July 11, 2018
CLARE BODEL: Welcome, Justin, to The Scottish Open, world No. 3 and more importantly, former Scottish Open winner. Your first time playing since 2015 when it was here at Gullane. What are your memories of Gullane?
JUSTIN ROSE: Obviously this whole coastline here is littered with great golf and so it's just a lovely place to stay. Obviously we all know the weather we've been having, so it truly is a links test out there. Ball is running forever, so a lot of strategy. There's hills to contend with, as well, which is going to accentuate the run on the ball.
Looking forward to it. The weather is set fair as we've all been enjoying recently. Should be a great week.
CLARE BODEL: Your win at Royal Aberdeen in 2014, how good was that? That was a good year for you.
JUSTIN ROSE: Winning on a links golf course was another step forward in my career. It's nice to check off things that you achieve and winning on a links was something I had not done before, and it gave me confidence going into the summer thinking it could be done and gives me that confidence still that I can obviously win on links golf courses.
I think I played well the first two rounds here and not so good on the weekend, but looking forward to it. Had three weeks off but been practising hard. It will be good to get the scorecard back in my hand and get out there.
Q. As has been mentioned you haven't played in this event since 2015, but with six of the last eight Open winners having played in The Scottish Open the week before, was it a no-brainer to add this back to your schedule?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think it's a great tournament. I think The Irish Open is a great tournament and I like to play one or the other, generally, before The Open.
So some years I play the Irish. Some years I play the Scottish. That's the feel that I have every year. I just kind of decide which one I want to do, if I want to have a week off before The Open or if I want to play.
Obviously I like your statistic, that six of the eight have done well. This year, I chose to play before the majors. I played Houston this year before Augusta. U.S. Open, I did not play Memphis but obviously playing this week before the major. That was the rhythm I wanted to set up for myself this year.
Personally, I feel three weeks of links golf is a lot but I love to play two-out-of-three.
Q. As long as you get one links test in before The Open, you're happy, whichever it is, Ireland or Scotland, you're happy with that?
JUSTIN ROSE: Exactly. That's normally how I try to see it.
Q. Three weeks off after the U.S. Open at Shinnecock, how do you reflect, one that got away or what do you think about when you reflect on the week?
JUSTIN ROSE: Not really. Going into Sunday one behind, yeah, you've got a great opportunity but there were four guys ahead of me. It was a really bunched leaderboard. The way Shinnecock was playing, you knew someone like Tommy did could make a run from the middle of the pack as the day goes on.
On Sunday I knew it was going to take a special round. It was an opportunity for sure, and Saturday was a big day for me obviously; the course definitely got a little bit out of hand there for a while. I kind of hung in there. That was the day unfortunately I really played poorly, as well, on Saturday and that made it extra tough.
But I was happy the way I hung in that day and gave myself an opportunity going into Sunday. Battled my game a little bit as the week went on. I think sometimes if you feel like you're in full control of your game, if you don't go ahead and win, you're disappointed. But I feel I did a good job of sort of hanging around -- because the whole week, I was top five, top five, waiting for something good to happen and couldn't quite find that extra gear unfortunately.
Made that early double on No. 4, but then I tried to flip the switch, I tried to be really aggressive and played really good golf on Sunday from the fifth or sixth onwards and gave myself plenty of opportunities.
It was one thing or another. As good as the playing was the first few days, it went cold on Sunday. If I could be one back going into any major championship on Sunday, you know, you've got to fancy your chances and if I can keep creating those looks, then I'll be very happy.
Q. You're nearing your 20th anniversary of turning professional. Curious how you assess your career?
JUSTIN ROSE: So 20 years, that's amazing, really. I've been a pro longer than I haven't. There's been a lot of good. I think for a long time, five, six, seven years of my career I was trying to live up to that boy who finished fourth at The Open and I put that to bed at least in my mind, and I've gone on to achieve good things in the game and justified that performance and justified turning pro. You know, it's all worked out.
I feel like I'm at a great point in my career now where the icing is on the cake but we're looking for a little bit of cherry and decoration and sprinkles or whatever from this point on. It's been a great 20 years obviously but yeah, I really feel like there's an opportunity now for me to make it something special.
But missing, obviously, an Open Championship, love to be a multiple major championship. It's nice to have that monkey off my back having won one, but beginning to crave more chances and looks and all that stuff. Yeah, an Open would be amazing, another major, but more of the same. Keep creating good looks in these big events.
Q. You mentioned the course, and the greens have been receptive, as well, a bit of chat suggesting there might be a sub-60 round this week.
JUSTIN ROSE: I haven't seen the course yet. I'm going to go out and play today. Obviously a lot of run on the ball on soft greens, yeah, makes it obvious, but also the fairway will play very, very, very small. So if anyone does shoot that kind of round, they have had the ball on a spring. You'll see a lot of high scores, as well.
I can't imagine the greens are soft, so if you're in the rough, it's not like you're going to be able to fly it on the green and hold the ball.
For me it's going to be a lot about positioning the ball off the tee. If you are in the fairway with a wedge in your hand, yeah, any golf course is gettable, but the key is going to be getting in the fairway with a wedge in your hand and I think that could be easier said than done this week.
Q. Small matter of a football match tonight. Do you have a plan, and if you're in contention on Sunday and they win today, where do your priorities lie?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, my playing partners better pick up if they are having a tough hole, because I'm walking off the course at 6.30, however many holes we play.
I'll watch it where I'm staying tonight with my family. My little boy who is nine, is really, really, really into it. My joy for this World Cup is walking him suffer through it like we've all done for years. Obviously it's been fun to watch England make a good run through. If you had said a month ago, right, Croatia in the semis, you get a crack at France; 90 minutes are like 18 holes in match play, anyone can win.
On Sunday, it's all good timing, isn't it. What time is the last group, four o'clock? Yeah, (clearing throat) it's not ideal, but what can you do.
The real dilemma is going to be if you're even par through two rounds, and you're not making much of a run. I'd happily be in contention on Sunday and put that as a priority, but we'll see. Yeah, it's one of those things. Everyone's dealing with it. Wimbledon final is dealing with it. It's a big deal. It's the right two teams that are in the semifinal.
Q. You mentioned to be in contention is your main focus. Is it normal when you become very successful athlete, you focus more on yourself and you become fanatic to you, towards you, within you, instead of many other things?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, you have to, well, for me, there's no given. Just because you're a top-ranked player doesn't mean you start this tournament with any advantage. Maybe in tennis, you do start with an advantage and you get thrown against the weakest seeds in the early rounds and you can build your way into a tournament.
In golf, you tee off the same as everybody else and you've got to build a new body of work. The golf course doesn't recognize any top player here this week, so you have to focus on yourself. It's the only way to get back week on week on week. I never take anything for granted. My career has told me that. Obviously I've had some up-and-downs along the way, so you can never really take anything for granted and keep working hard. No complacency, really.
I try to be patient. I try to look at, you want to win every week obviously, but I try to look at spells or blocks of work. So for me, the next two weeks are a body of work all together, hopefully with the peak being Sunday two weeks' time, but there's steps along the way. Every single day, I'll be out there doing my best.
But yeah, I try to, like I said, every day is important, but I also try to break it down into two, three-week blocks that I really focus on.
Q. What do the Europeans have to do to win a major? The Americans have been dominating.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think that's really coming to light now for sure. The American boys are playing really, really good golf. I think the European Ryder Cup Team, if you want to compare the two, is looking incredibly strong. I think we have a great chance in September, but we are not winning the right events. We are not winning the big events, and that is key.
I think, I mean, listen, we're not a team; we're a team one week every two years, but I'm not really sure why -- obviously Rory, myself, Sergio, there's a bunch of players, Tommy, have been knocking on the door of major championships in the last few years, but it's definitely been pretty one-sided and the Americans are dominating. So it would be lovely to turn that around next week.
Q. Katy on Twitter is calling you "Mr. Consistent." What's the reason for your consistent play week-to-week?
JUSTIN ROSE: I guess improvement in all areas of my game. I feel like if something goes wrong, there's something else that will back me up. This year I'm putting much better. Statistically it's been the best putting year of my career and I think when you putt well, that's key to scoring well. My short game, I think has been good, too.
I can hit the ball pretty well at times, as well. I haven't hit the ball as well as I'd like this year, believe it or not but I have hit it well that when I have, my short game and my putting have kept me in the bad weeks and then when I have played well, I've won. So I feel like, yeah, it's generally improvement in all aspects of my game, but especially the short game.
Q. Score prediction tonight?
JUSTIN ROSE: 2-1 England.
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