Arnold Palmer Invitational interview: Justin Rose

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March 22, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard

DOUG MILNE:
Justin Rose, thank you for joining us. 2 under, 70 today, a nice start here at the Arnold Palmer Invitational finds you in great position heading into the weekend, tied for the lead at 9 under. Just some comments on the day, and we'll take some questions.

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, sure. I mean, obviously, a good, solid round of golf, I guess, especially around Bay Hill. Any time you shoot under par, I think it's good. I felt like today the course was there for the taking a little bit. I felt that through the middle of my round I was looking at the pins. I was feeling good. I was feeling like I was going to make some birdies.

You know, the finish kind of got the better of the whole group, really. The atmosphere seemed to change when it started to rain. Guys started to struggle a little bit coming in. I kind of lost my focus. Well, not lost my focus, but just kind of second guessed that putt down the hill a little bit on the speed once the rains fell. But that was the only thing that hampered the day, really. All in all, exciting day, and I'm in a good position.

Q. You referenced the finish for you guys. How jarring or rare is it to see Tiger finish bogey, bogey, bogey? I know you're concentrating on your own thing, but you've played with him a number of times, and it just seemed like it was out of character.

JUSTIN ROSE:
Yeah, absolutely. He's normally a fast finisher, and you can expect him to probably finish fast on the weekend. But, absolutely, he did a lot of hard work today. He actually played really well. I thought he was probably a couple of shots away from shooting 64 today at times.

So, yeah, I'm sure he was very disappointed because he actually played some great golf today.

Q. Wanted to ask you a long convoluted question. On 13, you turned quickly at the gallery after. Did someone say something?

JUSTIN ROSE:
Yeah. I was lining it up. I had about a 15 footer, and I was reading the putt thinking left to right. Might go a little bit right to left of the hole. Fairly straight overall. And as I'm lining it up, someone's like, "It goes right. It goes right. It goes right." So I'm like, okay. Thanks, buddy, thanks.

So now you're thinking don't push it and miss it right. So it's just one of those annoying moments where you're having to then battle like someone planted a seed. And I hit a great putt that's in the middle with four feet to go and it goes left of the hole. So, you know, I guess, especially, I'd executed perfectly and I now think I've made it, and it goes left. I've just got my back up a tiny bit.

Q. Then you missed a shorter one on 14. I guess I wanted to go to 15 and talk about that putt there and how much that might have steadied you?

JUSTIN ROSE:
Yeah, definitely. I mean, obviously, I looked after that 13th hole, but I didn't feel at all bothered by it. It was a rowdy day out there. Bay Hill, Friday afternoon, it is what it is, you know. You have to expect that stuff to a certain extent.

But any time you make a I just haven't made a bogey for a long time, and then you make a bogey, then the very next hole you're facing another par putt. So momentum wise, it wasn't lost on me that it felt like a big putt there at 15. Making that putt at 15 and hitting the good tee shot at 16, I really felt like I got my momentum back quickly.

Q. I know it's only Friday, but when you're playing with Tiger, do you get into the mindset of thinking, all right, if I keep ahead of him, I'm doing well? Especially when he's hitting it I mean, he hit it pretty well today, and missed a three footer, and you still can't save the four strokes that you started the day with.

JUSTIN ROSE:
Yeah, there is no doubt. You always sense his presence. It's hard not to, obviously. His rounds are covered, left, round and center. You can't avoid it sometimes. But when you're playing with him, you can almost guarantee that he'll be in the mix on Sunday at some point. So, yeah, absolutely.

If you can keep your nose in front of him, you're probably signed for that right now and take your chances. But at the end of the day, you've only got to look at the golf course. He's not looking around at what everyone else is doing, and that tells you the way that the game has to be played. You've got to have your head down, focusing, one shot at a time and executing as best you can. That is the way to get it done.

Q. With the rain coming right here, it's probably going to soften up the course a little bit. There might be some more rain on the weekend. Is this going to be where you have a mentality to keep trying to make birdies as opposed to maybe a little more conservative because there may be more scoring chances on softer greens?

JUSTIN ROSE:
Yeah, absolutely. I think once Bay Hill gets firm, the scores tend to sky rocket here. It's very difficult. Even 17 today, actually, I pushed it a little bit. I thought I might struggle to carry that bunker, but I pitched between the bunker and the flagstick and it still went 30 feet by. So holes like that become a lot easier when they soften up.

Holes like number 1, number 2, you can get the ball close to the hole with good iron shots. So if it does soften up, it's going to become a lot to do with iron play. If you can be on with your irons, you're going to be able to make some birdies.

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