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.
Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie
While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.
There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.
According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)
Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.
McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1
They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.
McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.
Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.
On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.
Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:
10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm
12/1: Tony Finau
14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler
20/1: Francesco Molinari
25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner
30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka
40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day
50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar
60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate
80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na
100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman
Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience
Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.
It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.
Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.
A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.
“I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.
“I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”
Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.
At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.
Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.
“I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.
“Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”
Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.
“Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”
After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.
“I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”
Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.
“It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.
“Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”
On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.
Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.
“She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”
Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.
At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.
At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.
Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.
“I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”
Her overall assessment of her day?
“It was a great experience,” she said.
Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage
NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:
Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)
Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.
1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.