Date: December 06, 2012
Author: Golf Australia

Justin Rose interview, Wednesday 5 December 2012

Justin Rose interview, Wednesday 5 December 2012 You have been globe trotting. You spent some time with the family last week. How was that? I was born in South Africa, as you might know. I think I spent more time with the family than I should have, due to the golf. The golf was not great but the time off the golf course was fantastic. I was looking forward to getting down here to Australia. I have not been here for a number of years and I&aposm looking forward to trying to end the season on a high note. What possessed you to play on three continents in three weeks? I have spent the majority of my time in the States in the last five or six years but I&aposve always regarded myself as an international player. I felt that with my game in good shape it was a nice opportunity to play these sorts of events. The Australian Open has a great, illustrious list of champions. It is a tournament I have always held in high regard. I thought it would be a nice way to finish a good year. Give us your thoughts on Rory s hot finish in Dubai? I don&apost know if it hurts less or more when you think you have won and you are beaten by a hot finish. A lot of guys this year have shot 12 under in China. I have not had that kind of round where I&aposve stolen a tournament. I was definitely in the pack going into Sunday. I walked to the 18th tee with a two-shot lead and made birdie. Ninety-nine times out of 100 that is enough. Obviously Rory is pretty hot right now. He is playing some great golf under pressure. To finish with five straight birdies to win a golf tournament, you have to take your hat off to him. From my point of view, I felt the nerves, I felt the pressure all the way down the stretch and I kept hitting quality shot after quality shot. Ultimately, that is all you can do and you have to be proud about that. Would you like to win at the end of the season? My goal this week is to end with another win but more important is to end the year with a disciplined process. I don&apost want to take my eye off the ball at the end of the year. I want to come here sharp and I want to trust everything that has worked so well for me all year long. From that perspective, stay focused, prepare as hard as I can and as well as I can. You can never guarantee a result in golf but you can go out and be disciplined about your work ethic. That is my goal this week. How do you feel physically? Physically I am hanging in there. I had a good night&aposs sleep last night. I feel that is the key if you have a big time zone change. The first night is important. I&aposve got that under my belt. The rest of the week should get easier. I still feel pretty fresh, to be honest with you. Was last week just a hiccup? I think it was just a hiccup. Sometimes when you are around family, subconsciously you want to play really, really well for them. I think there was an element of frustration. I think it was the first week when the season caught up with me. That is natural. I think you are allowed to play poorly once in a while and let it be water off a duck&aposs back. You saw that with Rory. He missed the cut in Hong Kong, which is one of his favourite events, and then he came back an won in Dubai. The condition changes last week were very hard, with the distance control at altitude. We were playing off very spongy kikiyu fairways. I found it very hard to get the ball close to the flag stick. The fairways were incredibly tight last week, too. It was a good week to play your best but if you weren&apost playing your best it was a tough week. How do you feel about the sporting rivalry between Australia and Britain. Do you buy into that? I only buy into it when it goes in England&aposs favour, which is not very often. We have been dining out on the Ashes for the past couple of years with the Aussie boys, especially on the PGA Tour. There are a lot of Australian lads out there. There is always a bit of friendly rivalry and banter between us when the sporting occasions come around. I have a similar thing in South Africa, being born there. People ask me who I root for, England or South Africa, and I tell them I&aposll make up my mind at half-time…You see the conditions out here this week, these testing conditions. That is what makes Australians such good players. You grow up with great golf courses, you grow up with windy conditions and they are certainly going to be very hard to beat this week. Are you looking forward to your rivalry with Adam Scott? It is a great draw for me. I regard Adam as one of my best friends out on Tour. I don&apost say it is a rivalry. We are both incredibly competitive but we are also good friends. The great thing is that you play the golf course. You are not really eye-to-eye or head-to-head, especially on days one and two. It will be a fun pairing and hopefully we will get nice crowds, which is a really good way of lifting your game. Adam Scott has been using different putters this week. Will he try a new one? I doubt he will. If I was him, I&aposd take my time. He has a number of years yet to implement the change. Obviously, anybody who does not anchor the putter supports it. For the rest of the guys, I think Adam&aposs view is the correct one. He trusts the governing bodies to make the right decision about what is good for the game. He&aposll adjust. He is a great player. He&aposll find a way to still putt well, no matter what. I am sure he is looking at creative ways of keep;ing some of the things he likes about the long putter but not anchoring. The guys have time. There is no way he is going to make a knee-jerk reaction to the rule change this week, I&aposm sure. What are your recollections of your last Australian Open here? My memory is not my strongest suit. I think this has been a good thing in my career. I tend to block it out. One thing I do draw from is my last trip to Australia. It worked out well for me, the Mastercard Masters at Huntingdale. Hopefully I can draw from those good feelings. Tom Watson said yesterday that the anchored putter was not an honest swing. Guys have been perfectly within their rights to use it up until now. I have toyed with it away from tournaments. I think it is a great way to putt but it doesn&apost necessarily make putting easier. The interesting thing is that you can have a perfect putting stroke and never make a putt. Putting is definitely an art form. You still have to see the break and match it and the speed together. The only thing I have problems with is that under pressure it can take a little of the nerves out of the game. When you are anchoring the putt, it tends to swing itself on a pendulum. But week in week out it does not make putting that much easier. If you have a six-footer to win, possibly it is an easier motion. Question about long eagle putt in Dubai. It was the best putt I&aposve ever missed. I did not get egg on my face with it. Obviously, it crawled over the ridge. It was one of the toughest putts I&aposd ever faced. I felt that if I made birdie, I&aposd probably win the tournament. If I don&apost make birdie, there is a good chance Rory was going to make it. In my mind, I was thinking birdie one or two of the last five and probably force a play-off. The pressure was on. I could have putted into the water. If it went over that ridge with too much speed, it goes 10 feet past the pin and catches another slope and goes down into the stream. I had to putt it perfectly and it was pretty much inch for inch perfect. Half-way, it crawled over with about an inch to spare. It kept me guessing. It was an amazing putt. Going along with the Ryder Cup, I&aposve had a lot of people comment on my putting of late. What have you and your Ryder Cup team-mates done so well recently? There are a lot of great feelings and confidence gained by the team. Martin Kaymer was struggling with his form. He got into the Ryder Cup and since then has played really good golf and captured a win at Sun City last week. I think he was struggling with his putting. Since then he was made a few six-feet clutch putts. At Sun City he made a bunch of important putts down the stretch. You learn a lot about yourself under pressure. Once you pull a few good shots off under pressure you have that confidence and trust in yourself and you want to be in that situation more and more. You were struggling when you first came to Australia. Were your trying to do too much too soon? There is no doubt, but the decision to turn pro was made long before the Open Championship. I had this three-year plan. I was going to turn pro, get some experience under my belt. Go to Q-school, probably spend a year on the Challenge Tour and work my way up in the pro ranks. Then the Open Championship happened and I got ahead of myself and probably everybody around me got ahead of themselves. I found the adjustment very difficult. I was placing far too much pressure on myself and placing far too much emphasis on getting a European Tour card. I was thinking that was the be all and end all rather than focusing on improvement. I got way too result focused for a while. The pressure kept building. I felt I had to prove myself, to prove that the Open was not a flash in the pan. It took me eight or nine months of really struggling to take stock of the situation and rebuild, readjust. There was a lot of scar tissue that built up in the early stages of my career that ultimately took a lot of time to break down and get over. I think 2001 was a break-through year for me. I won four times and got myself into the top 50 in the world. If I look at it as if I was 21 years of age, I&aposd won four professional events, played myself into the top 50 in the world, that&aposs pretty impressive. There&aposs not many 21-year-olds who have done that. I don&apost think I believed in myself, how good I was, at that time, because of what happened in &apos98. I still had that doubt. Only in the past two or three years do I think I have completely overcome it, truly believe in myself under pressure and believe I am one of the best players in the world. There is a 14-year-old boy who is going to play in the US Masters. Is this a good thing? It is very interesting. He has to be treated carefully. Everybody is different. My advice is to focus on improvement and self-development. That happens in many different forms, on and off the golf course, mentally, physically, emotionally. It is very hard to do that under the spotlight. My advice would be top focus completely on the game and not place too much importance on having a scorecard or trying to compete against the best players in the world too soon. As long as every single year he is getting better as a player, eventually he is going to compete at the highest level. It does not have to be by the time he is 18 or 21. It is such a long career, golf. I feel like 30 to 40 is going to be my prime. Slowly, slowly catchee monkey. Just chip away at it and don&apost try to achieve too much too soon. Enjoy the process of improvement. Keep loving the game. Everything about professional golf, to me, is designed to take you away from hitting golf shots freely. We get too wrapped up in leader boards and media and what people are saying and expecting of you that makes the task of hitting a golf shot so much harder. Keep it simple. Do you like playing with a friend like Adam Scott? For 72 holes over four days it is impossible to be in the zone for that amount of time. To have that intense focus often only happens on the back nine on Sunday. Then things tend to quieten down and you get into your little bubble. I think it is important to use playing partners and caddies to come in and out of the zone. You have to be focused on your shot for 20 seconds at time in a tournament but it is important to have that right intensity. You want to be relaxed for the first few days. You want to let the week develop. Being in a comfortable pairing with Adam will be a nice group and help me get to the right frame of mind.