2013 PGA Championship Interview Transcript: Justin Rose
KELLY ELBIN: 2013 United States Open Champion, Justin Rose, joining us at the 95th PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club. This will be Justin's 11th PGA Championship.
First of all, congratulations on four special days at Merion, and some comments coming in here as a Major Champion the first time at the PGA Championship, please.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, obviously it's an exciting position to be in. Obviously the more accomplished you become as a player, the more you sort of really single out the major championships. And the more times you get to the US PGA, the more you realize it's your last chance of the season to make it a fantastic year.
I'm in the fortunate position of playing in that group that everyone wants to be in, the three Major Champions, and I'm really looking forward to the experience for the first time and looking to really turn a fantastic year into an incredible one.
KELLY ELBIN: You get the honor of playing with Adam as the Masters Champion and Phil as The Open Champion; what that means to be in the circle of major champions in the first two rounds this year.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, sure. Obviously Adam is a great friend of mine, and couldn't have been happier when he won the Masters, and to follow him as a Major Champion was sort of icing on the cake really.
Beating Phil at the U.S. Open, obviously with his record there, obviously I was delighted to win, but you have to feel for Phil in that situation, too. So I was also happy for him to win The Open Championship. And obviously Phil and I have had some good golf over the last eight or nine months if you include The Ryder Cup and had some nice head to head battles and had some fun out on the golf course. So for me, it's a really, really fun pairing the next couple of days.
Q. Now that it's been almost two months, can you just reflect on what life has been like, was it what you thought, has it been tougher, just trying to get back to kind of normal maybe?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think you keep trying to kid yourself that you're always in good shape obviously, but now two months removed from it, I could see maybe at The Open Championship, I wasn't 100 percent ready to play as I would like to have been.
I did my best to enjoy being a Major Champion for the first month or so, but there does come a point where ... and also, I think it's the back slapping that you get from everybody, which is obviously very nice, but it also in some ways can prevent you from staying fully focused on what's ahead. People keep wanting to talk about Merion and all those good things, and that's all part of it and hopefully I can adapt fast enough if I should be lucky enough for that to happen again.
I feel like two months removed from it now, I feel like the trophy is back at home. I've pretty much been traveling with it nonstop for four or five weeks and it's back home where it should be and I can reflect on it in quiet moments, but it's time to move forward.
Q. Does it feel like two months since you've won at Merion?
JUSTIN ROSE: No, it probably feels shorter than that still to be honest with you. It's been definitely a whirlwind, and the fact that I've been at home in the U.K. for four weeks which doesn't often happen, seeing, for example, friends, it's been nonstop, fresh faces, people to celebrate and enjoy it with, and I feel finally back to normal.
Q. Sunday night at Merion, you said it still had not sunk in yet. When did it sink in, and what was the predominant thought after it did sink in on what you had accomplished?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think the thing that sort of surprised me in a sense is how sort of calm I felt about being a Major Champion and how in a sense it's been like a quest since I was a young kid to get to this point, and it just suddenly felt like, ah, a little bit of a deep breath, a sigh of relief, and in a sense all the work has been worthwhile. It's really been what my career has been about and what I've been trying to strive for, so it kind of felt calming in a sense, as well.
Felt very comfortable as I sort of began to live with being a Major Champion and began to feel very comfortable with it, which I think will hopefully sort of bode well for the future.
Q. How do you explain the success that so many of you working with Sean are having right now? What is it about him, or is it something about you guys that's behind it, or is it simply a coincidence?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I think that there's no doubt, he's got some decent players, and I think the more success he has with those players, the more he attract other great players. But the reason he's able to attract the great players is his ability to switch between technical work that needs to be done at certain points and then other points really understanding how to coach. And coaching means getting the best out of your player on that particular week, and that might not mean delving deeply into swing mechanics, but figuring out a couple of simple cues that the player can really go and play with.
So I feel like he really prides himself in being a coach, as well as like a golf swing instructor.
Q. Can you give us an example where during the Open week where maybe he was able to did a that, or even in your preparation that it proved helpful?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, U.S. Open really as simple as my swing thoughts there were, we worked a lot on setup. Slightly widening my base, widening my stance and getting the ball a little bit further forward, because that was getting me ... I had the club ... I didn't swing it perfectly at the U.S. Open. I felt like I had the club a little across the line and dropping it a little bit under on the way down, but instead of trying to change the whole plane of the backswing, by just sort of moving the contact point on the ground, like moving the ball forward, it just gave me a little more time to square up the club, so that's a good example of just giving me something easy to go out and play with, rather than trying to fix the whole swing.
Q. There's been a lot of first time Major winners recently, and three of the last four PGA winners were first time Major winners. Do you think there's something about the talent right now that's allowing a lot of first time Major winners, and specifically with this tournament being a lot of first timers in the last four years?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I definitely think golf is getting stronger and stronger and deeper and deeper, absolutely. Guys tend to be a little more fearless. They don't tend to subscribe in the fact that you need to pay your dues possibly. They just get it out here and get it done. I don't know if that's because coaching has got better, or mentally guys are just a little bit more advanced at an earlier age.
But the US PGA, I think that also the way the golf course is set up, it's, I would say, slightly more typical of a regular PGA TOUR event than the other Majors, and I think that gives it also its own unique position within the four Majors.
I think if you try to have two tournaments that compete for even par, that it doesn't really work. So I think each major has its own identity and its own sort of personality. But I would say that this one does mirror or relate to a regular event a little bit more than the others, except the staging of it. I think that's where it's surprising the guys, especially the young, Keegan Bradley, for example, his first win was a major; it feels like a huge tournament. You just see the stands and the corporate hospitality and the crowds and just you really know you're playing in something different. So that's the only thing that surprises me how guys are able to get it done winning the first time.
Q. Oak Hill as a course, a lot of people come here and talk about the fan support and just the course is historic and famous; do you think the PGA would benefit from having more tournaments or Majors or just events here at Oak Hill that brings professional golf to Rochester?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, and I think this course has stood up to the test of time. It's stood up to all sorts of championships, Ryder Cups, U.S. Opens, PGA Championships, and that's what I love about it, because I think it can be set up in different ways.
I love the way it's set up this week. It's tough; it's fair. On the side to miss the ball, they have given you about a five yard first cut, so they are kind of telling you where you can and can't miss the ball, basically not penalizing you too much for a slight miss hit, but if you're off, you're going to be in trouble.
So I think that's what this course is about. It can be as tough as you want it to be, but this week, I think it's set up in a way that that is perfect for this golf tournament.
Q. With having won the U.S. Open, the demands on your time, I'm sure, have increased exponentially. How is the difference in your ability to prepare this week maybe a little different now that you've gotten a little more used to it versus Muirfield?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think absolutely, at Muirfield, I wasn't ready with my body. I wasn't ready with my game. I came in there a bit deconditioned because I had missed some workouts and had done some traveling back home in the U.K., didn't quite have my normal facilities available to me that I normally have.
I feel like I'm back to normal a little bit, I feel like I'm back to being disciplined, I feel like I'm back to being really in the present and motivated for the rest of the year.
Q. A lot of people win major champions, they bask in the afterglow of it and all of the accolades that go with it for months afterward, and maybe their careers never quite get back to that level; how do you avoid that sort of trap and have you been getting advice from other people who have won Majors on how to avoid that trap?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I haven't particularly gotten any advice from the other guys or anything like that, but I'm aware of that not being the case for me. I feel like I've made those adjustments myself. I felt uncomfortable talking about Merion and just keep celebrating that win, I just didn't feel right. I feel like it's something to look back on at the end of my career.
I think all of us at this point in our careers need to have our heads down, need to play as hard as you can, need to amass as much as success as you can. And you look back at it in ten, 15 years time and think, that was good, that was bad, I could have done more, I should have done this, should have done that. But only at that point are you really going to know what you can achieve.
I feel still very driven by the process of getting better as a golfer and as a player and a competitor rather than what other trophies I can go on to win. I feel like if I can get better as a player, those trophies are going to get in my way rather than me going ahead and chasing more. I think my way of combatting is to just really try and improve myself as a player.
Q. How different does it feel arriving in a major now, knowing that you've won one, as opposed to before?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think you understand what it takes, and I think you understand what a long week a major is and what you have to deal with and how much you have to soak up, how much pressure you have to absorb or deflect is probably a better word. There's no point getting ahead of yourself.
I think in the past I've led tournaments after Thursday and Friday, and you allow yourself to probably get too far ahead. And over the years, you realize how much golf there is to be played.
On the flipside of that, if you don't get off to a good start, like at Merion, I was 4 over through 11, didn't panic, just kept plugging away, plugging away. Obviously my run happened for me and I ended up at the top of the leaderboard.
Just having that experience now, that if I put myself in similar positions, good and bad, this week or going forward, at least I know how to react to them.
Q. Can you talk about how impressive it is that Tiger has won 79 tournaments, and do you think he could win a hundred?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it did strike me once where the PGA TOUR sent out a Tweet and it was just a simple Tweet with WWWWW, so on, and I looked at this sea of Ws and it struck me, and I looked at the first five Ws and thought, that's my career. Made it look somewhat, you know, less impressive.
That's a staggering amount of tournaments, just to put yourself in that many amount of positions to win is something, but to actually close out that many tournaments is a whole other thing. What's that, 21 more he has to win? And how old is he, 37? Yeah, I think he'll probably get to a hundred.
Q. You talk about working with Sean, but I know also you've done a lot in the mental coaching area, and particularly with Dr. Gio Valiante in Orlando. Can you talk about that and how it's helped your game?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, sure. For me, it's about doing the simple things well. It's not about doing anything funky. It's about just staying in the moment, staying in the present. I've never played well when I add things; it's about getting rid of things for me, so just a very simple process of seeing the shot, committing to it. And then the biggest thing is accepting that golf shot, the outcome of it, and not letting it bog you down or get frustrated.
So I think that's what I did really well at Merion. I felt like I never at any time during the week lost my cool. I think that if you can lose your cool a little bit on the Thursday or the Friday, you can't really expect to keep it on the Sunday. So the whole momentum of the week I think started on Thursday with my sort of patience and mentality.
Q. Can you tell us the circumstances of your minor car bang earlier in the week and maybe respond to David Lynn's suggestion that your driving might not be up to it this week?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, unfortunately it was just a minor fender bender. I guess accidents are accidents. You can never know exactly quite why they happened. I figured I looked left, I look right, the gap to cross the road turn left, and a car essentially came out of nowhere. So it was one of those situations, unfortunately hit the front left and a bit of a dink. Obviously it's embarrassing but at the same no one was hurt and that's, I guess, all that matters at the end of the day.
KELLY ELBIN: A lot of questions about use of drivers out here. What holes do you anticipate using driver on starting tomorrow?
JUSTIN ROSE: My caddie walked the course and felt like it was a driver golf course and that's the way I was thinking about this. But the more I've played it this week, the more I've realized it's not necessary everywhere out there.
The rough is thick enough where I think the premium is to put the ball in play. There might be a couple of holes where you might accept being in the rough by hitting a driver. You might be able to take out a bunker or two, and accept that you're going to be within a hundred yards of the front edge and if you do miss, you'll be comfortable getting it on the green from the rough.
But I felt like today with the wind, the wind was really gusting out there today, which probably changed the feel of the course a little bit, and definitely made the front nine very tricky, which is the nine that I played today, and there were some good driving holes out there.
I think No. 5 in particular, that's a pretty tough hole. I think if there's no wind, there's definitely 3 wood into the widest part of the fairway, but the way the wind was today, it's forcing you to hit driver. Obviously conditions, it's going to depend a little bit on the wind, but I would say you're hitting four to five drivers out there in the round.
KELLY ELBIN: U.S. Open Champion, Justin Rose, thank you very much.
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