Justin Rose British Open Press Conference Transcript
JUSTIN ROSE: Obviously I got off to a really good start, par, birdie, birdie. I saw my name on the leader board straightaway, which was a nice start and capped off the front with an eagle on the 9th which suddenly shot me to the top of the leader board. I think the back nine played a little bit more difficult. But I was happy overall.
Q. Justin, after all the speculation and advice about playing with Tiger the last couple of days, how did you handle it and how did you like it?
JUSTIN ROSE: As I was trying to say yesterday, I was going to try to focus on my own game, stick on, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I was pretty nervous on the first tee, it must be said, more nervous than I've been all year, to be honest, but I nailed a 2-iron down the fairway, which settled the nerves pretty quickly.
Q. You say you're happy overall. Are you more than happy, because you've come through what is obviously a new experience?
JUSTIN ROSE: I didn't know exactly how I was going to react, but I did know I had the ability to cope with it, and so in that sense, it's nice to have done all the right things out there.
Q. That must be, though, a different experience from playing with just any other player because of the pressure, that tension from outside?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yes, Tiger was the one player. There definitely is an aura about him. I think the first time you play with him it is a bit of an eye-opener but I didn't get caught up in watching him or all the stuff that goes on around him. I still felt focused on my own game, and realized the Open Championship is an important tournament for me; not just playing with Tiger Woods, but the Open is important.
Q. You outscored Tiger Woods today. What's your feeling about putting that in perspective for the next three days?
JUSTIN ROSE: I made a couple of quid on the 18 holes today. I think I got 5:2 odds. Outscoring Tiger today, doesn't mean anything for the rest of the tournament, it's just the first day. At the moment I'm joined leads, so I'm happy with the score. I have a feeling somebody is going to make a couple more out there this afternoon, but it is a nice position to be in after day one, day one, and day two is jostling for position, shot-for-shot, getting your name on the leader board come the weekend.
Q. Talk about how the course played and course management, was it playing very calm out there today? How did that affect the way you attacked it?
JUSTIN ROSE: This course, you have to really think your way around the bunkers, they are incredibly well placed. There are a lot of irons off the tee. I hit my driver three times and my 3-wood once, I think. There are a lot of irons out there, which makes strategy very important. It's all about getting the ball into play off the tee and attack it as much as possible from fairway to green, that's the way I see the golf course.
JUSTIN ROSE: The first tee felt very similar to Birkdale, to be honest, the crowds, five, six deep, whatever they were, and hitting a 2-iron off the tee, and not looking very big. It did have that sense. Actually I said to my caddy on the first tee this is a little bit what Birkdale was like, and then walking down 18, I felt like I got a really good reception too, which was nice.
Q. Did you play more defensively on the back nine, or was it just how the balance ran for you?
JUSTIN ROSE: I didn't play as well on the back nine, basically, is the reason. I hit a shot that's been sort of bugging me over the last couple of weeks is a slight pull with my irons, and I hit a few of those on the back nine, but made a few good up-and-downs out of the bunkers, but basically didn't quite play as well on the back nine.
Q. Tell us about the eagle on 9.
JUSTIN ROSE: I hit a 2-iron from the tee. There is a horrible bunker that's about 265, 270, so I hit a 2-iron, actually I was basically right on the edge of it. I was a little bit lucky and the best shot of the day, which was a 4-iron, 244 yards to the hole. It was a little short of the green and then rolled it in left to right, which is the way the green slopes. The noise of the crowd made it definitely sound like -- it sounded like it was close to going in for two. That was the best shot of the day. The putt was obviously missable. It was a 5-footer uphill right to left, and it was really nice to make the putt.
Q. So you were focusing on your game. Was there any conversation between you and Tiger or was it --
JUSTIN ROSE: There really wasn't any conversation. Very complimentary about -- he's good about shots you play and doesn't fail to not acknowledge a good shot, which that's all you can ask for really from a playing partner.
Q. But no small talk?
JUSTIN ROSE: Not really. There's plenty to think about out there.
Q. Do you feel the crowd played a big part; do you feel they were urging you on?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think so. As soon as I got my name on -- made a couple birdies they got into it more, and maybe it swung a little bit of support my way out there.
Q. What do you think of your playing partner? He seems like a character.
JUSTIN ROSE: I didn't really know him at all, but from watching American golf, he is very happy-go-lucky. He's an incredibly good player, too, good ball-striker, sound swing, and nice guy too.
Q. Tiger says you've got the game here to win. Is he right?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, that's very nice. I know I have got the game to win if all goes well. It's just a matter of -- I think a lot of guys -- well, a lot of guys have the game to win. It's a matter of producing it. To say I've obviously produced it today to a certain extent, that's very complimentary.
Q. Can you tell what happened to Tiger on the first tee with the photographer?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think somebody clicked while he was at address, about to set the club back and he backed off and that was it really. That's all I noticed.
Q. Did you see any signs of him getting frustrated; he couldn't get a putt to drop?
JUSTIN ROSE: Not really. I think he stayed pretty patient today. He kept hitting on the fat side of the hole. It looked like he definitely had a game plan out there and he stuck to it. (Inaudible) It's the same for everybody. It balances out over a year or over a week. You just have to keep playing.
Q. When you were going through your low point right after turning pro, could you even think about a day like today?
JUSTIN ROSE: I guess when I was going through my low point, it would have been a long road back to this point, definitely. It would have seemed like a mountain to climb. I did put in a lot of hard work and it was fantastic to be in this situation now, now having gone through a couple of tough periods.
Q. Do you feel like a professional out there, the youngest player in the tournament?
JUSTIN ROSE: I am one of the youngest. I feel a bit battle hardened, to be honest.
Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas
Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.
Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.
Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.
McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.
Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?
Memo to the golf gods:
If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?
Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?
It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.
With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.
It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.
We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.
We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.
Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.
Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line. Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.
We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors.
In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.
While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.
Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.
Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.
Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.
While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.
Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.
So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?
McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever
With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.
The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.
Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.
"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."
McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.
But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.
"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."
What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire
Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.
Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft
Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft
Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft
Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x