An Interview with JUSTIN ROSE
SCOTT CROCKETT: Thank you very much for coming in. A good spell for you last week in Germany and your win in Japan. Maybe just start us off by reflecting on those.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, delighted. It has been a good month, good month for me. Sort of strange performance-wise too sort of win, miss cut, third, but I was just saying earlier really that basically it's miss cut win, miss cut third, and I think the big sort of improvement in my game is I don't tend to panic now. If I do have a bad week, I just was talking earlier -- and if I do have a bad week, doesn't really tend to worry me.
Now I have got belief in my game and just turn up the next week and know basically I can tap into my game and at any given point -- that is just sort of how the mind works. That's due to all the hard work I put in over the last couple of years, so that's a nice feeling.
Q. What it is like being the man, England's No. 1?
JUSTIN ROSE: I know, (laughs), haven't really thought about it in those terms yet, but it did kind of hit home to me, I was sitting in the lounge with my mom and dad the other night and just thinking well, there's no --- you know -- on paper no better player than me in England right now, which is kind of, you know, you sort of think amateur, pro. Millions of people that play golf I guess it's quite an achievement. Did hit home last night.
Q. With your both England hats on, obviously you are 62nd in the world. Does it reflect badly on English golf we have got no one in the top 50?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think that's going to change. I do believe that's going to change very soon. It probably does reflect badly right now, but I think -- if you look at the bigger picture, I think it's a -- very good players coming up, obviously you know, like, Donald, Paul Casey, Nick Dougherty, myself. There's four right away. Guys like Steve Webster, Ian Poulter. I played with Greg Owen last week. He impressed me tremendously as well. And, you know, all those guys are capable of getting right up there in the world rankings.
I think English golf is pretty strong right now. It's very -- there's a depth of very good players, David Howell. They are all very good players. Haven't mentioned Lee. I am sure he will return to form pretty soon. And so, you know, I think the depth of English golf is very good. We haven't quite got anybody shining above, getting right up into the Top-10 again, but I am sure it will happen.
Q. You talked last week about what you need to get in the U.S. Open as well. Last week it boosted you up to 62. What do you need this week?
JUSTIN ROSE: I believe I need top 3. So, I mean, it's kind of a position, basically I've got to focus on the tournament and basically giving yourself a chance to win again. If you are going to finish third, you might as well do your best to win it. So it's on my mind a little bit, but it's not -- it's going -- if it does happen, it's going to be in a great week and it's going to be in a great week for the reasons that I have done well at the PGA rather than for the reasons I am going to the U.S. Open.
Q. It has not made you think that if you don't quite make it you can go and qualify?
JUSTIN ROSE: No plans to do it. It is a long year. I have got a lot of big tournaments to focus on. Obviously British Open, a couple of World Championship events later in the year, and possible U.S. pGA if my world ranking stays pretty good. Not the be all and end all right now.
Q. After the 21st missed cut, what was going through your brain?
JUSTIN ROSE: I don't really know. To be honest, kind of really blanked a lot of that out of my memory. I don't have too many sort of bad memories really of the whole experience.
I try to always take the positives out of it and leave the rest behind, and I think I am obviously doing that pretty well because looking back at it, I don't really -- obviously I wasn't happy. I wasn't a happy person. I was putting endless hours on the range. You are not getting anywhere, so it's really frustrating. But it was funny when I did make my first cut, I was out in a two-ball first group. We lost a ball in like third or fourth hole. We were on the clock for the remaining 14 holes, and I shot a terrible round, basically finished right at the end of the field. I thought, well, I am making the cut. Not all it's cracked up to be, but -- (laughter) -- what can I say? I don't really have strong memories of that period.
Q. What about any strong memories when you actually made the cut?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I do. It was probably one of the best up-and-downs I have ever made in my life, the day I made the cut. I missed the green sort of short left, and I don't know -- you know, 18th green there is treacherous green, slopes left-to-right, virtually had an impossible up-and-down there, hit a great pitch to six feet, then putted about a foot of swing from six feet. I managed to make it.
I really sensed the pressure and the tension of trying to make my first cut. It was just -- sort of the reaction of the two guys I played with, I remember Fredrik Jacobson -- I can't remember who the other one was, Freddie just seemed so genuinely pleased that I did make that up-and-down on 18 to possibly make my first cut. So I have that memory, but the rest not so much.
Q. Any encouragement from the other players through that period when you were missing cuts?
JUSTIN ROSE: Not really. No, I think basically you are left to get on it with yourself. I don't think anybody wishes you any harm or any sort of bad luck, but I wouldn't say anybody was kind of you know, saying okay, it will be all right, don't worry just -- other than family and close friends and Leadbetter, David Leadbetter was always good at that saying you have got believe in yourself, keep working at your game, no sort of mystery why you are missing cuts just because you are not playing well swinging the club. Just a matter of putting in the work. That's the way I saw it. I didn't let it affect me in terms of well I haven't got the ability or I haven't got the ability to make the cut. It was just purely that my game, my technique all that stuff wasn't quite up to scratch.
Q. Could you explain simply the things that you are doing so much better now than you used to be doing and therefore have helped you have an astonishingly good run?
JUSTIN ROSE: A lot of little things making a big difference. Not saying there's one huge factor which, you know is the cause of a turnaround, if you like, but I think maybe one of the biggest things I do feel really comfortable on Tour. I have got a good bunch of friends on Tour. I enjoy my time on Tour which probably when I first turned pro I felt like I stuck out a little bit and I wasn't that comfortable being out here. But now I do, I am also driving the ball a lot better. My equipment I am really happy with. That makes a difference. And just basically Tour life, little things you pick up along the way managing your time, how to practice, when to arrive at a tournament, if you know the course, all that type of stuff. I think also knowing the courses - my second, third, even sometimes fourth time I have seen it a course so that makes a difference.
Q. You do look at least to me and perhaps to the others very comfortable in that position. You said to us last week that Derrick was saying to you in the evening this could be all like the '98 Open. You said, good. You do feel at ease and in a way to mention, he doesn't look quite at ease (inaudible) in the limelight as you do. Can you think of any reason why that should be?
JUSTIN ROSE: I can't really. Other than the fact that I remember how bad it is to be on the other side of the scale you may as well enjoy it when you are up there because that's what you do practice for. That's what I have always wanted. When you get there, you got to enjoy it. I do feel my most -- you are never really out from that situation because you do feel pressure and nerves, but that's the kind of thing I really enjoy is the challenge of dealing with all those kind of things. But yeah, most fun I have had on the golf course is when I have done really well. That goes really well.
Q. Deserve it more because of what you went through?
JUSTIN ROSE: Not really. I think anybody who gets there has put in the work and the hours, got the ability. Everybody who does well deserves it. I don't think I deserve it particularly anymore because I came through such a bad period, no, I mean, for me personally it kind of makes it a little bit sweeter, but I don't think I deserve it anymore.
Q. Your pals?
JUSTIN ROSE: Who?
Q. Who is in the Rap Pack?
JUSTIN ROSE: One of the commentators called us the banana split. Ian Poulter, Nick Dougherty, Steve Webster, James Donaldson, Mark Pilkington. That is huge -- really basically probably 15, 20 guys who I could call my mates and go out for dinner with, and that type of thing. It's good.
Q. Do you sort of have a Mark O'Meara in your setup like Tiger, an older chap who has been a good pal to you out here?
JUSTIN ROSE: Not really. I won't say huge -- Mark McNulty through the Leadbetter connection sort of always looked out for me and sort of given David the odd report here and there of how I am doing, this and that - he looks to be swinging well, and you know, when I first turned pro he probably was the one guy if you ever want a game or have a chat just give me a shout, but you know, not overly like every week would be there, which is, to be honest, I wouldn't have wanted that, I don't think, I like to get on with things myself, work it out myself too.
Q. So you have got yourself a house. You got yourself a decent car which is what?
JUSTIN ROSE: Jaguar.
Q. Is life good?
JUSTIN ROSE: Life is great. Yeah. Definitely. Yeah, I am doing what I wanted to do since I was tiny, doing what I basically what I always wanted to do. I could remember always that's all I have ever thought about, really, so to be doing it is a fantastic thing. I am not bored of doing it. I am looking forward to the challenge ahead and tournaments ahead and that really does excite me. I feel like I am moving into a different phase maybe sort of play major tournaments, World Championship events, all that type of stuff. The challenge and the prospect of doing that early is exciting.
Q. The recognition factor when you are away from the course has it mirrored your own career in the sense that you are finding a lot of people talking to you, coming up to you and during your lull they were not (inaudible) now they are starting to come up to you again?
JUSTIN ROSE: Obviously probably for quite a long period after the British Open people were still very interested and they were probably more and more interested because it was such a bizarre thing that happened. I mean I was more recognized definitely the year after the British Open in terms of away from the golf course than I am now, definitely, by far. But yeah, in terms of just being at a golf tournament and autographs, things like that, yeah, that's sort of been an increase in that, over the last -- probably since the beginning of the year really. Yeah. But away from the course it was bigger, about a few years ago.
Q. How well do you know Wentworth?
JUSTIN ROSE: Pretty well. I only live 20 minutes away so it's a course I do play socially every now and then and occasionally come up and practice my short game over here. But last year was my first PGA. To play it under PGA conditions, it's a different kettle of fish. When you come and play socially you generally play with yellow tees when it's a friendly round, kind of not the same golf course. Last year was very firm and bouncy. This year's going to be playing much longer, course is wet, rough is a little thicker, going to be -- I don't know, looking at the weather going to be a tough test this week.
Q. You said last week you had mixed blessings about playing with Tiger. I am wondering how you feel now after the finish you had last week? You relish the chance of playing with him now?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think it would have done me good to play with him. It would have done -- what is the right word, my maturing process, it would have speeded it up even more because I think, probably going to learn a lot about yourself playing with Tiger, how you deal with everything that goes on around it, and yeah, had I played with him and given him a run for his money in the same group, that would have been a huge confidence boost definitely. I would like to think that I could have done that playing with him and still performed the way I did.
Q. Have your pals, the ones you used to go around with, how are they looking at you in a Jag, do they do they -- how do you greet them when they got their Ford Escorts?
JUSTIN ROSE: They are sort of big strong brothers, don't mess with them too much. Always -- it was funny, I look back at my year book when I left school and every single person wrote: Justin, good luck with the golf, hope to see you when you are rich and famous. So that was even at the age of 15, 16, so they have always kind have had that impression that I was sort of you know, sort of kind of doing well for myself. That's the way they have always seen me. That's how people take me, and hopefully you know, hopefully they are still my genuine friends. I like to go down to the pub in just jeans and a T-shirt and walk down there and have a few pints with the guys, and you know, generally don't try and talk about golf too much, so you know, I would like to think that they are my genuine school friends, totally different backgrounds than what I do week-in and week-out. It's good, sort of nice reality check too. You go back to your roots a little bit.
Q. How many will follow you around this week?
JUSTIN ROSE: 15 people may come up, 20 people that I will give tickets to. I am not sure who will come and, you know.
JUSTIN ROSE: Mom and dad will be here this week. My sister might come for the weekend. Some of the guys who are just from the pub don't really know anything about golf. They are quite keen to come.
Q. Did you ever see yourself on Monday with a chance to win there, never quite there but --
JUSTIN ROSE: Before the round I knew I had a chance, yeah. I was playing well, I mean I was making a lot of birdies that week. I wasn't make -- I was driving the ball really well which is the key to playing well at that golf course. I knew it was going to take a great round. I drew strength from the fact that at Dunhill I shot 65 the last day to win the tournament and the week sort of progressed very similarly to that week, started with a 71, the first day; then shot three really low rounds. I was virtually in the same position going into the last round in Germany as I was in South Africa, trying to draw strength from that, from the fact that I can do it in the last day when I had the chance to win. But I said to myself I need to get off to a good aggressive start, started 5, 5, 5 so that kind of knocked me back a little bit, but I was very pleased with the way I dealt with that with the start. I might have said last week that Greg got off to a great start, and I felt like I was really sort of slamming it in reverse and headed the wrong way down the leaderboard but I stuck to my game plan, trusted my game, made a couple of putts that I needed to and suddenly found myself back up there again, which was-- it was great.
Q. The nerves any different when it's Woods and Montgomerie that you are involved with as opposed to trying to win the tournaments that you have won already?
JUSTIN ROSE: No, I think a win means a lot to you personally. After the event you can say, well, I beat Monty and Tiger, you know, it may mean more after the event but at the time a win is a win and you are playing the golf course -- you are obviously playing the field but you kind of are playing the scores. Somebody gets to 19 you are trying to get it to 20. You are not saying, well, Woods is 19. I can't get it to 20. He's at 19, I have got to get it to 20.
Q. Lots of people think that?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it's simple, really. I mean, I think it's more satisfactory after the event to say well, I did compete with two of the best players in the world certainly. And Monty said to me today he said, you were very unlucky last week, he said, 19 under is a great score on that golf course and it just happened to be that two people shot 20, so I was pretty satisfied with the way I played.
Q. If you do finish England's No. 1 and Britain's No. 1, is there a bonus in your contract that you will end up with something extra?
JUSTIN ROSE: Not really, I don't think.
Q. World No. 1?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, then it starts getting a bit -- (laughter) -- a bit pricey.
Q. Any other players come up to you like Monty who sort of said ---
JUSTIN ROSE: A lot of players this week have congratulated me on a good week. Obviously it's not a win but I think Deutsche Bank is one of our biggest tournaments and anybody who does well in that, it is a big money event, it means a lot. It's an important week, so a lot of people have said well done and Darren Clarke said, well done a couple of times to me. Yeah, I mean, it does -- that's good.
Q. Did you know what third place was worth straight away or --
JUSTIN ROSE: I knew roughly.
Q. You still -- Tiger doesn't notice that.
JUSTIN ROSE: Doesn't he? He just knows what first is. You kind of know just by playing -- I mean I know this week roughly what the breakdown is because we do it every week, we get a feel for what place is roughly how much. Not that it means much -- well, it does it means a lot, but it's not why you play the game. I knew it was about a hundred. That's kind of what I knew. (Laughs).
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