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VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP


March 12, 2014


Justin Rose


PALM HARBOR, FLORIDA

PHIL STAMBAUGH:テつ We welcome the 2013 United States Open Champion, Justin Rose, to the Interview Room this morning.
You've been out quite a bit with a shoulder injury but you're back.テつ Talk about playing in this year's Valspar Championship.
JUSTIN ROSE:テつ I think we're all grateful for the opportunity to be here.テつ This tournament is so neat.テつ It's been up in the air a little while.テつ It's great Valspar stepped in.
I think it's my 7th, 8th time coming to Tampa, still part of the schedule.テつ It's been one of my favorite venues on Tour for awhile.テつ I'm looking forward to the week.
PHIL STAMBAUGH:テつ Talk about your prep coming into this tournament.
JUSTIN ROSE:テつ Yes.テつ I feel like the season is up and running for me and last week at Doral was certainly and interesting week, dealing with a lot of changes to the golf course and learning the golf course and heavy winds and stuff like that.
I just felt that all in all I came out of Doral with a lot of confidence, not finishing 34th, but I had a run there where I went from 9-over par to even par.テつ I wasn't able to hold on to that.
But really felt like I got some good work done, some good feelings about my game.テつ Again, developed a bit of confidence and looking forward to where it might take me the next few weeks.
PHIL STAMBAUGH:テつ Raise your hand and we'll go with questions.

Q.テつ How are you physically right now and do you think you overdid it at the end of last year or maybe just everything going on with winning the U.S. Open?
JUSTIN ROSE:テつ Right now I'm doing pretty well, not a hundred percent but I would say I'm at least 95 percent there physically for golf.テつ Couple things I can't do that I need to do physically but golf swing-wise, I feel like my motor pattern is where I need it to be and feeling strong again and getting my ball speed and clubhead speed back to where it should be.
From that perspective, I'm ready to play.テつ Certainly going back to the end of last year I had a lot on my plate and probably played too long on what I thought was a nagging injury.
It's a good learning lesson when you do feel stuff like that.テつ I'm probably not as young as I used to be, 33 now, lot of miles on my vehicle but if you play too much through something like that it's amazing how it can escalate.
Yeah, I probably did overdo it but those are lessons you learn.テつ Unfortunately you make decisions in April, May, June that you have to commit to come November, December.テつ It's not always as easy as it seems.

Q.テつ Justin, what adjustments have you had to make with your game because of the shoulder and maybe scheduling-wise as well as there's a bunch of Majors coming up here in the coming weeks and months?
JUSTIN ROSE:テつ Yeah.テつ Definitely my schedule has changed quite a bit this year.テつ I was meant to go to Abu Dubai, which I couldn't go to.テつ I was meant to play in San Diego at the Farmers Insurance Open which I couldn't go to.
Couple of tough decisions but I was able to fill them in, played L.A. even.テつ I played the Match Play which, to be honest, I wasn't going to play.テつ I haven't ended up losing any events.
Honda Classic, that's probably the one that did take a hit for me.テつ That's an event I played well in the past but I just felt that, to your point, not overdoing it, maybe scheduling four weeks in a row, coming back out after a little bit of time off was a bit ambitious.
But, to be honest, this tournament has helped again with the flow of getting me ready heading into Augusta.テつ I felt like playing Doral and Bay Hill will give me a nice opportunity to build some momentum and getting a run going.テつ I feel fit and ready to play a full schedule from now on.

Q.テつ When do you start thinking about Augusta?
JUSTIN ROSE:テつ Yeah.テつ It's definitely on everybody's mind but for me, each week is important right now and I'm looking at -- each week is important but as a collective block of time this run is important, like I said, to start to develop some momentum, to get some flow going, to get some good feeling about your game.
It's nice to head into Augusta having been in contention once or twice and stuff like that to sort of get the old juices going again but it's for me playing three weeks in a row is a run that I like to play.テつ Three is normally my maximum before I take a week off.テつ So this will be a really good gauge for me to see exactly where I'm at.

Q.テつ Speaking of Augusta, this is a different type of golf course we see in the State of Florida.テつ Is there anything at Innisbrook that can somewhat help you prepare for what you'll see in a few weeks?
JUSTIN ROSE:テつ Not overly.テつ I was going through the yardage book.テつ Even though I've been here 7 times it did strike me that the greens sit at about a 45-degree angle a lot of times.
You know, you need to hit the numbers with your irons and you need to commit to a line.テつ If it's left pin and miss short right, you're missing the green.
If it's a back right pin and go left, you normally miss the green long left.テつ The greens end up playing quite small here which I think is what happens at Augusta.テつ Even though the greens are big, the targets are pretty small.テつ Sharpening your iron play is always a strength and carry through to Augusta.

Q.テつ Justin, you're a guy who practices a lot.テつ How did you have to curtail the practice during the injury and how frustrating was it to not be able to practice as much as you wanted to?
JUSTIN ROSE:テつ Yeah.テつ The first few weeks are nice because you're actually quite enjoying just getting away from the game and freshening up and this little layoff I've had I think will ultimately help me in the summer, help me through the FedExCup Playoffs.
I'm hoping to carry through, might not be seeing now, but later in the season.テつ I'm trying to realize that that's the strength and the benefit of taking some time off and it being a forced layoff you don't feel guilty about sitting at home doing nothing because you can't do it.
It's given me opportunity to work hard on my short game.テつ You start off, any little injury start off chipping and putting a lot.テつ That's what I've been able to do.テつ I feel like that part of my game is pretty sharp.
I haven't hit a lot of balls for the last two, three years because I felt very comfortable with my swing but having not hit a lot of balls I felt like this year I've come out a little rusty with my long game and I have, in the last couple weeks, been forced into a situation of having to work on a couple things.
I feel like I'm getting there with that.テつ Had a couple really good session was Sean, as you probably witnessed on Monday.テつ I hit the ball really, really well in practice so that's the key.
If you can't do it on the range at home you can never do it out here.テつ I'm beginning to see that momentum, that confidence.テつ I just need confidence.テつ I need to carry through to tournaments now.

Q.テつ There's a goodly number of guys who are going to Augusta for the first time this year.テつ I was just curious about your experiences.
Your first week at Augusta, your first round, what is the learning curve there like for the first-timer and what are the nerves that you had to combat?
JUSTIN ROSE:テつ Yeah.テつ I think the learning curve at Augusta is steep, always steep.テつ I think the general rule, if you make the cut the first time going to Augusta that's a successful performance.
Certainly that's how it was framed in my mind in 2003.テつ I had a great pairing.テつ I played with Adam Scott and Charles Howell, which I got a feeling -- I'm not sure if that was their first Augusta or not.
We were in a very similar mold, similar ages but all young guys breaking through at that time.テつ We had a great pairing.テつ I think all three of us made the cut and I remember having to two-putt the 9th hole to make the cut.
I was on the wrong level.テつ I was putting down one of those ridges.テつ I had an incredibly fast putt.テつ Did my best to lag it, even knocked it four feet by and had the 4-footer to make the cut, which I made.テつ I remember that being a target of mine.
Just being at Augusta is an amazing experience for any first-timer.テつ It's an amazing experience doing it for the 10th time, to be honest with you.テつ It's one of the few tournaments that you play practice rounds even though you don't need to play practice rounds.
You know the course and your strategy but you can't help yourself getting out there on that golf course.テつ Yeah, obviously I'm excited for those guys going there for the first time.

Q.テつ You've contended there a couple of times.テつ Do you think it's a good golf course for you and why?
JUSTIN ROSE:テつ I think it's a good golf course for me.テつ It fits my eye.テつ You always here guys talk about course fitting the eye.テつ I know my strategy off the tee and I can see the tee shots.テつ It's a second shot golf course.
You really need to be on with your iron play and over the last few years that's been my biggest strength is my iron play, long irons, especially, which helps on the par-5s.
So, yeah.テつ I putted reasonably well at Augusta, too.テつ I like that feel of the quick greens.テつ I get into sort of a slowish stroke.テつ I putt better on fast greens than I do on slow greens, at Memorial and greens like that get quick.テつ I see the breaks better.
All things being equal, I feel Augusta is a good fit for me but it's a good fit for a lot of guys.テつ Doesn't give me a huge advantage over the field because you look at Rory and Keegan Bradley and Justin Johnson, guys like that.テつ It fits all of those guys' profile.テつ It does fit mine.テつ At least I'm not going in there with any disadvantage.

Q.テつ Justin, you worked your whole career to win a Major championship.テつ Obviously it's more than that.
Is it difficult to stay motivated now that you got the first one?
JUSTIN ROSE:テつ Not at all.テつ I think you just got to play golf for the right reasons.テつ You got to keep enjoying the game.テつ At the end of the day grinding and struggling for 15, 20 years to get to this point and you win one week, one big tournament and obviously it's a huge moment but it doesn't add up to the struggles and all the effort you put in.テつ I think the success doesn't equate to the grinding that you put in.
So, I think you got to just continue to love the game, continue to want to work hard.テつ You got to continue to want to improve.テつ That for me is the biggest motivator, how good can I be and how much better can I get?
I think if I focus on that side of the game, I just believe that tournaments and Major Championships will come to me rather than me trying to chase them down.テつ It becomes harder that way.
PHIL STAMBAUGH:テつ Anything else for Justin?テつ All the best this week.
JUSTIN ROSE:テつ Thanks guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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