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An Interview with: JUSTIN ROSE
Justin, welcome. You've had a couple of days under your belt for enjoying The Ryder Cup experience. Your thoughts on what it's been like so far and what you're anticipating as the week goes on.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, sure, obviously the experience is amazing so far. It was kind of nice to join up -- I've been in America for two weeks, so it was nice to join up with the Virgin plane when it came in on Monday and to see the rest of the guys and for the first time you felt like a team there, so that was good fun.
Yesterday driving into the golf course my first impression of the tournament is is how big it is, the grandstands and the corporate hospitality, you knew you were entering into a pretty big arena and obviously that filled you with excitement.
KELLY ELBIN: Initial impressions of the golf course having played it just once, yesterday.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, just once, and I think it's a superb golf course, especially for match play. It's got a lot of very interesting holes, a lot of dramatic-looking holes. I think it's going to offer some birdie opportunities out there, but there's some trouble out there, too. There's a lot of risk and reward holes and I think it sets up really well for match play.
Q. Ian was just saying that it's difficult to think of you as a rookie because of what you've been through and how close you've been, and Top-10 in the world; is it something that you think is maybe overdue and has it been a frustrating experience to wait this long for it maybe?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yes and no. I think in some ways, I feel like I have enough experience under my belt and I've been in a few situations that you can't really call comparable, but a few situations that I believe will help me this week. So in that regard, I don't feel like I'm coming in here not knowing what to expect.
But at the same time I feel like it's the first year where I can come here and feel confident about being part of the team. 2007 was just a nice year for me in terms of that self belief factor. It's the first year that I felt like I wanted to make The Ryder Cup Team and should make The Ryder Cup Team; whereas in the past, I hope I make The Ryder Cup Team if I play well. So in that way, I would rather be here being ready rather than be here hoping to play well, if you like.
Q. Which players have you sought advice from about what it's going to be like, and if so, what stands out from anything they have said to you?
JUSTIN ROSE: Actually I was chatting -- after Scotland, I was in the airport with David Howell, and our plane was four or five hours delayed going back to London so had a long time to sit down and have a few drinks and I was still celebrating, and he was relaying his experiences with me and just the fact that -- some interesting information from him was obviously the fact that Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, you feel like you want to be playing perfect golf and you feel like it's the Ryder Cup -- and he said he was struggling with his game at that particular point.
But he said once the gun goes out, it doesn't have to be about playing perfect golf. It's about getting the job done and just getting a result, and he obviously managed to do that and had a great Ryder Cup. So that was kind of some very interesting advice. I've tried to take the pressure off myself the first three days anyway and not hold myself to too high of a standard because I think it's going to be a long week, so that's some good advice I got from Howler.
Got some good advice from Sergio, how relaxed they are in some ways leading the banner in the team room, so those things, you can feed off of them rather than having an in-depth conversation about how it feels, haven't done that, but you get to sense it really from the other guys.
Q. Mr. Poulter has just been in and had a bit of a grilling about the wildcard and Gleneagles and all of that. Has the team closed in around him this week?
JUSTIN ROSE: Closed in around him?
Q. Closed in and being very protective about him?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yes and no. I think Ian's the kind of guy that can take care of himself. I think it was tough for him, though, no doubt about it. I think he found that whole couple of weeks very tough, and I'm sure that given the opportunity again, he might do things differently, but at the same time, he's been amazingly upbeat and he's come into this team believing he should be on the team, which is exactly what you want from him. And again, he's been very comfortable in the team room and all of the other players have been very comfortable around him. So from that perspective, I would say that yes, they have.
Q. Do you sense that he's got a real point to prove?
JUSTIN ROSE: I hope so, because as much as I know of Ian, when he's got a point to prove, he normally goes out there and proves it.
I've shared rooms with him back in the day on the Challenge Tour in our early days of The European Tour, and I could always sense that -- and even times he would say, right, I'm going to win one of the next three or four weeks, and a couple of times he's said that, he's gone out and done it. The fact he's gone out that mindset that he's got a point to prove, I think that's good for him.
Q. Has Padraig been popular in the team room so far, guys trying to rub up against him trying to figure out how he's changed his game to become so good?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, obviously and Sergio, Westwood, Harrington, Padraig, yeah, you have to look at him again, as somebody being very influential in the team room.
At this point, I think the first couple of days here are so busy that we are very much -- there's no time for ourselves. There's literally 30 minutes for a quick drink in the team room and then a function. I think the real team room camaraderie starts after the opening ceremony is done on Thursday and there's a lot more time for the team to hang out with one another.
Padraig has had a sensational 13, 14 months and he's an inspiration for a lot of the guys to see what can be achieved really. I'm sure we are all trying to pick his brains a little bit at some point.
Q. Just to follow up on that, two years ago at The Ryder Cup when the European drought in majors was still going on, Padraig and a lot of the other players said, it would just take one guy to break through for the rest to get more confidence; has there been a sense of that? He's won three now, but nobody else has seemed to get there.
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, yeah, I think -- I believe that that will be the case. I think it will take time for the rest of us to win them. Obviously the majors come around rarely and it takes time for that record to be built up.
But using The Ryder Cup as an example, hopefully once the Europeans learned they could do it, yes, the momentum can really start to go your way. But obviously you're up against a phenomenal player in Tiger Woods who takes up quite a few of the opportunities, but at the same time, it's important now to see that Padraig certainly believes that, hey, I can do this. It's important for us to realize that that level is not that far away. It's that last bit of self-belief and determination and the skills he's worked on and nurtured over the years have paid off. It's a very, very fine line to get to that point, but it's possible for a lot of us.
Q. Knowing what you do know now of the American sports side, the American ambiance in sport, do you think we might be due, The European Team might be due, a serious backlash in terms of an American need to re-exert themselves in this tournament? And have you felt any of that around the place and playing here? Do you get a sense that they are really up for this?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, clearly, yes, I think it's obvious to realize that the more times you lose, the hungrier you become for that win again, and I think that's certainly the case this year.
I think they will be coming out and playing even harder this year. They are up for every year, they are trying their best and there's no doubt about it. For some reason I think the Europeans have had a couple of phenomenal last few Ryder Cups. But this year will be as tough as any in history, and speaking about it from just watching it and what-have-you, but I think being part of it this year, you've just got to believe they want it just as much as us, and you have to realize it's going to be a tough game. I certainly don't believe there's going to be record scores and those sorts of things. You just have to play each match as hard as you can.
I'm expecting a tough game and I'm expecting an amazing atmosphere and I'm expecting them to throw everything but the kitchen sink.
Q. I just wonder, what's the most nervous you've ever been in your career? I know you're prepared for this to be on a different scale.
JUSTIN ROSE: One of the most nervous I've ever been is the Walker Cup, which you could compare it to The Ryder Cup in terms of what it means to you at the time and how much effort you've put into getting into a team and therefore, then it becoming a reality.
I think, yes, I'm prepared for it I might feel like this time around, but I'm also prepared more for how to deal with it and using the skills I've acquired over the years to deal with it. I've seen the first tee shot hit many, many times out here, and guys hitting it in the left water at The K Club and the right trees at The Belfry. It's the first shot and doesn't by any means dictate how you will play for the rest of the week. I think if you can take a little bit of pressure off that first tee shot, as long as you get it moving forward, it's not a bad thing.
I think basically what I'm trying to say is the skills I've acquired, hopefully I can rely on them, dig deep and pull them through at the right time.
Q. Can you remind me of your first shot in the Walker Cup?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think it went a little bit to the right (laughter). Funny thing is, I think my partner had to reload, so he was more nervous than I was and he duck-hooked it and nearly took off the crowds heads to the left of us.
I ended up having a fantastic Walker Cup, so it's important to realize that one shot doesn't dictate your whole week; but fun and games, yeah.
Q. Returning to the question of how up for it the American side are, have you noticed in the last month, six weeks, have you been talking about it more with your American peers on the TOUR? Has it been dominating conversation?
JUSTIN ROSE: Not really. I haven't had any chats about it. When I've been in the States, I've been very focused on the European point of view, getting myself on The European Team, and I can only imagine the same has happened with the American side. I haven't really been involved in any chitchat with the American players about the Ryder Cup. And even so far this week, I haven't seen them. We have practiced on different nines and I think I've only seen Boo Weekley to say hey to. It's been quite quiet so far from that respect in that regard.
KELLY ELBIN: Justin Rose, thank you very much.
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