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November 12, 2013
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
SCOTT CROCKETT:¬† Justin, thanks, as always for coming in and joining us.¬† Welcome to Dubai once again.
Before we start today's conference, we have a right attendance here as you'll see and we also have a very special man the left, Chief Executive of The European Tour, George O'Grady.¬† We'll have George to come up and make a very special presentation to you.
GEORGE O'GRADY:¬† Ladies and gentlemen, firstly, welcome here.¬† We thought we could just take this opportunity, as we did last year with Rory when he came back after his great exploits.¬† When we have one of Europe's own, when we've had the season that Justin has had, and specifically winning the U.S.Open Championship, we would be honoured if you would except Honorary Membership of The European Tour and join a very illustrious band of major championship winners and others that have contributed hugely to the growth of The European Tour.
So if you would do you us the honour, we would like to give you this special card.¬† And now you will save the princely sum of 150 pounds a year for your membership fee.¬† Justin, thanks very much.
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† This really is an incredible honour, as it says, Honorary Life Member, and, it really, truly is an honour.¬† And for a kid who started his career with 21 missed cuts, I guess this means an awful lot really.¬† And the whole journey, couldn't have been done without all the hard work of The European Tour.
And it's great to be back here in Dubai, great to have a chance to be playing for The Race to Dubai.¬† Like I said, just really this truly does mean a lot to me.
GEORGE O'GRADY:¬† And to us.
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† It's been a great journey.¬† There's many, many fantastic players who have done so much for European golf who have received this honour, so it would be wonderful for me to be able to do the same.¬† Thank you very much.
SCOTT CROCKETT:¬† Justin, there's been a number of ways to start a press conference; I suppose this is one of the nicest ones for you.
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† Absolutely, yeah.¬† It's very, very surreal and you know, unexpected.¬† I had not really thought that far ahead.
GEORGE O'GRADY:¬† Too young.
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† Exactly.¬† I've got a lot of great golf ahead of me, I hope, and a lot of great golf on The European Tour ahead of me.¬† So I look forward to living up to this honour, thank you.
SCOTT CROCKETT:¬† And how is the newest Honorary Member of The European Tour looking forward to The Final Series event?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† Yeah, I think for me the last couple weeks have just been about keeping pace with the guys and giving myself a chance coming in here.¬† I think last year Rory played so well and it was all wrapped up.
.¬† Even if I had won this tournament, which I thought I had for a brief amount of time, until he finished with five in a row, The Race to Dubai was all wrapped up.¬† Whereas this year I think it's shaping up for a really exciting finish, and I think two really good weeks for me the last two in Shanghai and Turkey, and I've put myself in the position that I need to be, where in a sense I control my own fate with being able to win this tournament.¬† There's a lot of permutations of what can happen.
SCOTT CROCKETT:¬† Your own form, how did you play in the Pro‑Am?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† I made a few birdies today.¬† The course is in the best shape I've seen it.¬† It's always in great shape, but it's the best I've seen it.¬† No divots out there on the fairways.¬† Greens seem to be rolling a little faster than last year.¬† Yeah, it's in perfect shape, and setting up really well.¬†
Q.¬† Why don't you start with talking about that incredible putt that almost went in last year.
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† Yeah, actually I just finished my Pro‑Am about 45 minutes ago on 18, and the first thing I did was I went up and tried to hit the same putt.¬† Because in real‑time, I really thought it was always a great putt.¬† But then when I watched it back on TV, it literally crawled over the edge.
So I nearly had egg on my face with that one.¬† But I was nervous at the time.¬† When I walked to the 18th tee, I was two ahead, and I hit driver, 3‑wood to the back of the green.¬† Two ahead with three holes to play, that's normally good enough.¬† It was a good putt for me, a great putt; it was the greatest putt I've ever missed, I have to say.
Q. ¬†You've made some incredible putts during the last couple of years.¬† Where would that stand?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† Yeah, I thought if I had gone on to win by one, it would have been incredibly important.¬† It would have been one of my best putts ever.
But unfortunately Rory did everything he had to do to make that putt irrelevant, which is in a sense a shame, but it was still fun nonetheless.
Q.¬† You've obviously been No. 1 before in Europe, you've won the U.S. Open this year; how much does it still mean and how much of a motivation is it still to try to do it again this year?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† It's a big motivation.¬† I feel like this is the modern era, if you like.¬† Now knowing it as The Race to Dubai, I won it as the Order of Merit, so I would love to do it.
I've never held this trophy.¬† Even though my name is on it, I'd like to see if I'm strong enough to pick up this new trophy.¬† It's a big goal, and it's a goal that presents itself I think as the season progresses.
At the beginning of the year, you can dream up winning it, but it really only becomes an option once you've played some good golf.¬† Obviously this time of year, everybody turns their attentions towards it, and this is the last chance.
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† 20 minutes ago.
Q.¬† Can you just contrast yourself, Justin Rose, when he was winning in 2007 to Justin Rose now?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† Yeah, I think 2007 came out of the blue a little bit.¬† But is it was built upon strong performances in the Majors, and I think I was Top‑12 in all the Majors this year, and I think second at Akron.¬† So it came from playing well in the right events.
You know, this year‑‑ I think I won twice that year, too.¬† I won down in Australia, end of 2006, but obviously for the '07 season, and it came from winning the final event of the year, which I remember being in a very similar situation to this.
I think it was me, myself‑‑ well, Harrington, myself, and I'm not sure, Ernie maybe was injured or didn't play or something.¬† But myself and P√°draig, it came down to the two of us, and I had to finish top three to have any chance of winning and imagine I'm in very, very similar position this year.
Obviously that week turned out to go my way.¬† It was a big thrill to win the last event of the year.¬† But until I won the U.S. Open, I think that that was my career highlight and my career achievement for sure.
Q.¬† And have you done the numbers this week?¬† Do you know the permutations?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† Actually I don't.¬† I'm a little slack on the numbers, but I think I'm 225 behind Henrik, which I haven't really figured out the breakdown, but I imagine top three, there's going to make enough to get past him, depending on then where he finishes.
But I think just head down, play as good as you can.¬† I'm sure it will become clear as the week goes on who is playing well and who is not.¬† At this point I think it's going to take good golf no matter what.
Q.¬† Do you think in some ways it would mean more to you to finish European No. 1 for a second time in terms of validation of all you've worked on?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† Yeah, I think so, for sure.¬† I think '07 was an amazing year.¬† It was an amazing year, but it wasn't‑‑ it came out of the blue.¬† It was a bit of an anomaly.¬† '06 wasn't great.¬† '08 wasn't great.¬† It just sort of popped out of nowhere.¬† I think this one has been‑‑ this year will be built on a lot more solid foundation and therefore maybe means more.
Q.¬† You mentioned the Earth Course is playing faster and it seems a lot firmer, as well.¬† Do the changes to the fairways to the faster greens change the dynamics slightly?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† I think the course probably changed‑‑ I played 7.00 am this morning and the greens are were relatively soft or very soft.¬† But it doesn't take much in the desert with a little bit of a breeze and maybe don't water as much.¬† We are only Tuesday morning right now so you don't want to stress it out too much.¬† But I'm hoping the pace is to get it firmer and it's got every potential‑‑ the greens are fast.¬† They are perfect.
But yeah, it has the potential, long hitters have prevailed here, there's no doubt.¬† But if the fairways are running firmer, that brings the par 5s into range for probably a greater percentage of the field, which will make a difference.
But I think it's about iron play for me, this golf course.¬† The greens, there's so many different quadrants to them and many pin placements over bunkers.¬† So if you can hit your irons high and soft and control the distance really well, to me, it's a really good second‑shot golf course.
Q.¬† Have you sensed what I think we've sensed; that Rory is clearly happier now?¬† Have you sensed that from what you've seen of him in the last few weeks?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† Yeah, I think so.¬† I mean, he's put together some really good scores.¬† Played with him in Shanghai final round, and his game looked good.¬† He's hitting the ball a long way.¬† He looks under control.¬† Every shot was pretty straight and good ball flight.¬† He hit a lot of really good putts, too.
I mean, he looked like he was playing really well, and as we know, there's a lot to this game.¬† But it looks like he's getting some confidence for sure.¬† And that's the thing with Rory; he's always been one round away.¬† He's said it all year, but he has always been one round away from playing great golf.¬† So I'm sure he's right there.
Q.¬† Sort of an afterthought.¬† If you looked at Rory this time last year, you would have said the lad is unbeatable the way he was playing, but you look at what's happened over the last year,¬† is there a cautionary tale in that for everyone?¬† You've known your hard times in golf, how fickle this game really is, and have you been surprised how difficult it has been for him to try to get it back this year?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† Yeah, probably surprised that he hasn't got it back by now.¬† But at the same time, it just shows you that none of us are immune to sort of ‑‑ having a balance in our life, it impacts your golf.¬†¬† If someone is building a house and is distracted with that, so many players have struggled through that period of their career.
Obviously Tiger going through what he's gone through, struggled with his golf for a period of time.¬† It takes a lot to have everything in sync, and I think that we should all take heed of that, and that's what I work really hard on in my golf and in my life is to try to create balance, and that's not always easy.
Q.¬† Do you think that is the main thing, obviously, this year, all that was going on off the course, obviously would have an impact?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† Yeah, he's gone from being a great golfer to a superstar.¬† I'm sure there's a shift in mind‑set and it probably takes just a little bit of time to get comfortable with.
But the good thing about Rory is that he's a great guy and that has not changed in the locker room, and yeah, it would be good to see him back to playing well.¬† I mean, the game needs him.
Like John said, I'm not worried about him.¬† He's hitting the ball really well; he's close; it's just a matter of time.¬† But even his career has never been as up‑and‑down as mine, but he's always been more‑‑ he's never been like a very consistent curve.
I mean, last year was phenomenal, but he's always had the spells where he has not played great and all of a sudden, boom, he's unstoppable.¬† I'm not worried about him at all.
Q.¬† Be honest; what did you say to yourself when he went on that streak last year to beat you?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† (Laughs) I was like, the off‑season, I was ‑‑ just wish it came a week earlier for him (laughter).
Q.¬† Winning in America, now that you have some time to think about it, what did it mean to you, the impact of that?¬† And looking back at it, you looked skyward when you won for your dad and you also thought about Ben Hogan and that winning tip he also made; can you just put that into perspective now?
JUSTIN ROSE:¬† Yeah, I think when you win a major, in a sense, you go down in the history books and that's been the most amazing thing for me.¬† I'm still in the period now where I'm holding the U.S. Open trophy, not the replica.¬† Hopefully next year I'll still be holding the U.S. Open trophy if I can repeat.
But I think there's a period that when you're holding the actual trophy that Nicklaus and Hogan and Tiger have all held; that's what make it is very special.¬† I catch myself, if I see it in the house, it makes me smile out of the blue, because I'm still in that phase of really enjoying it, the magnitude of it and the history of it.
But I also feel like I've got to the point now where I've got a clean slate.¬† I feel like it's behind me and I feel like I've got renewed focus and renewed goals going forward.¬† But it's been‑‑ I think it's going to be something‑‑ when you win a major, you don't want to take‑‑ you never want it to be, okay, it's all‑‑ my career, I'm done, that's enough for me.
You really want to kick on and win as many as you can.¬† I think winning a major is only great to truly reflect on it at the end of your career, just to say, when you're an old man sitting on your veranda one day, to say, okay, I was able to do it.¬† But right now, that's not the time for me.¬† I need to be looking forward and staying focused.
SCOTT CROCKETT:¬† Justin, thanks for your time, as always.¬† Good luck this week.¬† Thank you, George.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports