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July 4, 2012

Justin Rose


STEVE TODD:  You've not been here since 2004; nice to be back?  A lovely place, isn't it.
JUSTIN ROSE:  It is really nice.  I can't believe it's been that long to be honest .  If you had asked me, I would have said 2007, but wow, how time flies.  But it's a course I hear guys talk highly of.
Obviously I know the golf course and enjoyed it in the past.  In 2003, I think I finished third, had some success but guys enjoy the golf course and I think that's testament to the tournament.
It's always nice to come and play a course that's a great challenge.  I think heading into The Open Championship, from what I saw yesterday, it's going to prove a good test.  I think you need to drive the ball very well this week and there's a few irons off the tee in certain places but the rough thick so you've got to keep the ball in play which will keep a good test.
STEVE TODD:  The final four holes, a few of the guys have said it's one of the toughest closing stretches you'll face.
JUSTIN ROSE:  Have not played the back nine yet but from what I remember, you've got 15 where there's water all around the second shot, par‑3 16th, the pin will be tucked near the water again.  17 is the long, tough, par 4, a lot of thick rough down the left I seem to remember.  And 18, obviously we all know, tough tee shot and then tough second shot over water.
No lead is big enough in this tournament from that perspective.  That's really what you want.  It will keep everybody focused and sharp this week.  I'm hoping that a tougher golf course will play into my hands.  I feel like I have been playing well and my ball‑striking has been solid all year so I feel like this is the kind of venue that will suit me.
STEVE TODD:  Outside of the majors, WGCs and Wentworth, this is the biggest prize fund on The European Tour, and Race to Dubai leader, it would be nice to pull away again.
JUSTIN ROSE:  Very much.  So obviously that added incentive this year by having played well in the right tournaments.  I've got myself to the top of The Race to Dubai and that certainly has my attention now for the rest of the year.

Q.  Are you happy with the first part of the season?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, very happy.  It's been very consistent.  I think that's how I measure things.
Obviously the end of the year, you look back and you think, okay, how many times did I win.  That's really the measure, and World Ranking, where did that go to, but I think consistency is something that's a really good way to measure your improvement and so far, I feel like I've had a nice, consistent season.

Q.  Do you have an opinion, considering this course, in view of the 2018 Ryder Cup?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, obviously I hope to be on the team.  I've played one Ryder Cup and I'm looking good to play another one this year.  Both of them are going to be played in the USA, so to play on a home team would be a great experience.
Obviously to play in Continental Europe would be, obviously for the first time, I'm hoping I can make the Gleneagles team as well.  But certainly a British‑‑ well, not a British crowd because The Ryder Cup is so international, but it would be really great to play once again in mainland Europe and I think this golf course will be perfect for The Ryder Cup.  The finish is exciting.  I think it has a nice stadium feel.  It's a nice banking around, and there will be big crowds.
Obviously to be in Paris; to have so many people come; The Ryder Cup will be a great attraction but to be in a great city like Paris is fantastic.

Q.  You and Tiger have the same coach, Sean Foley; what are your feelings on the new Tiger Woods 2012?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Well, I think his statistics, his ball‑striking statistics, which will you look at a coach's job, a swing coach's job is to make a guy hit the ball well.  Tiger's never driven the ball so well.  He's top five or six in greens in regulation.  His ball‑striking stats, apart from maybe 2000, have never looked so good.
Sean has done a great job with Tiger.  It's interesting to see how much criticism they both get.  People keep asking if Tiger is going to make a comeback.  I think he's won four of his last ten tournaments, so that's not too bad.
But yeah, been fun for me to be part of the stable, if you like.  I've definitely had a chance to get to know Tiger a little bit more and play practise rounds, and he asks me my opinion on a few things and I get to ask him his thoughts on the game, so it's been very good learning for everybody.

Q.  How long have you worked with Sean?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Three years now.  So obviously with Hunter Mahan, as well who, is again a fantastic ball‑striker.  If you look at Sean's clients, three of us are top five, top six in greens in regulation.  So I think there's a lot of good things going on there.

Q.  How do you explain the European dominance on the World Ranking compared to a few years back?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Obviously the guys are playing very, very well.  We have always known by looking at The Ryder Cup, the Europeans have a talent and ability to get to the top of the World Rankings.
The way golf has opened up, it's more of a worldwide schedule now and the top players are playing against one another more often.  So there's a lot of World Ranking points available for European players, and obviously the more European players that get up there in the World Rankings, the more World Ranking points they bring back.
This tournament, for example, there are a lot of points here so the European guys, it's more sustainable.  All of the points used to be in America, so clearly is was sort of a self‑perpetuating, if you like, but now it's a lot more balanced.  The points are spread on both tours pretty evenly now.

Q.  Is therethe difference between the European and American players, is the college system better in the U.S. than Europe?
JUSTIN ROSE:  I don't think so.  I think both‑‑ I would say the college system in America is incredibly strong and it produces a lot of great players.  Each university has great golf coach, and there's a lot of really good programmes over there and they will continue to produce a lot of great players.
Obviously over the years, golf being new to the European countries, really, I think‑‑ it's a bit of a growing sport.  There's been a lot of investment in their education of the game; Sweden, for example, have always had a well‑organised structure to their coaching and I think you're seeing that in the numbers of the guys that are out on Tour now, obviously countries like England have always had strong grass roots programmes, and obviously France and Spain and countries like that are really becoming strong in that area, too.
So I think in the future, coaching might become a big strength in Europe, but I think right now, it's not due to that.

Q.  How long do you think it takes to make a champion then; ten or 15 years?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, I think champions are made before they start winning golf tournaments.  The coaching, it takes thousands of hours of learning, practising, getting better, improving.  So that's where you really learn your trade.
Then it comes to the point where you need to gain the experience to be a true champion.  You can have a talent when you come out.  I think champions‑‑ it's a good question.  You develop your skills, and you become a talented player that has a potential to be a champion very early and I think that's where the real hard work is done.
But then it's the mental fortitude, the experience gained; that's what makes a true champion, and a long‑lasting champion.

Q.  It's been quite a few years since you last came here.  I know the question has already been asked but what made you decide to come back?
JUSTIN ROSE:  In the years past, I've been playing a lot on the PGA TOUR in America.  It's just the way the schedule has worked.  It has not really been easy.  I won the AT&T National, which is the same date, I think in the last few years it's been a similar date to this one and I was defending champion last year.
This is the first year I really had the opportunity to come back in a while.  It's a great golf course, and I always hear players talk highly of Paris Le National.  When I look at my schedule, I look at golf courses that, one, are good courses, but, two, are quite difficult courses.  I feel like it's a good ball‑striking test this week, and I feel like that favors me over some other courses.
So you know, obviously I'm focussed on The European Tour this year and I'm doing really well in The Race to Dubai, so it's another big incentive to come back and play and really try and do well in that.

Q.  Has the course changed much since you last played here?
JUSTIN ROSE:  I don't think so.  Maybe one or two more tee box, but the shape of the holes, everything looks the same as I remember.

Q.  Do you think it's more difficult?
JUSTIN ROSE:  This year is definitely more difficult.  It looks like we've had a lot of rain.  I remember this course playing a bit more linksy.  The ball used to run a long way.  This year, it's a bit softer.  The rough is much thicker.  It's actually more like a U.S. Open‑style test this week.  The rough is definitely very punishing and you have to drive the ball very well.  So it's going to be fun.

Q.  As a member of the PGA TOUR, do you need a release to play here?
JUSTIN ROSE:  No, this is still regarded as my home tour.

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