Travelers Championship interview: Justin RoseJune 20, 2013
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Q. Justin, I haven't had a chance to congratulate you. So from myself and everyone on the PGA TOUR radio, congratulations, we're all very proud of your National Championship?
JUSTIN ROSE: Thank you very much. Yeah, I'm proud to be the national champion of obviously this great country. Yeah, it's a moment that I guess you work hard for, and not until it happens that you actually believe it.
Q. Well played today. Was it difficult to focus to get through all of the celebrity appearances and get back to business?
JUSTIN ROSE: I was looking forward to playing today. Getting the first round I say out of the way, but I wanted to get back on the golf course. As I said, the announcement on the first tee today, being announced as the 2013 US Open champion, I couldn't help but smile before I hit my first tee shot. Got off to a lovely start today birdieing the first, And then just sort of made a few mental errors early in my round. Speed of the greens and not being that committed to where the wind was and made a few bogies, but it was nice to be patient enough. Obviously, on a day when you see 8s and 9s and 7s where you get off to a slow start, you feel a little bit lethargic.
But I've stayed sort of committed to the same things that worked so well for me last week. That was my goal today, really. Sort of honor the process that went well last week and do myself justice out there.
Q. Really nice job bringing it home with birdies at 12, 13, 15, 16?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, absolutely. It was nice to get hot there on the back nine. 67 is a good start. Obviously, there are all these guys that go low in the first round. When you play a tournament like this, it's about keeping steady pace. If you put four rounds in the mid 60s together, you're going to be very, very close.
Q. Let me ask you, is there ever an occasion where you're making a bogey and you start to get frustrated and say what the heck? I'm U.S. Open champion?
JUSTIN ROSE: That was the back. That was plan B today. Things continue to not really work out, I was willing to just to walk around and bask in the glory of last week. But as a competitive golfer, you want to bring out the best when you can.
Q. Can you just talk about first round after being the champion and what it was like to stand there on that first tee?
JUSTIN ROSE: It was really a wonderful sort of occasion on the first tee. Sort of a large crowd had gathered. Obviously, Keegan is popular here and Zach is popular everywhere he goes. And being the 2013 U.S. Open champion, it was really nice on the first tee. When I was announced that way, I couldn't help but have a little smile come across my face. I really enjoyed that moment.
I think that's part of this week. It's part of just trying to soak it all in. That's an achievement that I've been dreaming about. To spend a couple of days, obviously, I've been doing a lot of media and what have you. But, again, just to soak it in. That is not the norm for us golfers necessarily. So we're a little bit out of our comfort zone doing all of that. I'm just trying to relish every moment this week.
Q. So 67 after a whirlwind week; are you happy with that?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I'm happy with that, especially after the start today. I birdied the first, and had a sluggish four or five holes where I struggled, but I stayed patient. Really, actually I set a number today. I felt like it was the kind of day where I needed to set myself a different goal. I wanted to try to get in under par and shoot 68. My caddie and I talked about 68 and I felt like just to set my own goal. You look at the leaderboard and see 9s and 8s and 7s. If you try to get to that number, you can get frustrated. So I set my own goal, and it was nice to be shooting 67.
Q. Is there something to be said about getting back to normal and have a round behind you? Life is never going to be the same again, but to get back to the business of golf?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, absolutely. I think it's important for me to play this week and next week. And get some competitive rounds under my belt as the U.S. Open champion. So when I get to the next major as well I'm absolutely ready. The novelty in a sense has worn off and I can try to accomplish the next one. This week is such a great crowd. I think everyone was grateful that I turned up. It never crossed my mind not to. But people certainly seemed appreciative, and it has been a fun atmosphere to play.
Q. Justin, there was a story that you switched management comes to Excel. Can you comment on that, please?
JUSTIN ROSE: The time something kind of ironic, I suppose, with everything that's happened. But it's a decision I made quite some time ago and things take some time to figure themselves out, obviously. The last few months have been things working themselves out. I'm grateful to 4Sports for the good six years I had with them. But I felt with me playing so much here in the States and where I felt my game was going, I felt like it was a decision that I wanted to make to move on.
Q. For the first time on the PGA TOUR, Justin Rose announced as a major champion. What were your emotions like when you finally got things going today?
JUSTIN ROSE: I got to the first tee and there was such a nice crowd assembled there. I felt very, very calm, and really ready to play golf today. I felt focused and then that happened and I couldn't help a smile come across my face. It was truly a sweeter moment than I thought it would be. I was kind of waiting for it and wondering if they would announce me as that, and obviously, they did. It was great.
I started with a birdie and felt like I picked up where I left off. It was a nice way to start.
Q. A lot going on since your win at Merion. What was the most difficult part today?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think getting off to a slow start. I birdied the first, and had four or five holes where I was just making poor decisions and wasn't quite committed to where the wind was and being half into shots, which is obviously not what I did at Merion. It was just a point in the round where I had to talk to myself and get back to committing to the golf shots. I set myself a little target today, because you look at the leaderboard with 9s, and 8s and 7s, and you get a little bit despondent when you're 2 over par. So I just set a goal to shoot 68. It was nice. I got some more birdies on the back nine, and ended up shooting 67, which was nice.
Q. You said on Wednesday you were going to be leaning on yourself and take this week as it played out. Final 67 for you here in the first round. How do you assess the day overall?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think it's a huge success for me today, especially given the start. Obviously, if I continued to struggle today I was willing to take it easy on myself and reminisce about last week.
But as a competitive golfer, you want to bring your best. You tee off at tournaments to put yourself well. That was also my goal today. I wanted to honor the process that worked so well for me last week and just keep things moving forward. Obviously, I'm playing well. I feel like I'm putting well, driving and swinging it well, so hopefully, I just knew I had to get through today without too much damage. If you manage to keep it in the mid 60s for most of the week, you should do pretty well.