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July 31, 2013

Justin Rose


SARAH GWYNN:  Justin, thanks for joining us and welcome back to the WGC Bridgestone Invitational.  Just some of your thoughts ahead of this week.
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, obviously this is a venue that I really enjoy being at.  I think it's a golf course that really lets you know where you are with your game, very straightforward in the sense that you need to play good golf.  You need to drive the ball well, and it offers you the opportunity that if you do do that, you can play well.  But certainly if you're off your game, it lets you know, as well.
I think, yeah, that's really‑‑ a couple of the venues we've been playing recently, Muirfield and even to the extent Merion, are quite fiddly golf courses where you're hitting irons off the tee and there's a quirkiness to them whereas this is pretty much straightaway.  It's a different test and something I'm looking forward to.  Obviously it's a really big event but also a great lead into next week, too.
SARAH GWYNN: And you had a great result here last year.  That must give you a lot of confidence.
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, I just don't remember‑‑ yeah, I finished fifth here last year.  Yeah, absolutely.  It's a golf course that I think‑‑ this gave me a kick start to the end of the season last year.  I think this was the start of me playing some really good golf.  And I feel like after the U.S. Open, I've had a little bit of downtime and a little bit of a lull, and I feel like this is the start of the rest of the season, obviously, and I feel like I'm motivated and hungry to play some good golf for the rest of the year.
This event is very key for me obviously with the FedExCup, but also Race to Dubai, the way it counts for both tours.  And I'm leading the Race to Dubai in Europe right now.  This week and next week are very important events from that perspective, too.

Q.  These WGC events are obviously among the biggest events you guys play for.  How does it feel coming into one for the first time as a major winner and has it affected your preparation at all in any way?
JUSTIN ROSE:  You know, coming into this as a major winner, I think the way I view it is that really shouldn't make any difference.  The golf course doesn't know that.
Basically each and every week you've got to build a whole new body of work.  You've got to bring your skill set and apply it week in, week out.  You can't rest on your laurels.  I think that's one thing that I really‑‑ I didn't expect to, but after the U.S. Open I found that just time‑wise, time constraints‑wise, I'd miss the odd session in the gym and I missed the odd practice session just because there was a lot going on, and your game soon lets you know about that.
I feel like the last couple of weeks I've had the chance to get back to normal, get back to doing all the right things, get back to doing all the good things that work for me and hopefully beginning to feel really good about my game once again.  At the Open Championship I didn't quite have it, but there's always a little bit of an ebb and flow.
But coming into a World Golf Championships when you play against the best players in the world, you definitely get up for that, and on this golf course particularly.  I think it's going to be a good test and a good week.

Q.  Justin, you talked about the lull.  What was missing at Muirfield?  Was it inevitable that there was going to be a dropoff after that career high?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Possibly, yeah, you could see it could be inevitable, sure.  I was doing my best to get 100 percent ready that week.  I think I came in a little bit under‑prepared with my body, under‑prepared with my game, and on that kind of golf course, there's a lot of variability out there, as well, like just the whole setup, how fast it was playing.  It was just‑‑ you either kind of got into it or you didn't, and I found I just didn't adjust to it well enough or fast enough.

Q.  You said in your birthday blog yesterday that when life gets very busy, generally you don't play quite as well.  As a major champion is that something you're going to have to work on, to keep your life sometimes less than busy?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, absolutely.  I think all of us have to probably deal with that to some extent.  Time management is something that I've probably‑‑ has always been something I've had to work on and fight and struggle with, so it's no different.  But, yeah, it's just a good reminder of what makes me tick.  I think it's perfectly manageable.
I don't think life has been crazy since winning the U.S. Open.  I think it's all pretty much manageable, just good for me to relearn those lessons.
I mean, things always need to be weighed up, and I don't think I'm going to go galavanting around too much at the end of the season.  I'm just going to play all the key tournaments, all the right tournaments, all the tournaments that are going to help me do well in the FedExCup and in the Race to Dubai.  And apart from that, I think I'm going to take it pretty easy.

Q.  Have you been to Oak Hill yet?  And if so, what about this course this week can prep you for Oak Hill next week?
JUSTIN ROSE:  You know, I haven't‑‑ obviously I played Oak Hill in 2003, but I haven't been back since.  But my caddie did a little bit of a reccy trip over the weekend and he reported back that it's pretty much a driving golf course.  You're going to have to drive it fairly straight and without too much shape.  A lot of straightaway par‑4s, a lot of holes where you're just literally having to get up and hit a good solid 300‑yard tee shot.
I feel like this course will be great preparation for that.  Like I was just saying, it's a golf course here where you have to just get up and play really well tee to green.  Sometimes straight par‑4s are often the hardest, where there's not a lot of shape to them, and you do have quite a few of those out there on this golf course.

Q.  In general do you prefer to play the week before a major championship or rest, relax, practice and prepare for it?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Typically I like to rest, relax but really practice and prepare for the specific task, specific shots you're going to need.  But I think the U.S. PGA, the way that course is typically‑‑ the way that tournament is typically set up, I think it's just a‑‑ there's less of a unique qualities that you need.  It's not a links course and it's not like Augusta, but it's just a good, solid test of golf where I guess between 6‑ and 12‑under par is a good score, and that's typical of the type of golf I like to play.  I like to be playing good, solid, tough golf courses, and hopefully the PGA Championship will kind of fit into that mindset.

Q.  You talked about your disappointment at Muirfield a few weeks ago.  Are you disappointed in what Lee went through that final round and have you spoken to Lee?
JUSTIN ROSE:  No, I haven't seen Lee yet.  I don't know if he's around yet.  I'm not going to bring it up necessarily, but obviously, yeah, I think it would have been a great continuation for English and British sport.  It's been an amazing summer back at home, both weather‑wise and results‑wise, and I think that would have just kept the fairytale going, I suppose.
I watched a little bit of it, just looked like he got off to a ‑‑ he just had a little bit of a rough run, I suppose, 7, 8, 9, and sort of took the wind out of the sails.  When you start a round with a 2‑shot lead, it always looks like a big lead and always looks like you should go on to win a tournament, and obviously when you do start with a 2‑shot lead you feel like you should win, but a 2‑shot lead is nothing really.  It can disappear really fast.  I don't really know what to say, but at the end of the day he's got to just keep knocking down that door.

Q.  Now that you're a little longer removed from your major victory, what surprised you most about the trappings of it?  What took you by surprise or overwhelmed you the most about it?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Well, I think it's just a good lesson to learn.  My dad once gave me that poem by Rudyard Kipling, "If," and basically the imposters of success and failure, you've got to treat them the same in the sense that if you keep coming back to the past and resting on your laurels and being U.S. Open champ, that doesn't work.  You've got to very much stay in the present, stay in the moment.
So I think I've learned a lot about how to keep going forward and how to keep improving as a player.  But I just think the reaction from golf fans, obviously they really separate the majors to regular TOUR events, and I think especially over here.  The golf fan over here, they'll be calling you "champ" and stuff like that, whereas in the past if you win a tournament it would be like "well done last week."  After winning the U.S. Open, it was like, "great win, champ," "well done, U.S. Open champ."  So that really says that you are the champion of the nation for that week, for the year.  So that's what surprised me is how they really differentiate it.
SARAH GWYNN:  Thanks, Justin.  Good luck this week.

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