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May 28, 2014

Justin Rose


THE MODERATOR:  Justin Rose, thanks for joining us for a few minutes prior to the start of the 2014 Memorial Tournament, 2010 champion here at Muirfield.
With that said, some thoughts on being back here for the week.
JUSTIN ROSE:  I mean, this is an event I look forward to all year and a staple in my schedule.  And I was just saying even though I was back home last week, Wentworth was a fun tour for me and I had a lot of good things going on.
I felt it was a nice feeling to be back here.  I took a deep breath and said it's nice to be back at Muirfield Village.  It's a place I have a lot of good memories, and my game seems to enjoy the golf course.  And the course is in perfect shape, as it always is.
So everything's set up for another good week, I hope.

Q.  After a rough start with the injury this year, you've had good form lately with 8th, 5th, 4th on this TOUR.  When did you get to the point where you felt like, okay, I've got it back, and how much concern was there during the injury where maybe I won't get it back?
JUSTIN ROSE:  There was no concern that I wouldn't get it back.  I think the injury was‑‑ it was a minor injury, really.  It was more of a niggle.  I could have played through it for longer, but you don't want to be in that mode.  So I took time off to try and fix it.  Augusta was on my radar to be 100percent ready and fresh for that.
And I think I'm at 90percent.  I would say I was 90percent at Augusta, and I've been 90percent since.  So from a golf‑‑ that's in full total health and movement with it.  Golf‑wise no issues whatsoever and practicing as much as I need to.
So it's been a nonissue golf‑wise I would say since the Masters, and I've shown some decent form since then, and obviously it's picking up and trending nicely heading into the summer.

Q.  You've talked about the text that you sent to your mother before the final round at last year's U.S. Open.  She said she's never received a text like that from you; that it almost astonished her the confidence that seemingly you were expressing in that.  What was going through your mind?  Did you just feel a sense of destiny?  Or what made you feel so confident that you could do that for your dad the next day?
JUSTIN ROSE:  I guess just feeling ready.  And it's a good question.  I don't know exactly why.  But I think I had been moving in that direction.  The tournaments I'd been playing well in and winning were getting bigger and better and I was telling myself that a major was next and I had a chance on Sunday.
But I had ‑‑ just being Father's Day, there was that connection, too.  And I tried to‑‑ sometimes it brings back memories and thoughts.  And if there's one person that believes in me more than me, that would have been my dad.  In a sense it was probably just a good time for me to think what he would have thought in that situation, and if he was here to give me a pep talk, he would have probably given me the confidence to go out there tell me I could do it.
I guess that's where it came from.  I'm kind of, in a sense, making up what I think I was‑‑ it was more of a spontaneous text message but, yeah, it had to come from I guess a deep‑rooted confidence.  And that confidence probably came from thinking about my dad and maybe what he would have said to me.

Q.  The contrast between Merion and the setup you saw there last year and what you're going to see at Pinehurst is quite stark.  And wondering your thoughts on preparing for a really different kind of U.S. Open, what your thoughts are on Pinehurst and really how it sets up for you both with the style of your play and also mentally.
JUSTIN ROSE:  Yeah, I feel that if I look back at the U.S. Open, at Olympic as well, I think I had a great chance to win there.  I finished 6th back and I putted with my eyes closed that week.  Literally.  And the last U.S. Open by 6 and going up and down out of 1 out of 13 out of the bunker that week.  So I really felt at Olympic I had a great chance to win.  That's a different golf course to Merion.
I just feel like the U.S. Open test in a sense suits my game.  I like to play the tough golf courses.  Typically that's when I've done my best relatively to the field.  I think that I've always said the 8‑ to 10‑under mark is a good ‑‑ it's the kind of golf I like to play where you can go out and shoot a good score but par is still a good number.
So I'm assuming that Pinehurst is going to play exactly like that.  Level par I'm sure is still going to be a good score no matter what.  And I don't know much of it yet, so I'm guessing, but‑‑

Q.  No rough.
JUSTIN ROSE:  I think it's a cross between a U.S. Open and an Open Championship this year which is what I'm hearing.  I'm sure it could get a little breezy as well.  But I feel like I've got all the shots; it's just a matter of putting them all together in the one week you need them and putting them in four rounds together.  But the different test doesn't sort of make it any less of an opportunity for me, I don't think.

Q.  Is there anything particular about the Memorial that you need to focus on in order to prepare or something that you need to work on, certain part of your games you need to work on to prepare for the Memorial?
JUSTIN ROSE:  I think for me it's a good‑‑ it comes at a time of year where I'm thinking about the U.S. Open, really.  So the greens are firm and fast.  There's a lot of strategy on this golf course.  Obviously with Jack building it, you expect to have to think a lot around this golf course.
What I like about it is it gives you the driver.  The fairways are relatively wide.  You feel like you can get it and play off the tee and be somewhat aggressive.  But it's a second‑shot golf course.  You need to have distance control with your irons.  You can't short‑side yourself.  The greens are incredibly fast.  But they're true.  So it rewards good play.
What I like about it, which is I think how Sawgrass used to play, is that if you play well it's 65, and if you play badly there's a high number.
I like that because it really tells you where you're at with your game.

Q.  Curtis Strange talked about the fact that mentally and physically he had to be prepared to win the Open in back‑to‑back years.  That's been 25 years ago.  What do you think are some of the keys for you entering this Open?  Is it mental, physical?  What's your approach?
JUSTIN ROSE:  Well, the test is different.  So there's probably a physical aspect to it, for sure.  Obviously if you are a defending champion at Augusta, it's probably a mental challenge more than anything.
But you have to learn a whole new golf course, and I think that's important.
So my preparation's going to be key.  It's developing and designing a game plan that you believe will hold up over 72 holes that you can execute that suits your game and that will produce the winning score.
And that's what I did at Merion.  I produced a game plan to shoot even par, and that held up.  So I need to do the same at Pinehurst.  I don't know until I get there how to do that, but that's going to be the plan.
And the other key part for me is giving the trophy back.  That happened last week.  I'm actually excited about that.  It's been great having it for a year, but it's time to give it back now.  It's time to go on and produce more opportunities to win more.

Q.  I was going to ask you about the trophy.  How close did you keep that to you?  Did you find yourself staring at it right after you got it or as you had to give it back or all the time?
JUSTIN ROSE:  I think it was a case of definitely the beginning.  It's a surreal sight to have it in your house, because it's ‑‑ definitely you dream about it.  And not until it happens does it feel real.
But first couple of weeks you get used to that feeling, and then there's a period of time that goes by where you sort of just live with it.  It becomes normal.  And then there's a period of time, which I probably experienced recently, especially taking it to Wentworth and having it for the European Tour dinner and seeing it on the 1st tee every day before teeing off and knowing it was the last week really that it was going to be in my possession.
So I enjoyed it last week, too, but I've had my fill of it now.  So it's time to make special memories and new memories and create new goals.
Like I said, I've enjoyed the year of being U.S. Open champion, but I really feel motivated now to move on from that and to win more golf tournaments and especially majors.

Q.  Another question about this place.  Wonder if you could share how you felt when you arrived here for the first time when you played here, your thoughts on it.  A lot of people are very impressed with what Jack has done here.  I'm wondering just what your thoughts were on your first Memorial.
JUSTIN ROSE:  The whole tournament has a wow factor.  Just having Jack's name gives it that.  But the whole experience now, I was walking in here with Mark, I was looking around, the facilities now, amenities that this place has which has been probably new in the last two or three years, has everything now.  And it's really phenomenal facility in which to come and play a tournament.
The golf course speaks for itself.  I think that has‑‑ for a player it's a fun golf course to play.  It rewards good golf; it punishes bad golf.  It's fair.
Just really, really enjoy the test and the whole extra experience the clubhouse.  The staff here are incredible, too.
What Jack has created is something from the moment you walk in the gates to teeing it up to tapping in to using the locker room afterwards, it seems to have it all now.
Obviously the gym and the warm‑up room is now second to none as well.  So from a player's point of view, you have everything you need.

Q.  Did you like the golf course right away?  Was it something that you‑‑
JUSTIN ROSE:  I did like it right away.  I think'04 was my first Memorial, and I think I finished fourth.  So I got a feeling I got off to a good start obviously with my experiences here.
So absolutely fell in love with it from the beginning.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

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