. You said outside that in '97 you played in the U.S. Amateur here and the course beat you u7p and now you've returned the favor. Is winning here a vote to come back here in '13?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I certainly would like to see it back here. For me the Chicago crowd have always come out and supported this tournament. It's got a lot of history here, too, now, and I'd certainly be pushing for it to come back. I think this year condition-wise, I know they made changes and I know the changes aren't necessarily to everybody's liking, but it's a championship golf course that's incredibly tough. But it was in great shape this year, and it proved to be a really good test.

Q. Where does this win stack up in your career? Your other wins on TOUR have been at tough golf courses and other big events, but where does this one rate?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think the manner in which I won this tournament, it rates as high as the best tournament I've ever won, just by going wire to wire. Actually I think I did win a tournament in Japan once in '02 wire to wire. But to win at this level with this strength of field wire to wire I think gives me a lot of confidence, and I think it's a big step up. Obviously to say it's -- obviously being a playoff event puts it in that special category of tournaments, too. But there's also something very special about winning Jack Nicklaus's tournament. With respect to the great man, it's hard to put it above that or below it. But both top favorites of mine.

Q. You had said after the first round that it was one of your best rounds you ever played, and the second round you said you got the most out of your scores. Would you think this might be the best tournament you've ever played then throughout the whole tournament as a whole?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think mentally this is the best I've ever been in terms of being very under control with my emotions, being very calm, being very aware of the situation and feeling comfortable with it. You know, as it turned out, I may have had better ball-striking weeks as a whole, but I think this week as a competitor and as a professional, I think it was probably my best-ever performance.

Q. Did I hear you right by the green? Did you say coming out of Deutsche Bank you never would have imagined being here based on where your swing was?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I guess so. Sometimes when you're not playing well with this game, playing well seems a mile away. You're watching Webb Simpson and Chez Reavie coming down the stretch and they're making putts and hitting great shots, and obviously you're imagining the pressure that they're under and they're still able to do that, and you think, wow, their game must be in such great shape, and then all of a sudden the next week you're doing the exact same thing. It's such an important lesson to learn looking back with the benefit of hindsight now that knowing the next time you're in that situation it's just a day away or a round away. I think that's the great thing about this game is it always tests us and it always -- just always keeps sort of dangling a carrot and making it tough.
MARK STEVENS: Thanks a lot, Justin. Good luck next week in Atlanta.

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