Everything looking Rosey
Good to meet you Justin, and congratulations once again. So how did this victory compare to Europe’s Ryder Cup win of two years ago?
I think the Miracle at Medinah – to coin the phrase – was pretty amazing. The nature of that comeback, doing it away, was just more miraculous and unbelievable really, and therefore more special. I think that will go down as one of the greatest Ryder Cups of all time. This time round I feel it was more of a clinical performance by us. We were perhaps a better team, the captain did a great job and the lads did brilliantly executing it, so it was maybe a bit more structured and routine on this occasion.
We’ve heard from the other players about the effect Paul McGinley’s captaincy had on the team, what aspect of his leadership resonated with you the most?
I think he was just very open with the players, very structured. He really kept meetings down to a minimum, and he trusted the players to do what they do best, which is play golf. Paul had one or two very clear messages. He wasn’t too emotional or reacting to the ups and downs of the tournament, he knew that waves of momentum would go with us and against us, but he really believed we would have the majority of those waves and we would be strong. He had one saying, ‘When the storm comes we’ll be the rock. And that was exactly what happened on Sunday, we came out strong. Every quote that he chose was all in line so there was such a congruent message all week long.
Phil Mickelson seemingly criticised the leadership of US Captain Tom Watson, what did you make of that?
To be honest I haven’t read it all, but as far as I’m aware all Phil said was that the last time America won the Ryder Cup was in 2008 and their captain at the time, Paul Azinger had quite a unique system and it worked. Obviously Phil and Keegan Bradley not being played on Saturday was surprising to us, especially when Phil was insistent and wanted to play, texting and telling the captain he wanted to take part. As a player that’s pretty gritty to do that, to stand up to the captain and put yourself out there and say: “Hey, I’m playing well – give me the chance.” It can’t have been an easy situation for either of them, but selection of a team is problematic and you are in situations where you can’t keep everyone happy.
You had another brilliant weekend at this year’s tournament, is there anything new or different that you brought to your game to help you this time round?
Well my fitness trainer got me into some new breathing techniques, five or ten minutes before the round to get nicely centred and in to a good state of mind and that definitely helped. But really I’d say it was harnessing that energy and believing in myself a little bit more, particularly with my putting. That’s the one area of my game that comes and goes a little bit, but when I putt well I normally win tournaments. But just believing that when I need to make a putt, I make that putt, and that’s not something I’ve always managed, from a confidence point of view. But I think given the Ryder Cup in 2012, that gave me the belief to win a major championship and that self-belief is on the rise because of the situation I’ve put myself in and coming through them.
How does winning the Ryder Cup compare to your single achievements, such as the US Open last year?
Winning the Ryder Cup is amazing. When you see the rookies on the team experience it for the first time you view it through their eyes, you see how enthralled and amazed they are by it and it just reminds you how special it is. Even Sergio Garcia, who’s on his on his seventh or eighth Ryder Cup he does a countdown to the Ryder Cup, ’21 days to the Ryder Cup, 19 days’ and so on…so its special every single time. It throws up a different kind of atmosphere that you don’t get from a major championship, with the Ryder Cup it’s like playing golf in a football stadium.
What do you think of the growth and potential of this particular European team moving forward?
Yeah I think it has lots. Victor Dubuisson for example was kind of an unknown, no one knew how he was going to react to the Ryder Cup but I thought he was fantastic. He’s a character, he’s got the flair and he could be wonderful – especially as the Ryder Cup moves towards Paris in four years’ time, he could be a big part of that. The likes of Sergio, myself and Ian Poulter are getting a few Ryder Cups under our belt now so we can be the experienced ones moving towards that older statesman role, players like Lee Westwood too, I think Lee’s definitely got another Ryder Cup in him for sure.
So yes, the European team does look strong for the future but so does the American one. I think there was a lot of trust put in their rookies this year and they did incredibly well. Rickie Fowler, Jordan Speith and Patrick Reed came out, they had a big role to play and did very well, so we have to watch out.
So winning four in a row must be the next goal for the European team…
I think the aim now is to start looking at the overall record of the Ryder Cup, USA v Europe. If you look at the ticker tape, yes we’ve had a great run, but we’re still a long way behind. But there’s always going to be kick back from the Americans. They’re not going to enjoy the losing and they’ll come out strong, it’s never going to be an easy cup to defend, and that’s why these victories are valuable because they’re very hard to come by.
We chatted to Justin Rose courtesy of British Airways, aboard their A380 aircraft at Heathrow Airport, London.