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Interview: Justin Rose (Round 3)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

CLAUDE NIELSEN: Ladies and gentlemen, Justin Rose. Third Masters appearance, rounds of 69, 75, 75, 3-over for the tournament. Justin, would you care to give us a play-by-play?

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, obviously I got off to a bad start. Somewhat reminiscent of my third round three years ago, which some people may remember after leading the tournament.

What I was really pleased with today was that didn't really affect me and stayed -- played one shot at a time, managed to create a little bit of momentum on the third by up-and-downing it and holed a good par putt on the 4th and hit a good shot into the 5th. So it really turned my round around over those three holes and then began to feel quite confident.

The birdie I made on 7 was the first birdie I made because I didn't make a birdie yesterday. And 14 was the last birdie I made on day one. So that's quite a run of holes without making a birdie. That began to give me a lot of confidence and I began to play quite nicely from there.

Q. When Stuart was here a second ago, he sort of made fun of us when we suggested that Tiger is the man to beat; obviously he's in contention right now. Can you talk about when he's at a stage where he's in contention, right now he's one stroke off the pace, why he is the man to beat, if you feel that way?

JUSTIN ROSE: Sure. I think purely just that he's been here so many times, he feels more comfortable with the situation maybe than the rest of us. At the same time, I think from my perspective, going out there and being in contention to win a major, especially obviously the Masters, is a day where that's the challenge, really; it's not about beating an individual.

Q. You've had some major developments in your life the past couple of years, getting married and losing your father a few years ago and changing coaches; do you see all of that as being part and parcel as what you're able to withstand the pressure here?

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I think it helps me puts things in perspective for sure. Some of the changes I've made, I've made deliberately for situations like this in terms of the coach and in terms of the caddie. I've made conscious decisions to prepare for situations like this.

Other situations are out of your control. The passing of my dad, that helps you put things in perspective and helps you realize golf is what you should be enjoying doing.

Q. What's the difference between tough and unfair, and where was today in that context?

JUSTIN ROSE: I think today was tough really. The course setup, I don't think you can really argue with where they put the flags. I think there were only -- I certainly didn't -- I wasn't out there on the course thinking, that's ridiculous. It was just tough. You had to land the ball in a matter of a foot or two feet or three feet sometimes on a hole which is obviously a very tiny margin. But at the same time, that's the way the course is playing no matter where the pin was placed or what have you.

Q. How much did you have left on No. 7 and how far would you say that putt was?

JUSTIN ROSE: We were arguing whether to hit 3-wood or driver. I liked the driver because if I managed to hit a good tee shot, no matter how narrow that fairway is, I could pit a wedge into the green where that pin was placed. You needed to come in with a wedge to land anywhere close. I think I had like 125.

Q. How long was the putt?

JUSTIN ROSE: It was about a foot luckily.

Q. 17th hole has taken a toll on all of the leaders today. What's the toughest thing about that hole today?

JUSTIN ROSE: It's just so narrow off the tee and really the way the trees are now placed, either side of the fairway, you really don't have any shot. If you do miss-hit your tee shot -- I pulled my tee shot left. I think maybe because you're trying to hit the ball high off that tee, sometimes it's easier to kind of not hit it quite as straight I find. Trying to get over that big tree on the left there. Yeah, so if you're out of position, that green runs away from you from front to back. If you're not in the fairway, that's a very tough green to hold.

Q. You won a gold jacket last November with your win; could you give yourself the luxury at this stage to think of adding a green jacket to that or not?

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, you can let it enter your mind, but I think it's important to dismiss it as quick as possible.

It's going to enter your mind the rest of today, tomorrow morning, if you're in there with a legitimate chance to win, but I think the key is when you're out there on the golf course, do you stay in the moment. If you do catch yourself getting ahead of yourself, which pretty much every player will, it's just a matter of realizing it and bringing yourself back into the moment really.

I think that win in Australia, though, will stand me in good stead, for sure, because the conditions were very firm and fast at Huntingdale and greens that were incredibly quick. I think I'll take some confidence from that.

Q. How difficult was 12 today and how hard was it to pull a club on that one?

JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, that was sort of classic Augusta there, but the flag on 11 was going into you off the right and the pin down the 12th green was going straight down. We ended up just splitting the difference and playing it straight off the right. It worked out, I managed to hit a good shot in there and managed to make two, which I guess was stealing a shot or so from the field.

Q. What club did you end up using?

JUSTIN ROSE: 8-iron.

Q. What's the difference in a fourth-round situation like this playing in Tiger's group with all of the tumult and everything and not playing in his group?

JUSTIN ROSE: I just think that maybe winning in his group would be a sweeter feeling than winning not in his group. I'd like to say -- I'd like to say that either way, it's going to be a tough day. But I think winning, playing with him, beating him down the stretch would be a sweeter feeling than not winning that way.

Q. When were your course management skills last tested to this extent?

JUSTIN ROSE: Yesterday. (Laughter) And before that, the day before that.

Actually my coach, Nick, said to me driving out the first day, he said, "That's got to be the toughest round you'll ever play at Augusta."

And then after the second day, he said, "That's got to be the toughest round you'll ever play at Augusta."

And today I'm waiting for it: "That's the toughest round you'll ever play," until tomorrow.

Q. You have quite a bit of time tomorrow before you tee off. What will you do and how will you kind of relax?

JUSTIN ROSE: I've been sort of -- just sort of having quite lazy mornings, really. Having a bit of a lie-in which is always a nice luxury. That's the way a Sunday should be. Sort of leisurely breakfast. Do everything a little bit slower really. But I've been feeling like, obviously I think preparing for a late second round tee time was a good practice and then today, similar situation.

So I can just follow the same process I've been going through the last two days, which is nice.

CLAUDE NIELSEN: Congratulations, Justin. Good luck tomorrow.

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