Courtesy ASAP Sports.
MARK STEVENS: Justin it's been a couple weeks since your win at Cadillac. If you want to talk about your game since then, a little bit about the course. You just got done with the Pro-Am, and then we will take some questions.
JUSTIN ROSE: Sure, obviously it's been a fun couple of weeks. A lot of people have congratulated me on the win and that's always nice to receive but at the same time, you're trying to keep your head in the game and into the particular week that you're playing.
So obviously I went to play Transitions and for the most part played really well there. Kind of had a 27-hole period in the middle of that tournament where I went AWOL, maybe just went a little bit flat for that period of time. But Tavistock Cup the last couple days, again, played pretty solid.
What I'm finding is I'm kind of coming out of the traps pretty well, my game is good but the last couple days, I've just been sort of stumbling towards the end of my rounds and getting a little bit tired but need to find just a nice way to kick it into gear for four more rounds before I take a week off.
Q. You've been playing golf for quite some time now, what are the biggest equipment changes that you have seen in your golf lifetime? Somebody like Arnold or Jack have seen a whole bunch but what are the ones that you've seen?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think the ones I've seen is obviously the driver heads get bigger, and the ball -- the ability to take spin off the ball with the driver. So the driver-ball combination, in terms of like hitting tee shots into the wind, and to have the ability to get what looks like a high flight but doesn't lose distance into the wind. I think with the old equipment or old ball, the ball used to rise up a lot more into the breeze and now you get more of a penetrating flight. I think the driver/ball combo for me is the biggest change and improvement.
Q. That gives you significant more distance??
JUSTIN ROSE: Exactly, because I think it's harder and harder to find technology that's going to give you more ball speed but you try to get the perfect launch conditions to hit the ball further.
So matching up your particular speed with the right launch angle and the right spin. So almost for me the biggest change in equipment has been the ability for us to measure all that stuff. So you know, for example, TrackMan, all of the data that spits out helps us fine tune our games as much as anything, as well.
Q. How much time do you spend doing that??
JUSTIN ROSE: Obviously every time TaylorMade brings out a new driver, I spend probably the first two or three weeks of the year working a lot on TrackMan until I find the perfect combination of shaft and head and ball. That process, even know you know you are playing equipment that's better, it can take three, four, five, six weeks to get it perfect, to get all of the combinations and variables ironed out. Ultimately you do come out of it with a better club.
Q. On a week-to-week basis, how closely do you follow World Rankings, especially now that there's been some change? And in your list of goals, is being No. 1 in the World Ranking, where does that rank?
JUSTIN ROSE: Sure. I keep my eye on it. I don't really live and die by the World Rankings. I think when you get to -- when you have the chance to be No. 1, then for sure it will be on your mind as a huge target, a huge goal; to say you've been the No. 1 player in the world, that's a story for the grandkids. Doesn't get much better than that. That's a wonderful achievement and certainly a goal of mine.
You know I see it as a by?product of doing all of the other things very, very well, process, sticking to your own particular process. But at the same time, there's more than one way into tournaments now. If you're Top-30 on the FedExCup, that gets you into most of the tournaments you want to be in. That's almost as important now as Top-50 in the world.
But for me World Ranking is really only crucial to gain entry into tournaments and to be in the majors and the World Golf Championships. And once you're in those tournaments, it's about winning those tournaments.
For me, you know, Top-10 is a nice benchmark. Top-50 is a nice benchmark. Top-10 is a nice benchmark but ultimately No. 1 is really the only ranking that is of any huge significance.
Q. You mentioned having a little lull in the middle of last week's tournament and fading a little bit at the end of rounds and so on. Is that something that goes with the adrenaline that you get from winning a big tournament like that? Is it inevitable that you have a little bit of that? And do you have to make a conscious process with that week off to get yourself back up to what you need to be for Augusta?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, sure. I think winning a tournament, yes, it probably does take it out of you and I was in contention the week before that, too.
So I had two weeks where I guess you're using up a lot of mental energy. But it's more -- it's as much the physical side right now, too. Not so much physical side but the mental and physical side of just playing. This is my sixth tournament in a row and I haven't done that for a long, long time. You know, that does include the Match Play where I lost the first round, which did give me five days off. So I tried to treat it as a week off in terms of me looking at the schedule from a more realistic point of view.
But I have not played more than three in a row for the last couple years, and the reason I decided to play so many was I felt my game was good and I felt all the courses suited me and I felt like I wanted to chase down a win and chase down a good start to the season. Obviously I've got that early on in the campaign of the four events. But I decided obviously just to continue with my schedule, schedule, never know which way to pronounce it these days; schedule.
Next week is a very important week for me to recharge the batteries. I feel like I'm in the fortunate position where going into Augusta, I'm not trying to do anything different with my game. I feel like I've got all the shots right now. So it's not a case of having to prepare really hard. It's about going there mentally fresh I think. So I will keep practicing and really working on my short game more than anything. But I'll be focusing on the recovery side.
Q. My question actually follows on from that, in terms of the physical side of things, how gratified do you feel that you've been able to play six weeks on the spin, obviously you've had back problems in the past and all of the sort of work that you've done there to strengthen yourself, that must be very gratifying.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I guess I haven't even thought about it, so that's a really nice place to be. And when you are kind of not thinking about nagging injuries, when you're playing a lot of golf; because golf, it's more of just -- that's what it is. A nagging sort of injury, a repetitive motion over and over and over again. I'll be feeling really good from that perspective, so thanks for reminding me.
I feel good right now, which is nice.
Q. Since you've made a commitment to the PGA TOUR, this doesn't affect you, but I would like your opinion on whether or not you think the change in the Qualifying School to the Nationwide is going to affect future European or international players who might be taking a look at playing in the United States. Do you think it's going to discourage them from coming or do you think they are willing to come and qualify as a Nationwide player and then move up??
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, it's a good question. I think overall I like the changes. I think we are in a world right now that you need to be pretty aggressive at giving value back to sponsors and people. I think there are some really good changes from that side of things.
If you look at it from a European perspective, it might -- there could be an impact there, but obviously the PGA TOUR needs to look at the PGA TOUR, which is played over here in the United States. European Tour has a fantastic tour of its own, so you can't really cater to everybody. But I think that the overall attitude is that if you're a good enough player, you're going to find your way onto a tour. You can't keep good guys out. If you are a really good player, too, it does give you the ability to get one or two invites during the season and make enough money where you fall into, whatever it might be, the top 200 on the PGA TOUR Money List which is only making two or three cuts, and that gives you entry into the final three tournaments; that then a good player should back themselves over three events rather than a six?round Q-School process. So that's my attitude to it is if you can just get yourself into that playoff series to get a card, I think the good players are going to come through no matter what.
Q. Do you think they will mind playing a year on the Nationwide Tour??
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, I think there are still ways to do it without having to play a whole full year on the Nationwide Tour; provided a player could secure one or two invites or work his way into a couple of the tournaments through The European Tour possibly, even some of the World events, and just gain some status on the Money List; and therefore, gain entry into those final three events and give themselves a shot.
It's a big decision to move there, especially if they have families, to go and play on the Nationwide Tour. Obviously when you change something, you are probably not going to keep everybody happy, but overall I think it's a good change.
Q. There have been several dramatic Sunday swings this year on TOUR. Can you give those of us on the other side of the ropes some idea of how difficult it is to close out a tournament, and what traits you think are most important toward that end and is closing out a tournament this week going to be a little different proposition than closing out a couple weeks from now??
JUSTIN ROSE: I think is, yeah, talk about closing in general I guess. There's no doubt it's been fascinating to watch. No lead is safe. I think that's what people at home when they are watching, they think three, four, shot lead, it's done.
But it is really nothing. I mean, every time I'm in contention after two rounds, even after three rounds, I keep barking at myself to tell myself, there's a long way to go. Don't get ahead of yourself. So much can happen on your end; you can stumble, of course. But anybody can come through the pack and shoot 62, 63, 64, 65. You just don't know what's going to happen until it's all added up at end. It's critical to stay in the moment, keep playing shot for shot. Just keep staying positive out there. I think the moment you get a little defensive, the moment you start trying to play mistake-free golf, because you've got a lead, things become more and more difficult out there.
In terms of one tournament being more difficult to close out than another, that's purely self-inflicted. The value shouldn't necessarily change on a golf shot if you're thinking correctly. When you're at your best, that's what happens. It's just a golf shot ahead of you and you're playing one shot at a time and you know, you're seeing it, and you're executing it, and you're accepting the outcome and you're carrying on with the next one and you're breaking it down like that, shot after shot.
If you start to think about it as Amen Corner and the Masters and the this and the that; if you start letting all that get inside your head, it is harder to close it out. But typically the guys who are winning the tournament, they are the guys keeping most of that -- they are seeing the golf shot at hand. And when you do that, everything else tends to go away and it's actually not as difficult as it seems.
Q. Back to preparation for Augusta, is there something out here on this golf course and this tournament that you can go, okay, this is the same shot I'm going to need to hit at Augusta, or I need to not hit it here; is this a good warm up for Augusta??
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think the course has evolved into being a good warm-up for Augusta in terms of, there seem to be a lot more run?offs around the greens, which is similar to what you face at Augusta. I think it's quite a difficult chipping test, playing this course.
The run?offs, the overseed is quite sticky, as it is at Augusta, too, and I think the greens are quite quick this year; depending on the rain and what-have-you, should get pretty firm. Around the greens are some similarities and overall if you look at this golf course it tends to suit a right-to-left ball flight for the most part. There's a lot of dogleg-lefts around lakes, so if you start to get comfortable seeing a right-to-left flight this week, that will also suit you well at Augusta.
MARK STEVENS: Thank you and good luck this week.