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March 9, 2012

Justin Rose


PAUL SYMES:  We just had Bubba in, between you there was 17 birdies and an eagle today.  Anyone following you kind of got their Monday's worth.
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, it was a good day.  Definitely the crowds, they picked up definitely the front nine, we probably had ten people and then by the back nine, it was a nice buzz, a nice crowd, the cameras turned up and you could definitely feel that you were part of the golf tournament.  A great group.
PAUL SYMES:  What parts of your game were you most pleased with today, or just all‑around.
JUSTIN ROSE:  I think today was the first time in a while I put it all together.  Actually Sean Foley said to me last night, he said, "Your short game is unbelievable right now.  Driving it great.  And your irons are typically the best part of your game.  So put it all together and you're in good shape."  
I think today was the first day I hit some quality iron shots, drove it well and made putts; hence, 64, which is nice.  I feel like my game right now‑‑ last Saturday, for example, iron play was terrible but short game backed me up.  I feel like everything is working, and everything can sort of get me out of trouble and I don't have to rely on one particular part of my game every single day, so it's kind of a nice feeling.

Q.  This is two good weeks in a row for you.  You've been kind of rounding into this.  You had a shot on the weekend, last week at Honda clearly, second, third, right in there in the mix.  Perking up?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, for sure.  I feel good about things.  I had a good off‑season.  Practiced well.  Came into the year feeling confident.  Didn't feel too much pressure or sense of expectation.  Felt very good mentally.  Still feel very good mentally.  You know, I think I only finished five back at Riviera, as well, after 72 holes.  I finished 13th there but kind of had it‑‑ it was very close that week to being right in the hunt, as well.  And last week, first time in contention for a while, obviously the off‑season stuff.  It was nice this week to get straight back into the mix.

Q.  The way Bubba plays, it's almost as if you can be paired with him and it's as if he's seeing a different course.  How can you feed off someone when they are playing such a different style, if you will?
JUSTIN ROSE:  No, I don't really feel like I fed off Bubba today as much, because he was kind of trailing me a little bit, and then he had a great finish.  And then obviously took the‑‑ what's the saying, he took the booty ‑‑ took the winnings.  But I feel, you can't watch him, some of the lines he takes off tees can suck you into a false sense of security, some of the lines he takes off tees, he's coiling off dog‑legs, and for me it's not doable.
So I think Mark Wilson was a lovely balance in the group to be honest with you, because Mark's line is there, my line's there and Bubba's line is over here.  It was a great group, but two fun guys to play with, I think we all had a good time out there, which was nice.

Q.  You know you lost 1‑down to Bubba today after shooting 64; pretty wild?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Man, I know.  That would be a tough one to take a couple of weeks ago at Dove Mountain, for sure.

Q.  Bubba was just in here talking about how he doesn't like the course, doesn't suit him.  Can you comment on that, just the way that he goes out and shoots what he shot today?  Is it almost kind of unfathomable to think a guy doesn't like the course and stamps a number like that?  Is it almost amusing to some degree?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, that is kind of interesting, because I think I feel like this golf course really suits the long hitter in general.  The par 5s are all on the limit for most guys.  The doglegs are all carries at 280, 290, so we can‑‑ he's taking it out of trouble, it felt like to me.
Obviously there's some angles out there with crosswinds and stuff that he's fighting.  I heard him say, like 10, for example, he doesn't like the feel but I don't think anybody likes the feel of 10, wind whipping off the right, water on the left and you know you have to keep it somewhat down the left side to have a go at the green in two.  I don't think anyone is comfortable out there 100%, on any golf course.  We are always fighting something.

Q.  You've played well in stretches and in bunches; why do you think that; and secondly, what have you done in the off‑season or early part of the season to kind of get to this point?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, I'm hoping that that bunch is going to be 12 months this year.  But you're right, I've kind of put it together in spells in the past, and I think typically, it's come down to the putter when I'm making putts, the rest of my game gets showcased, if you like.
And putting has tended to come and go a little bit, but I think I'm working on the consistency of that.  That's beginning to show up more regularly for me.  I think it's more mentally than anything.  Just giving myself a better chance week‑in, week‑out by showing up and being 100% ready to play and giving myself the best chance.

Q.  The last couple days, it seems like a lot of guys played well going off 10 earlier around 11.  Do you think going off the back, getting that momentum on some of those easier holes, do you think that's had a nice effect, for example, today?
JUSTIN ROSE:  I had not thought about that.  Obviously maybe that's what happened with‑‑ who did that, Adam Scott I think started that way yesterday.  Sometimes having 18 in the middle of the round helps a little bit because you never kind of know how your scorecard is going to look until you get through that hole.
I had not thought about it, but yeah, obviously you have some nice chances.  10 and 12 are not easy par 5s and 11 obviously has not been a particularly easy hole and you've got 13, the par3 immediately afterwards.  I don't tee up on 10 thinking I'm going to make the most of this start.  I started birdie, birdie, birdie today but it was kind of a surprise.  I wasn't going out expecting to capitalize on those holes so to speak.

Q.  Curious, you played a very traditional game off the tee, and Bubba is basically out there ad‑libbing and drawing it up in the dirt and hitting these‑‑ he told us about a 9‑iron you hit out of the rough that he moved 40 yards that he was able to cut, and I think he hit driver on every hole but the 10th.
JUSTIN ROSE:  He should hit driver there if he's worried about it.  It's the only hole he's not‑‑ (laughing).

Q.  Not sure what he's worried about, that's what I'm asking you, he plays a different type of game with this abandon and almost naïveté and aggressiveness, that I don't know a lot of people play out here.
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, I was amazed at how many times he hit driver out here.  He hit driver more than I did.  I hit 3‑wood on a few holes, but he's going after it, and it's fun to watch.  Obviously he's got great control out of bermuda, too, and he's 60, 80 yards from the green and he's not scared to let it bounce two or three times and let it roll up to the green.  He has great hands and can work the ball.  I think for example on 6 today, he was in the left rough and chopped up that 9‑iron, great shot.  But that ability to get himself out of trouble.

Q.  What kind of banter was there, and do you enjoy that or is it a bit of a distraction?
JUSTIN ROSE:  I wouldn't say it was banter necessarily.  You know, for example, he hit a chip that was going 8 feet by maybe on 2.  Hit my ball, went stiff.  He said, "Go shot to me."  
I said, "Yeah, I bet it was a good shot.  Put my ball right where you wanted it," gave that little cushion.  Little things like that.  For the most part we are out doing our own thing.  It was an easy day, complementing one another.  When someone hit a good shot, the other guys in the group appreciated it, so from that perspective, kept things light hearted.

Q.  What did you say to poor Mark Wilson at the end of this round?
JUSTIN ROSE:  I said to him, dude, you must be a bit black and blue.  I think just joking with him that obviously he's gone around, he probably feels like he's played terribly today, and he's come off 2‑under.
But he played really, really nicely.  Hits a loot of quality shots.  He's a great guy.  He's one of the nicest guys out here.  He laughed and joked about it.  He enjoyed being part of the group.

Q.  When you say Bubba can lull you into a false sense of security, do you not try to watch what he's doing, or is he just too fascinating with his lines to ignore?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, I don't let it influence my game plan strategy the way I play the golf course, but definitely you keep one eye on him just out of interest.  He's a fun guy to watch play golf.  I mean, you can tell with the crowd, they really like him and like to watch him.  When he hits tee shots, there's a bit of disbelief and stuff like that or he curves one, starts one in the trees and there's oohing and aahhing when it goes back into the fairways.  No one knows what to expect and I think it's fascinating to watch.

Q.  Was there one particular shot that you saw him hit that was like those that you just described, that was kind of jarring?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, he hit a tee shot on 3 that was in the water all day long.  Started in the middle of the lake, he was a little worried about it himself but carried about 330, and at that point, the fairway cuts back and he goes up there‑‑ it was 30 yards from the water by the time, where his ball landed eventually.  His ball was actually safe all the time, but the line he took, it was just something like, oh, it's dropping, no, he's got a flip wedge in his hand.  (Laughter).
First time I played with him in a long time actually.  He didn't actually drive it that long today, but yesterday he hit some drives that went forever.  He was 60 by me yesterday.

Q.  You ever play with anybody like that before?
JUSTIN ROSE:  No.  My bad daysI can cut it like he does,  but it's not coming back like his ball is.

Q.  Like John Daly or anything?  Is he too old?
JUSTIN ROSE:  I played a practice round with John but I think Bubba moves it differently to John.  But you know, the way they swing, I think the crowd looks pretty different to everybody else, and that's what people like to see.

Q.  How much do you watch the overall leaderboard, obviously keeping track of your own game, and how conscious are you that you two guys were starting to pull a little bit clear of the field?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, I was aware today the situation.  I think mainly because Bubba was playing with me, and you couldn't really get away from the fact of what his score was, my score was.  I just noticed that we were one and two on the leaderboard.  But you don't get too wrapped up in it at this stage to be honest with you.
To me, 36 holes, lovely position to be in at the start of the tournament and give yourself every opportunity.  But a lot of golf to play, keep your head down, keep moving forward.  Even last week, I didn't look at leaderboard on Sunday.  I just knew I needed to take a great round of golf, because I was three back of Rory and I think sometimes that's the best way to do it.

Q.  There's a good chance you and Bubba will be playing again tomorrow together.  You looking forward to it or are you going to close your eyes when he plays?
JUSTIN ROSE:  No, I'm looking forward to it.  Once you play with a guy for the first two days, it's kind of a nice, comfortable pairing in the third round.  It feels like there's nothing really different starting the weekend.  The same sort of energy and feel.  So I'll welcome playing with him again tomorrow.  And I've seen it all, so he's not going to be like‑‑ having not played with him for two days and then playing with him.  So better to play with him for two rounds and see how he goes about it tomorrow.
PAUL SYMES:  Great round, Justin, play well tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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