Justin Rose claimed a two-shot victory at the Farmers Insurance Open with a final-round 69 en route to a four-day total of 21-under par 267. It was the 38-year old Englishman’s second win in his last five worldwide starts and 10th career PGA Tour title.
Afterwards, Rose met with the media in the interview room at Torrey Pines Golf Course. Here’s a few of the best questions and answers from the press conference.
1. EARLY STRUGGLES
Curious about whether you were worried anyone might make a stronger charge early when you’re a little bit shaky, and mostly I want to know about the shot on 7 after you missed the short one on 6 to take on kind of that right side of the pin?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah. Well, yeah, I didn’t think — I was expecting someone to make a challenge and I thought the way that my group was playing, obviously Adam, Jon, none of us were getting off to a great start. We were bringing everybody else in. We were bringing Rory, I thought, and obviously those guys at 11, bringing all of them into the tournament at that point.
I didn’t observe the leaderboard, but I knew that that was the situation. We were giving the guys an opportunity to make a run from the middle of the pack.
But then obviously I did, I scratched a line on my yardage book on my scorecard after six holes and said, all right, we build the round from this moment on. It was a flag, even though I was on the right side, I felt if you pitched the ball up to the pin, it was a pin you could be aggressive, too.
I had a perfect number, I had 133 in there so it was a nice holding wedge and I felt it was a time to make a good swing. It was a flagstick that was very similar to the one on No. 5 where I made bogey, I tried to hit a hold 9-iron into that one. I just stayed with the shot a little bit more than I did on No. 5 and got the reward there.
That was big.
2. NEW HONMA CLUBS
Justin, was there any uncertainty to be honest in switching to new clubs? And given you’ve won now only the second time in January in your career, what does it do for your confidence now going into the WGC season and of course looking forward to Augusta?
ROSE: I made the decision with thinking it was the right decision obviously. I already felt that Honma would make me the clubs that I wanted to play for the next four, five years. I felt like the flexibility within the deal helps me to play the ball I want, maybe a special wedge, maybe the putter that I’ve wanted to use. The Axis 1 putter I’ve been wanting to use for a couple of years now but haven’t been able to. That was a big part of my decision-making process and why I changed equipment.
The driver has been the biggest surprise in a positive way. Honma were going to be very flexible with me making sure that I was only playing the driver as and when it was going to be as good as what I was currently playing and it’s gone way past my expectations, hence why I played it the first couple weeks of the year. I had no pressure to play it.
Yeah, everything has worked out better than I would have hoped for sure the first couple weeks. Winning in January, we talked about I think 2002 was the last time I won in January. Definitely sets up the year, means you can really focus on not having to chase points as much and you can build a schedule that works for you and try and peak for the majors
3. PLAYING IN SAUDI ARABIA
What went into that decision to go there? It’s been controversial obviously with some of the politics and potential safety issues over there. Are you concerned about any of that and did that come into play for you?
ROSE: Not really. It’s a European Tour event. Obviously I commit to playing my minimum on the European Tour and I’ve always wanted to take a bit of time off in February. Those types of trips are very difficult to make when you golf if you’re going to come straight back to the States and try and keep the momentum going.
But I’m taking three weeks off after it, so to have an international trip fit in the schedule really well, and also it gets one of my European Tour events out of the way very, very early.
Yeah, sure, politics. I’m not a politician, I’m a pro golfer. There’s other reasons to go play it. It’s a good field, there’s going to be a lot of world ranking points to play for, by all accounts it’s a good golf course and it will be an experience to experience Saudi Arabia.