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November 6, 2013

Justin Rose


STEVE TODD:  Justin, thanks for joining us.  We'll touch on The Race to Dubai scenarios in a minute.  If you can just start by giving us your thoughts on being back in Turkey.  Obviously you won a different format last year and different place, but give us your thoughts on being here for this event.
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, sure.  It's great to be back in Turkey.
Obviously as we can all see outside, beautiful weather, perfect conditions for golf.  I think in general, great golfing destination.  That's what I learned last year; Turkey wasn't on my radar as a golfing destination in terms of holiday golf and people trying to escape a harsh winter in Europe.
We are seeing another golf course‑‑ I thought Antalya last year was a great track and Maxx Royal, as well, it's an incredible resort.¬† We came here for the gala dinner last year for the tournament and obviously I think everybody is really enjoying staying in the hotel and being here.¬† It's a good spot.
STEVE TODD:  And on The Race to Dubai, a great week last week, caught up a bit of ground, still all to play for in the last two events, isn't it.
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, absolutely.  I think last week was in a sense the perfect week for The Race to Dubai to tighten up.  Henrik, the leader, didn't have the best week and a few of the chasing pack had good, solid weeks and grained some ground.
So it's going to be exciting going into Dubai and I think that's what the race‑‑ well, who knows what happens this week.¬† There's obviously a lot of money at stake here, and if Henrik was to win, he'd probably be in a very strong spot.
But the likelihood is that it will all come down to Dubai, which I think is exactly what you want for the tournament, the final tournament of the year.

Q.  What's your take on what Ernie Els had to say and the fact that he and Sergio and Charl say it's asking too much to play the three out of the four, if you are going to play Dubai.  What's your take on that?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† You know, I understand the fact that everybody's‑‑ the end of the day, you play tours and you're member of tours, but as far as I see it, you're sort of independent contractors in this game.¬† You've got to try and play a schedule that you feel is going to give you the best opportunity to play well when you want to play well.¬† And if that means pacing yourself, that means pacing yourself.
But I also understand, you know, like the FedExCup.¬† There were many tweaks and changes before it was so‑called, got right, and might be the same on this tour.¬† This is the first time in doing this and the first time there's been this new system.¬† So I don't think anything is set in stone.
But I also understand the Tour's point of view of trying to incentivise guys and trying to create strong tournaments.  They are asking sponsors to put up a lot of money and clearly they want a return on their investment and they are trying to find a way of doing that.  Quite clearly, maybe the sweet spot hasn't been found.  I definitely see both sides.

Q.¬† This is the first time that the PGA TOUR at least has gone to this wrap‑around season.¬† There will be six events and then whenever‑‑ you may not show up to a PGA TOUR‑‑ considering last week a PGA TOUR event, but generally won't show up to a PGA TOUR event in the United States until the 10th or 11th event of the season.¬† How much have you thought about how you did your schedule this year?¬† And next year, how much do you think that that may effect your ability to play in the FedExCup?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, it's a consideration.  To be honest with you, I haven't quite figured it out yet.  I don't quite know how to set my said up.
My view has always been, I focus very hard on the FedExCup January to September.  Obviously with the majors and the World Golf Championships, I hope to do well on The European Tour at the same time.
But then after the FedExCup is finished, I turn my attentions to The European Tour and The Race to Dubai.¬† Now that sort of is not necessarily‑‑ there's a lot more, I guess things are running more parallel now, so it's difficult to have that same approach.¬† Time will tell.
You know, last week becomes an incredibly important week where it's counting for both tours and when you're not playing‑‑ like you said, could be 11 or 12 tournaments behind, could be 1,000 FedExCup points and $2.5 million behind the leader on the TOUR by the time I tee it up, and that's not necessarily a position you envy.
But at the same time, you have to trust your game and you have to trust the fact that you are going to play 30 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, and I feel like that's a number that should, given great golf, be competitive.

Q.  Have you decided where you're going to start in the U.S. next we're?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, it's going to be Torrey Pines, the Farmers.

Q.  Just wondering, where does trying to get to European No. 1, where does that rank in what you're trying to achieve each year when you set your schedule up?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, it's right up there for sure.  I think at this point, it's now the goal for the year.  I think it would be the icing on the cake.  I think to do well on The Race to Dubai, you have to play well in the majors and the World Golf Championships events.
So that's always the focus, the beginning part of the year.  And I think if you play well in those tournaments, it really crosses over on both tours, and that's really the way to play a worldwide schedule is to play well in the majors and the World events.  That continues to be my goal, and having won my first major, you really get a taste for it and you want to really make that your priority.
But, having won The European Tour Order of Merit, I would say before I won the U.S. Open this year, that was my career achievement and something that I was very proud of.
So to have the opportunity to do it for the second time, in the modern era, in the new format, would be great.

Q.  How many times have you been drug tested this year?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Well, (flexing muscles), twice I think (smiling).

Q.  What do you think in general about the level of testing that goes on in golf on both sides, is it different on either side?  And do you think it's sufficient?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† Well, I haven't been tested on The European Tour.¬† I have been tested on the PGA TOUR many times.¬† This year has been a light year‑‑ since I came in, I would say four times would be the average.¬† It's incredibly random.¬† You have no idea.
It is frustrating and annoying at times when you come off a round and, you know, you either can go or you can't go or you want to go and practise, or you have people waiting for you.  Obviously the rules are the rules, but I guess golf's now a pretty major sport and should full in line.

Q.  So you've never been tested on The European Tour or just this year you haven't?
JUSTIN ROSE:  I don't think I've ever been tested over here.

Q.  How long does it take in America, the actual act?  (Laughter).
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† Well, you unbutton (laughter).¬† That's the thing, I think you're given two hours to provide a sample.¬† I'd I've been lucky enough‑‑ that's the thing, it even gets in your head.¬† Sometimes you're on the 17th hole and there's a port‑a‑loo and you think, should I go, because if I get drug tested, it's going to take me two hours to have another one.¬† Because it's not as simple as slamming back water.¬† Your sample can't be too light.¬† You can't drink five battles of water and just go, because that sample will not be taken, not acceptable.
It can be a little annoying.  But typically, I've been in and out it in 15 minutes.  And generally you're very close where you have to be.  They set up a room in the clubhouse or in the locker room or something like that, so it's not that inconvenient.

Q.  You are actually the defending champion of this tournament, although the format was a lot different last year.  Two questions.  One, what do you prefer, playing your shots in the long trousers?  And you've done obviously well in this tournament, not on this course and then you've done very well last year at the DP World Championship.  How does that play in your mind to have two very good performances last year and then going forward this year with a chance to become the European No. 1 again?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, obviously I have great memories of both place the.  That's definitely encouraging.
I didn't wear shorts at this tournament last year.  I practise in shorts every day when I'm at home but there's something about playing a tournament in shorts that just didn't feel right to me, even though the weather was good enough to play in shorts.  I felt like it would just sort of not feel the same for me.
I just sort of stuck to my routines more than anything.¬† And also, the schedule was different last year.¬† It was more‑‑ we didn't go straight from Turkey to Dubai.¬† So it wasn't like I had two great weeks in a row; so the momentum is a little bit different here going into next week.
But I feel like this tournament, you're defending champion, it's a different format, different golf course.  I don't really think it has any bearing on this week whatsoever other than I'm just enjoying being back in Turkey.
But going back to Dubai, for sure, I think I played the golf course really well last year and that's something you can take some confidence from.

Q.  To sum up this season in one word, what would it be?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† One word‑‑ amazing‑‑ one word is difficult.¬† It's definitely a dream‑come‑true type season.¬† Winning a major is I guess what I've dreamed of for years‑‑ well, ever since I've played the game, that's been the benchmark and the goal.¬† So to have it now done and dust is an amazing feeling.

Q.¬† Does it feel like the end of a journey or start of a journey, if you see what I mean?¬† Does it feel like everything worked towards that, and how do you refocus and rebuild and kick‑start again?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† Well, I feel like, yeah, it's neither the start nor the beginning nor the end.¬† It's just I'm on the journey.¬† I feel like really the last three or four years, I've been on the same journey, the same track, the same thought process, the same mind‑set and the same kind of improvement trend.
So I feel like everything has progressed nicely to this point and I feel confident that I can continue the graph.  I feel like I'm playing well and I feel like I have a really good team around to help me keep playing well.
I've always said between 30 and 40 was going to be my prime, the peak of my career, and it's definitely started out that way.  I'm only 33, so I figure seven years is a good spell of time to really dedicate myself and try and do some great things.

Q.¬† Just on the scheduling, this less‑is‑more trend with Stricker, and Mickelson says he's going to do, and Adam of course, would you consider doing that and cutting it right back?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† You know, I think there's something to be said in terms of‑‑ I even talked about it in Shanghai.¬† If you're a professor, every seven years, they give you a sabbatical.¬† You get a year to go re‑evaluate and find yourself and rededicate yourself and all that.
I think it's pretty smart to maybe have a year every five years or‑‑ you're never going to take a year off, but to a lean year every five to seven years, not because you don't want to play golf; but to try and extend your career; to try and keep you fresh, try to keep you hungry, which might give you two or three more really good years on the back end of your career.
I would say that's probably where Phil is right now with his thinking is that he is enjoying winning major championships, he feels like his good golf is still ahead of him but he probably knows at his age, he needs to preserve as best he can.

Q.  How is your game and what do you make of the course?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† Yeah, my game's okay.¬† I would say last week, I didn't feel at any time really comfortable out there.¬† But I guess it's a testament to where my game is that I can not feel great and play in a really good strong field and finish Top‑5.
So I feel like when you're on a three‑week run, you can play yourself into a bit of form, which going back a little bit to your question, sometimes you need to play golf.¬† Very hard to play one week, have three weeks off, come out, play a week, go home for two weeks.¬† Sometimes three weeks in a row is a really nice amount of time to play yourself in.
I feel like this golf course is looking good out there.¬† I've only played the back nine but it offers some birdie opportunities.¬† I'd like to see the greens get firm‑ish.¬† And I think they have‑‑ because they are new, I think they have the ability to get firm.¬† So I think that will make it tricky, as well.¬† Have to play good golf this week.¬† There's a bit of rough out there, too.¬† I think it sets up well.

Q.  If people looked at some of the stuff that's flying around about Seve Trophy and some of the criticism of The Final Series, easy to think there's disharmony on The European Tour; how confident are you that everything will pull together again heading into the Ryder Cup next year?  Is that something that just happens naturally within Europe?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, absolutely.  I think there's no disharmony between the players.  I think The Ryder Cup is all about coming together as a team, and that will not be an issue.
And I think the rest of it is just whenever you make changes, I think there's people that like it, there's people who don't like it, and maybe take a bit of time for the dust to settle.

Q.  Is there any formal opportunity for you to meet George this week, or if you do meet him will it be just strictly casual?  Has he asked to meet you?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† No, I don't plan on necessarily meeting George‑‑

Q.  And Keith, as well?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† And Keith.¬† I had some brief conversations with Keith maybe in Akron in Ohio.¬† But you know, Thomas Bj√∂rn is a very good sounding board.¬† He's the face‑‑ he's the sort of‑‑ I don't want to call him the middleman, but he acts really well between the players and then the top executives of the Tour.
So I think Thomas has had quite a few conversations with guys in the last couple weeks just to try and gauge where everybody's head is at and try to come up with a great solution for everybody.

Q.  He's had one with you?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, we just had five minutes chat over a cup of coffee, this and that.  Nothing groundbreaking yet, but I think Thomas is doing a very good job of acting for the players.

Q.  Just on The Race to Dubai, if Henrik's dip in form continues and with Ian Poulter getting a 20 percent bonus on his points in The Final Series, if you both had a good week this week, could essentially set up something, perhaps a slightly executing duel between two Englishmen for the title; something you'd relish?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, absolutely.  I really would relish that.  I'd make sure Poults knew that he needed a 20 percent bonus to get by me (laughter).
But I don't see Henrik necessarily having a dip in form.¬† He played a great weekend in Shanghai.¬† I think he shot 13‑under on the weekend, so for me, his game is right there.¬† Clearly he had an average start but I think he had a slight wrist injury or something going on which clearly wasn't affecting him on the weekend.
I still see Henrik as the man to beat, and to do that, you're going to have to play some good golf.¬† Any time you go head‑to‑head with Poults, yeah, I'd say it's an enviable‑‑ he's a great competitor, so it will be fun to sort of go eye‑to‑eye with him.

Q.  But you fancy your chances?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, always back yourself.

Q.  The debate in how you evaluate a season, you with your major championship, you wouldn't trade that for anything; Tiger with his five wins, but without a major, and some, kind of in the periphery around golf, don't really acknowledge or are not prepared to acknowledge the five wins that Tiger has, as opposed to those that have won a major.  How do you see the balance of that equation, whether it's a good season or a bad season?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Well, I think Tiger's situation right now, he's played great golf and he's winning, and you gain confidence from that.
But I don't know, I guess right now, the Majors are more important to him.¬† But a young guy coming out, learning to win‑‑ that's not something Tiger needs to do is learn to win, but a lot of other players need to learn how to win more regularly and for a five‑year season could set them up for a great ten‑year run.¬† So in some ways, five wins could be more valuable than a major for some guys.
But it's difficult to know what's better for sure.  For me, I wouldn't say I've been necessarily a prolific winner yet, but the events I've been able to win are the big ones, and I wouldn't trade it.

Q.  What's in the water at Lake Nona; four of the top guys are from there.
JUSTIN ROSE:  Lake Nona and Isleworth have always had a great relationship and rivalry, it's always the fact that the Europeans have been to Lake Nona and the American guys have all lived at Isleworth.  The fact that we are up there on the Race to Dubai is more geographic, because there's more of us living in Lake Nona.
But it's an incredible statistic that four club members are leading one of the top tours in the world, so it's amazing.
STEVE TODD:  Justin, thanks for joining us.

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