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September 20, 2011

Justin Rose


JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Justin Rose into the interview room, fresh off of his win last week at the BMW Championship. He enters the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola No. 3 in the FedExCup standings. Take us back to Sunday, what a day, what a week for you.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it was fantastic obviously to win the BMW last week, and to win wire to wire for the first time on the PGA TOUR was icing on the cake, I suppose, and what it gives me this week, the opportunity it provides coming into this week top 5, controlling my destiny here at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. It's an opportunity I didn't really foresee happening at the beginning part of last week, so that's my attitude coming into this week is -- I spoke last week about having nothing to lose because I wasn't even in the tournament here in Atlanta, and I guess that's still the same mindset. I'm viewing this as an opportunity rather than now trying to worry about my position and trying to just think about it from the perspective of nothing to lose once again. I haven't been in this situation all year, so just let it ride.

Q. Was there a point early in your career when you had to get the thought of how much money you were playing for out of your mind, and is it hard to not have those thoughts in your mind this week, given what's at stake?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think when you're a rookie and you come out, money means so much in terms of -- one, you don't have much, but two, you're playing for money to keep your card, you're playing for money to get into tournaments. It's what the money represents, really, that gets it in your head. I don't think it's a physical -- can I pay for dinner next week, but it's always what it's going to do for you from a ranking perspective.
And from a large perspective, last week the check didn't enter into my mind once until I saw the number, and I was like, whoa, that's a big check.
But what happens this week, it's the first time it really gets people's attention and it changes and it's a big amount of money, and a lot of good can be done with that money. Yeah, of course, it's a huge bonus. But it doesn't change -- I think thinking that way about it, though, doesn't help you play better golf. The key and the strategy still is to do what you do best, to use all your skills, to stay in the moment, to keep it one shot at a time. I think that's what makes winning the FedExCup a huge challenge is to deal with the pressure of the $10 million and keep your game in shape and in check.

Q. How is the course? How do you like it and how does it fit your eye?
JUSTIN ROSE: The course is looking really, really good out there. Not as much rough as there was out there last year, but it's in perfect shape. There's not a divot out there, the greens are rolling perfectly. And I think maybe we'll get a little bit of rain, but provided it stays firm this course is always a challenge. You need to be very strategic once again which I think is what paid off for me last week is I found a really good way to play the golf course.
Today and tomorrow I'm going to try to set the course up in your mind and get a good game plan, and I think strategy will play a big part around here. You can't afford to miss on the wrong sides of the greens or it's going to be pretty severe.

Q. What did you do yesterday, go home or hang out in Chicago or a corporate outing or did you get a chance to recharge at all?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, recharged pretty well yesterday. Flew in actually to Atlanta Sunday night, got in around 10:00 and hung out with the family yesterday, found a nice park and took some advice from some old natives, the Kuchars, who used to live around here. They pointed us in the right direction and just hung out for the day, which was great.

Q. When you come off a win like this or like you had last week, is it easy for you to maintain that momentum, or is it tougher to get onto it because it's tough to win any week, especially trying to win two in a row?
JUSTIN ROSE: I feel you've got a better chance of winning again the next week than you do just turning up at a golf course. For example, I would have said I had a better chance of winning this week than I do last week because I have some confidence, and last week came out of the blue, for sure. So I feel better about my chances this week than I did last week based upon what just happened. So I think that gives me confidence coming into this week for sure.
Also, if I look at last summer, I got hot and I managed to keep it going for a good few weeks, so hopefully can do more of the same.

Q. Interesting finishing hole at the PGA Championship I think you were finishing on there. Here it's a par-3, your thoughts about the drastic difference between the two and finishing on a par-3?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think obviously the finish, the last four holes at Atlanta Athletic Club really got our attention. It was a tough finish. We heard a lot of people talking about it all week, but it provided a great finish. We saw Keegan Bradley make a couple birdies, Jason Dufner didn't do a lot wrong, but the tough finish kind of made a big swing at the end there.
This week I think playing a par-3, it's one shot. You stand up on that last hole, you're so close to winning, one swing away, and I think that's the fun thing about a par-3. A par-5 or a par-4, you're two or three shots away, whereas you can put it away with one good final swing. I think that's fun for people to watch. The spectators around 18 get to see the whole hole and really feel the situation.

Q. How do the players view this tournament and all this represents, just 30 of you here after all this? What's it like? What's the emphasis? Sum it up.
JUSTIN ROSE: I think the players really view it as a privilege. If you get here to Atlanta, to East Lake, you view it as a good year. I think it's everybody's goal at the start of the year to make the TOUR Championship. What it represents, it provides a lot of opportunity, it provides you with an opportunity to win the FedExCup, it also provides you with an opportunity to get into a lot of big tournaments next year. I think for guys that get into the TOUR Championship, they can set their schedule out -- it gives you the opportunity to set out a schedule very easily the following year. So yeah, there's a lot to play for this week and a lot to play for coming into this week to get here.

Q. You mentioned that it was out of the blue last week. Can you put your finger on what caused the transformation?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think there was a couple subtle changes that I made. One was I had a quick lesson with Sean Foley, hadn't seen him for a month or so, so it was nice just to get a couple things clarified in my golf swing, got a couple simple feels. And I think sometimes when your swing feels -- I like to play with a swing thought, but the more simple it is the better that is to play with. We had a nice lesson and we sort of worked my golf swing into position with one simple thing thought, and that was nice for the week, so I think that was a big part of the week.
And then I actually made some changes with my caddie in the way we did things. Simplified a lot of our -- our sort of addition and mathematics out there. Instead of having so many numbers going through our heads, we simplified it down to the one number of how far it was actually playing to the flag, instead of saying you've got 150 to the front plus 16 is 156, uphill 6 is 152. Instead of rattling all that around your head, he just came out with a final number and that really helped me to focus on the shot and what the shot required.

Q. I don't know how I managed to not ask you this last week, but you were out there on Tuesday kind of trying to see what all the fun was about with the belly and you picked one up in the trailer and were getting the Cliff's Notes from Charley Howell. Why did you decide not to use it? Too much too soon?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think so. I think I realize it's a knee-jerk reaction to what's been going on on TOUR. But I had a belly putter made up out of curiosity. No doubt, hit a lot of great putts on the putting green with it. I felt very comfortable with it immediately. Fooch was all for me putting it in play. We felt we had nothing to lose and putting has been an area that's been holding me back. But ironically I putted fantastically last week. I think I made the right decision. I think I was fantastic from inside ten feet, according to the stats.
But each morning before going out to the putting green, I had a few waves around with it in the locker room just to keep the routine going with what I had done each day. I don't think I really thought much about it when I was on the golf course. I didn't really change my stroke. But I really don't want to give the belly putter any credit for the win, that's for sure. There's been enough of that out here for a while.

Q. I was wondering if you could tell me how you approach the 11th hole, the first par-3 on the back side.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, 11 is a good par-3. I think it's a hole that you try to keep the ball under the hole as much as possible, or as best as possible. There's some front pins where that's very difficult to do. Sometimes the front right bunker is not necessarily a bad play to the front right pin, but if you get behind that hole, it's a very, very quick putt coming back. For me that's a hole that I'm typically hitting in the middle of the green and just trying to putt to the four corners and get out of there with a 3.

Q. Tactically how do you approach 18?
JUSTIN ROSE: Again, it's a long, tough par-3. For me if you're making 3 on that hole, you're not losing anything to the field. Again, it's a middle of the green shot. There's quite a big false front, so it's very difficult to keep it at the front flags. If you hit a great shot in there and it lands softly, great, but get it to the middle of the green, there's a big swinging left to right putt to the right part of the green, and then fast putts and walk out of there.

Q. Jose Maria Olazábal said that he hopes the Seve Trophy will get better participation from the European players and might move the day up opposite The Presidents Cup. Do you think it might be more enticing for you to head over to Europe and play it?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, for sure. I think the date really hurts the tournament right now, but we did see guys like Ian Poulter who didn't make it to Chicago made the effort to go back and play, which was great for him, and I know he was a big part of the GB&I winning that. But if you're in the FedExCup, it's not something that you're going to change your schedule to participate in, where it stands on the calendar right now. But for sure it's a tournament I've played in the past. I've really enjoyed participating in it, and with Seve having just passed away, I think it would be a tournament that I'd love to see gain some more momentum again.

Q. How much was last week a sense of relief that you added another PGA TOUR victory to your double-win season last year?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think it's nice to have another win in the next calendar year after a nice year like last year. Any time you have a winning season it has to be chalked up as a winning year. I was trying to kid myself I had had a decent year up until this point, but winning definitely moves the needle. One win is great, two is nice to back it up, and three you're beginning to sort of chug along nicely and hopefully get into a routine a little bit or learn about winning more and more and more, and hopefully it becomes easier and easier and you begin to notch up a reasonable number of wins. We'll see where that takes me, but it's nice to feel like I'm moving in the right direction.

Q. You mentioned earlier that last week you hadn't worked with Sean for about a month. Is that typical, or did it have to do with the fact that his wife was having a baby and all that? What was going on there? Was that why you had not seen him?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I hadn't seen Sean due to what was going on at home. It's not for me to say, but I know there were definitely a few complications back at home and he was spending time and doing the right thing. He had his priorities in order, and I think it's best to say that everything has gone fantastically well for them to this point, and I wouldn't have wanted to see him on the road. He was doing the right thing being at home.

Q. You may have touched on this previously, but with the belly putter, was there anything from the belly putter routine or stroke that may have consciously or subconsciously crept into your regular stroke that helped you out last week?
JUSTIN ROSE: You know, obviously if it's a subconscious thing, I don't know. (Laughter.)
I mean, I putted for three hours on the Tuesday because I was tinkering around with that and my own putter, so maybe just the fact that I put a lot of attention on my putting at the start of the week could be the reason I putted so well. If you'll excuse me, I'm off to the putting green.
Look, definitely with a belly putter, it releases a lot easier. It's anchored to you, you feel like the head swings past you, gives you a sensation of releasing and a free roll. But I've been working hard on my putting mentally to be honest with you. I haven't thought about my stroke once last week, the week before. I've been beginning to free up my putting stroke, so it puts more of a rhythm thing that I'm feeling with my putting right now rather than an arc or a stroke or a path with the stroke or a putt face angle, it's just really more feeling the rhythm. Like I said, I don't really want to give too much credit to the belly.
JOHN BUSH: Justin, we appreciate your time. Play well this week.

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