Featured Golf News
Quick Turnaround for Rose
Justin Rose didn't have much time to celebrate his victory last Sunday. After closing with a 2-over 70 to edge Bubba Watson by a stroke and win the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral in Miami, the 31-year-old Brit has moved on to the next stop on the PGA Tour's "Florida Swing," the $5.5 million Transitions Championship, which starts Thursday on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla.
Rose, who has a busy schedule leading up to next months Masters, will be facing another stellar field this week. Among the players entered are No. 2-ranked Luke Donald - with whom he'll be paired in the first round, three-time major champion Padraig Harrington, 2011 Masters winner Charl Schwartzel, No. 8-ranked Webb Simpson, and defending champion Gary Woodland.
Rose's victory last week was the fourth of his career and first WGC title. He's enjoyed some success at Innisbrook, with top-25 finishes in his past five starts. On the eve of the tournament, Rose met with reporters and discussed his big win and the prospects for this week. Here's what he had to say.
MODERATOR: We are joined in the interview room this morning by Justin Rose, the winner last week at the World Golf Championships Cadillac Championship in Miami at Doral. Justin, it was your fourth victory on the PGA Tour last week and you've been on quite a roll lately. Just maybe talk about your play of late and coming into a golf course that suits you pretty good.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I'm excited about the run that I'm on right now. I'm excited to play the whole Florida Swing based upon the fact that they are courses I've done well at in the past and it's a style of golf I think that suits me right now. Meaning that typically the winning scores in Florida are between 10-, 12-, 14-under par. It's a little bit more difficult than some of the other tournaments we play due to, it can get pretty breezy. I feel like that plays into my hands a little bit with my iron play and the way I've been hitting the ball the last year. So that's kind of why I built the schedule that way, and it was really nice it worked out for me so far. Fifth-place finish at the Honda and managing to win last week, which was fantastic. Certainly nice to get No. 4 in a relatively short space of time and begin to grow some momentum and certainly develop some confidence.
MODERATOR: Can you talk about your game right now; what seems to be really clicking?
JUSTIN ROSE: I was talking last week about the fact that everything is in order. And maybe not everything shows up on the same day, and when it does show up on the same day, obviously that's the day you go low. But some days I rely on my putting. Other days I rely on my short game. Other days I rely on hitting the ball really well. I feel like everything is there or thereabouts. It's just a matter of using one of them well every day; but it's nice to know that there's kind of a few different ways to play well, which I think that's probably a strength right now.
Q. Talk a little about your range of emotion after you signed your scorecard. It seemed apparent that you're going to win, that maybe you weren't going to win; just talk about what you were feeling.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, playing 18, I would have loved to made 4 to make it a little bit clearer and made it a little bit easier on myself. But 18 is a tough hole. When you're trying to make 5, it's very easy to make 6 I guess. But Bob, I just hit an incredible - I heard the commotion in the sky boxes and I heard that Bubba hit it in the water on 18. That's what was reverberating around the stands. I don't know why or how or where that came from. Obviously I was not looking back but kind of just took that as somewhat fact. Tapped in and figured, okay, that's good enough. So I lightly celebrated; great to see the family right off 18.
Got to the scorer's tent where they told me, no, Bubba is in the right hand rough, so I still felt pretty comfortable and confident, and he obviously did what Bubba does; he hit an amazing 4 iron in there that came in, check and spin, looked pretty fancy. Kind of figured that that, especially the way he reacted to it, like he looked really up for it. At that point I assumed he was going to make the putt, and even though it was only ten minutes I had to wait, I wanted to keep hitting a few drivers, because if it was going to be a playoff, I felt driver was the key club. You have to drive it well down 18 and down the first hole, which were going to be the two playoff holes. I thought, just take the opportunity to keep swinging. And it was the first time for me that I've won a tournament in that fashion where I've relied on someone else missing a putt or I'm in someone else's hands. Yeah, it was a strange situation, but I guess you have to celebrate the fact that what you did was good enough.
Q. What is it about Florida? Why you do so well in Florida? You said you wanted to play them all.
JUSTIN ROSE: I think obviously living here now, I've become somewhat comfortable with the bermudagrass, which growing up in England, it's very, very foreign and alien to you. I think bermuda is the hardest to play golf on, especially chipping, putting, short game, reading greens is the toughest. Honda we played the overseed, rye overseed and last week was straight up bermuda. Have not seen the golf course yet but we shall see what's happening out there. But I feel comfortable now on both those varieties of grasses. The other thing is the breeze. Florida golf is: You have to control your ball flight really, really well. You can't run the ball on the ground, so you have to put it in the air. But obviously it's typically pretty breezy this time of year in Florida, so you're putting the ball in the air but having to control spin and trajectory and that kind of stuff and that's why I like it.
Q. I wanted to ask you about Tom Lewis for a minute. The Opens were different; yours was great for the entire week at Birkdale and his was more of a start. But the fact that he turns pro and wins early on, any advice you would give him?
JUSTIN ROSE: I actually hung out with Tom a little bit at the end of the year in Asia. He played the HSBC Champions and Singapore, and got to know him quite well. There was a pool, he was hanging out by the pool one day and I went and sat with him and chatted. He seems to be in no hurry, which I think is - that was my advice to him.
Q. Which is strange for a guy who has already won.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, exactly. I thought it was incredibly long sighted. I think he took a great decision - he actually felt like after he won, he wasn't really playing great and he was working on a couple of things on his swing that he thought were going to pay off down the road. So he shut it down at the end of the year and didn't chase playing in too many events. I think he had a nice off season, gave himself some time, let everything sink in, and I thought that was really smart. I see a lot of kids, me included, you come out and you think it's so important to, one, have your Tour card immediately, but to get into the Top 50 in the world, get into the Masters, get into the majors. That will all happen in time and I think you need to focus on the development of your game, and I think that's what he's done really smartly so far.
Q. A year ago you were talking about how your game, you still feel like your best golf is ahead and you're still working on things and you're getting better and we tend to forget because it seems like you've been out here so long and you're still young. Do you still feel like you're getting better?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I identified that 30 to 40 was going to be the prime of my career. I got to 30 and I had not achieved exactly what I wanted to, so I figured that was a good story to tell myself, anyway. But if you just look at the course of history, a lot of players do play their best golf between 30 and 40. If I was ever going and do anything great in the game, it was going to be between that time period. I think it's just been a matter of finally putting into practice, all of the things I've learned, establishing a good team around me. Getting to a point in my life where I'm comfortable on and off the golf course. It's a lot of factors that go into playing well. It's not always just about the golf swing or how you're putting. It's putting your life together along with the golf. I think that's probably what's happened in the last two years.
Q. Has there been a final piece to the puzzle as far as the game itself that's got you over the top here in the last year or so?
JUSTIN ROSE: You know, I don't think there's been a final piece of the jigsaw puzzle because it's always evolving and always changing. What may have worked these last couple years might not be sustainable and be the secret for the next five. You've got to keep adapting, and that I think is where my mind is. I'm trying to just keep learning, keep focusing on the process and see where it takes me. I don't see it as now I'm over the top. It's been a nice run, but I have to keep working hard. I think this game if anything has taught me to stay humble; there's no doubt, you never know quite what's around the corner. So not taking anything granted, just keep working hard and keep trying to improve.
Q. What did the Doral win, as opposed to Memorial; did it have a significance? Was it bigger or different in any way?
JUSTIN ROSE: It was in some ways, it kind of felt like less of a big deal. Kind of got in the way of my good golf; whereas I felt like I had to try really hard to make the first win happen. The first win was pretty elusive for a while and was a big deal because every time you're in contention, you kind of are facing questions of why you have not won before and that can make the job even harder. So to get the first one out of the way and to do it in the fashion I did it with the great 66 on Sunday at Jack's tournament was - I mean, that was a dream first win. I could not have scripted it better.
But to win a World Golf Championships obviously on paper is a huge achievement but I think emotionally, it was just a lot more part of the process of what's been going on lately. But what is great about the World Golf Championships events is I'm a guy that tries to play both tours. Of late, I'm playing great in the majors; I haven't done that much in the World Golf Championships. So it makes it hard work to compete on both tours. But when you do pull off a win like a World Golf Championship, certainly it is exciting because it gives you a chance to win the FedEx Cup and gives you a chance to have a good run at The Race to Dubai. So from that perspective, it was a very exciting win.
Q. I realize there's a long way to go in this, but the way it's shaping up, the European Ryder Cup Team is quite the stacked team with some really good players that are not going to be on. Curious your take on that, and also given what happened to you the last time, if you approached this any differently to just sort of say, I'm going to make sure I'm on.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I definitely approached it differently. I couldn't complain last time around. You can't complain that you don't get a captain's pick. You make the team or you don't; and if you don't make the team, you're in someone else's hands and that's never a good place to be. So certainly wanted to make the team by my own right. I've got some work ahead of me still but I've had a great start to the campaign. Delighted with where I am right now. Sorry, the first part was?
Q. There's so many great names in the mix.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, obviously Europe's been feeling with that for years on the flipside. We have always turned up at the Ryder Cup with the USA being 1, 2, 3, 4 in the world. Sometimes being the underdog in a team event can be a good thing. I think the Europeans fed off that for a long time. So now, they have got to figure out as a team how to possibly go in as favorites, who knows, with a few months to go, a lot can happen. But on paper, a lot of great players are doing well in Europe right now. But 18 hole match play, it comes down to hearts and who wants it the most and home crowd advantage possibly. We've seen that the last couple times, Valhalla went with the home team, and likewise in Europe. I don't think there will be anybody resting on their laurels playing at Medinah. I think that will be a tough Ryder Cup to win, and I think even though on paper the Europeans at this point might be favorites, you know, it's all on the week. I don't think reputations out here - they don't mean much over 18 holes.
Q. You had a lot of success early in a major that built expectations and you were in the hunt at Augusta a couple times. Can you relate to what Rory did, shooting the 80 and the way he's responded? Can you talk about that?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I can definitely relate to the 80 he shot. I did it myself. (Laughter) I think that's one of the greatest things I've learned at Augusta. I've learned how to play the course well and I've also learned what the course can do to you if you don't treat it with respect in certain areas of the course. Obviously that's what Rory would have learned last year, how a round could quickly get away from you there. It was just nice to see that not really ever build into something bigger for him mentally; just to put it to bed. The very next time he had the chance at the U.S. Open, put himself in exactly the same situation with a big lead and went along and finished it off. It was nice that everyone can somewhat forget about that.
And I think since that point, he's learned how to win, I would say. It looks like pretty much every chance that I can think of that he's had a lead, he's probably closed it out since Augusta. I know there's a lot of top 5s where he's been close to winning, but I think every time he's had a significant lead, he's got the job done now. So I think it was probably a good thing that that happened to him so early in his career and how he's handled it from a learning perspective.
Q. You played at a high level all this year. Do you think the key to winning a Masters, finally breaking through in a major, is trying to get your game tuned up at the right time and peaking; or, playing the golf course in the best way possible?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think playing the golf course in the best way possible. I think Augusta can be a course you can go to and maybe be a tiny bit off with certain areas of your game; maybe driving, maybe iron play, possibly, at times. As long as you're missing it in the correct spots; I think thinking your way around Augusta can be more valuable than playing well at Augusta. I think a bit of course knowledge that's why you see guys like Tiger, even when he has not been playing well in the past, he competes at Augusta just through local knowledge and knowing how to play the course. Phil; you get guys, they are favorites that week because they know how to play the course.
Q. Did you watch the news after your win at Doral? Did you watch TV that night?
JUSTIN ROSE: No, I did not.
Q. Just curious if you felt slighted at all that the highlights were of a black Mercedes leaving Doral. Rather than an Englishman holding up the trophy.
JUSTIN ROSE: Not slighted here, no.
Q. Have you ever owned a Cadillac before?
JUSTIN ROSE: I have not.
Q. Do you get one?
JUSTIN ROSE: I don't believe so.
Q. You don't get one?
JUSTIN ROSE: No.
Q. That used to be pretty standard.
JUSTIN ROSE: This Tour's just not what it used to be. (Laughter).
Q. Are you playing next week?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yes.
Q. Was that always the plan to do all four in the Florida Swing, take Houston off?
JUSTIN ROSE: Exactly. I realize it was a lot of golf but I just felt like something good could happen. I knew my game was good and the courses suited me and I just felt ready for a challenge; ready for the challenge of getting my head down. I had a long off-season, as well. I had the baby at home, had to spend a lot of time at home. I figured it was time to actually put in some work.
Q. And the Tavistock Cup?
JUSTIN ROSE: And the Tavistock and pro ams. From this day onwards, I play 12 straight days of golf. So that will be key for me, how I recover and refresh in time for Augusta. The week prior to Augusta, a lot of times you get quite intensely focused on your practice, but it's going to be key for me to also get some downtime.
Q. You don't plan on going up there, I take it?
JUSTIN ROSE: I don't think so this year. I've liked to do that in the past but I think with having played four in a row, I think it's best not to go up this time.
Q. Have you done that before, played four in a row going in?
JUSTIN ROSE: I haven't played four in a row for quite a while. It's actually six in a row on paper because I played the Match Play, but lost the first round and was home Wednesday night and didn't leave for West Palm Beach until Wednesday morning, and so I kind of used that as a week off.
Q. Did you play Riviera?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yes.
MODERATOR: Good luck this week.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.