Justin Rose made an appearance in the press conference room after playing in the Pro-Am to talk about his first impressions of the ACCIONA Open de España presented by Madrid. It is the Englishman’s first visit to the Spanish capital and he was surprised when he first set his eyes on Club de Campo Villa de Madrid. “With Rahm’s -25 last year, I was expecting it to be a little easier, but it’s really difficult”. Rose teed off early in the morning and felt as if the ball was not flying as far as it should. That, together with the fact that the rough is thicker than normal, caught Rose slightly off-guard.
The 2013 US Open champion acknowledged that Club de Campo poses a significant challenge. “You have to respect the course. The greens are long and small, the fairways are tight, and if I don’t play my best golf, I won’t have a chance”. He later pointed out that as his round progressed he started to discover the course’s secrets, but he says he cannot see the same result winning this year.
He was delighted with the views of the city: “you feel close and connected to the city. With some great panoramas of the Royal Palace, the five towers… I would say you feel like you’re in Spain. That’s exactly what you want for a tournament like this. I’m really excited to see the crowds come out and enjoy themselves”, declared Rose. He also revealed that his wife will be with him until Friday and that he cannot wait to go out for dinner and experience the atmosphere of Madrid for himself.
On the recent Ryder Cup win, he said that he was finally able to enjoy his “Poulter moment”; the putt on 18 that meant Team USA would not win any matches on day one for the first time in history. “Having that moment with my teammates around me was definitely exciting. You never know what your reaction is going to be. You can’t plan your reaction. So as soon as the putt went in, I turned to my teammates and celebrated and pointed at each of them to say, ‘that’s for you’”. He also spoke about the camaraderie and the Spanish influence on the team: “We’re not best mates but we have a bond. That bond comes from Seve and it’s passed down from generation to generation. Olazábal really brings Seve’s legacy and aura back to the team room”.
The former world number one also clarified that, despite the rumours, he still does not feel ready to be the captain of Team Europe. “I would love to play another one. You never give up on the dream of playing. And I’d like to also be a vice captain at one point just to be in the meetings to understand what goes on. Then we’ll see. I’ve had some good advice from other captains, and they say not to rush it”.
Rose acknowledged his recent resurgence after some turbulent years and admitted that the change in equipment and the people around him have been key for his upturned fortunes. He arrives in Madrid in fine fettle after a win this season at Pebble Beach and having played a key role in the Ryder Cup. He will certainly be one of the biggest attractions in this week’s Open de España. From 14:00 on Thursday we will be able to enjoy some exquisite golf from the English Rose.