Hey everyone and thanks for stopping by. Before I forget… we mentioned yesterday that we're looking for golf shop/pro shop employees and owners that would like some free advertising on our site. Drop us a line if you're interested. Next up… our friends over at TaylorMade sent us a transcript of an interview with PGA Star Justin Rose at the Orlando PGA Show. Justin talks about his golf clubs and it's actually a pretty interesting read.
MARK KING, TAYLORMADE-ADIDAS GOLF CEO: Welcome everyone. Let's hear it for Justin Rose.
We're excited to be here, the 2008 Merchandise Show. But it's really exciting to have Justin here. I'm only here so that Justin can take a break on some of the questions that you might have. So if you want to ask me a couple during the time, I'll be free to answer any of those questions.
But we're really here to let you talk to Justin and myself or any of our staff people about our equipment, our company. So let's start. And let's start right here in the front with Alex with a question for Justin.
Q. Have you tried the new Spider putter?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yes, I have. The spider putter, I hit some putts at the BMW championship. Obviously since then I did a lot of traveling, went back to Europe and what have you. It’s in my garage right now. I’ve got three, four weeks before I start the season.
The stability that I felt initially on that putter after only five or six putts with that was great. It's something I want to try. I want to try this putter. It's interesting. This is a key time for me to get all of my equipment straight before I start the season.
Obviously there is a new golf ball, LDP. I’ve had a chance to hit it a little bit and from what I hear from all the guys, it's fantastic and an improvement on what’s already been a successful ball for me. And I'm really fine tuning everything, going into next year, so seems to be working very well for me. I’m very comfortable with my equipment. I'm not going to make changes unless it’s in the right direction. That's what the putter will help me, move forward.
Q. What equipment are you playing?
JUSTIN ROSE: I’ve got the rac MB irons. With the 2‑iron and 3-iron I sometimes switch in the rescue, as well, depending on what the different golf course requires. Whether it's thick rough. Sometimes that club can be a weapon out of the rough. At Augusta where the 11th hole where you have 220 yards to hit a green the size of this stage, with water on the left. Having a club that is easy to hi, I remember hitting the green all four days, it's a 3‑iron rescue. So I switch that around. Obviously switch between the 2‑iron and 5-wood, the Burner 5-wood. I have the r7 3-wood and driver. That's the other thing I'm excited about is the Burner and the new Burner coming out. I like that. I can drive very well. But I'm excited about the new products, squeeze a little more out of them.
MARK KING: Justin, I'll ask a question, not only about your golf clubs, but you have some new equipment on today that we can't see. So why don't you tell us about the equipment we can't see.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, exactly, the PowerWeb, which is obviously what you see to my left and to my right here. I can fire my personal trainer now. (PowerWeb) sucks my belly in, puts my shoulders back. It can save me a lot of money. It's an amazing product. It's like somebody in your ear saying stomach in, shoulders back. You don't feel you're trapped or something. Whenever I'm in the gym, my fitness trainer is on me about doing things with the correct form. And as soon as I put this product on, it was like the position that my body naturally wanted to get into, like the shoulders down and back. It's exactly what he works with me on all the time in the gym. And that's just in the gym. Obviously it will help your golf swing, nice straight back and the ability to turn.
It's a constant reminder all day long, having good posture. And I've had troubles with my back and all those things. I'm very aware of my posture. As soon as I put it on and sit up, that feels pretty good.
MARK KING: Justin, do you actually think you'll play with the underwear?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah.
MARK KING: I'm going to get killed because they don't really want me to call it underwear but I think it as underwear. High Tech underwear.
JUSTIN ROSE: No doubt about it. Especially the one thing we need to test is obviously in different conditions, different temperatures. But certainly in a cool condition or something like that. I'm sure it will. That's something I need to test. But I'm going to play with it. Especially west coast where it’s a bit chilly. It's going to be an awesome product.
MARK KING: Justin, our company really has incredible success since you've become a part of it, actually. When did you join our company?
JUSTIN ROSE: 1998.
MARK KING: And we started growing in 1999.
JUSTIN ROSE: That's right.
MARK KING: And Justin’s agent is negotiating an extension on his contract right now. So congratulations to a great 2007. A big pay raise for you and your wife, 2008 and beyond.
But talk a little bit about your year and the things that you went through in 2007 and how you've really gone from somewhere around 50th at the beginning of 2007 to ranked 6th in the world.
JUSTIN ROSE: It's obviously been a journey. It's been an interesting year. It's been an a year of big obstacles, but those obstacles have kind of thrown out questions and opportunities that I've made the most of.
I think I learned a lot about my schedule this year. I've been injured a couple times through this season. I had times when I had to take six weeks out. And the two events I came back for, my game was very rusty, but I felt very mentally fresh.
So I began to question the fact that playing too much golf and how it impacted me in the past. Another great thing was the more I began to work on the world ranking, I felt the less I had to chase. The previous year I was trying really hard working so hard to get above 50th in the world, putting more pressure on myself, too many events. So this has been a really big learning curve for me in terms of finding out what works for me in terms of my schedule and my preparation. I think that's what I've really done well this year, is when I have teed it up, I've been ready to play mentally. And I think that's where my increase in consistency has come from.
MARK KING: When we talk about equipment ‑‑ when the industry has typically talked about golf equipment. And we now talk about equipment for your body. Talk a little about not only the styling of the footwear and apparel but from a technical standpoint what do you think it brings you as a golfer?
JUSTIN ROSE: It's vital. From styling, I had the look good, feel good, play good mentality. I've seen the company grow since I've been with adidas for eight years. And I was saying to the sales guys on Monday, I'm so excited when I get my box full of clothes. I can't wait to see what's in there. Every year it gets better and better and better. The fabrics get better. The style gets better. I'm excited to wear the new range every single time.
But these shoes right here, for example, the TOUR 360 Limited, the technology in this shoe, obviously we can all agree, looks incredible. It's very cool. The off-center stitching, the monotongue, the look and stability of the shoe is incredible.
But what I find the most impressive thing about this shoe is the fact that I feel really planted to the ground. I think they chiseled away a lot inside the shoe, feel closer to the ground, more contact with the ground. Me, personally, one of the biggest areas of my game is my leg action. If that's nice, solid and stable, that's ultimately what I work on day in, day out.
Any time you feel in contact with the ground, it gives you a lot more control. So for me I'm really excited about this shoe. I think it's going to be a huge product for adidas in 2008.
Q. Do you pick out your own clothes or do you have someone who arranges it for you at the company?
JUSTIN ROSE: No, I pick it out myself. Obviously it's easier to pick out the clothes if you have 20 good looking shirts or 30 great looking shirts.
I like to match it up with ‑‑ I like to match it up. Pick the trim. I like to pick the trim and match my trousers to the trim of the shirt. Keep it quite classic, keep it quite simple. adidas takes care of all the technical side shirt and obviously the cutting edge style, sort of match it up, make it a little bit more classic. My style, really.
MARK KING: And your wife has nothing to do with matching the colors from the top to the bottom?
JUSTIN ROSE: I’m quite fussy when it comes to that but she does pack for me occasionally.
Q. Your schedule this year, you talked about your scheduling. When will we see you over here in the United States playing and when will you start playing in Europe, that kind of thing?
JUSTIN ROSE: You'll see me in the United States pretty much all year long
. I'm going to start out in February, mid‑February at the Northern Trust Open which is at Riviera. And that's a much later start for me than I've ever started the season before. But I wanted to get on top of my fitness and those back injuries I told you about so I can leave them in the past and move on and not worry about them. That's the reason I'm starting a few weeks later than normal.
I'll focus on the PGA TOUR, from January through September, FedExCup schedule really, and then after that get back to Europe, get my numbers up there. You have to play a minimum 11 events there. That means playing, with a little bit luck, Ryder Cup and a couple of events in September and October in Europe.
That's the way my season looks. I think that's the way to go. I find it very difficult to fly back and forth, back and forth, play two here, two there, three there, four there. I like to do it in blocks.
Q. When we talked to you last year, you were asked about the drivers you had. You were an old school guy. You stick with your stuff. What thought process do you go through, what equipment you're going to play and how long does it take to work that in?
JUSTIN ROSE: That's a good question. Obviously sometimes if it's not broke don't try to fix it. A lot of it is confidence. If something is really working for you, it's difficult to change, obviously. We’re spoiled with TaylorMade in terms of options. That's a great thing. If you're not 100 percent happy with your driver, it's not too long before they bring out something even better. And so it's always great to have options.
I've never felt under pressure from the company to always be in the latest line. Obviously it's great for everybody when a player is. And I'm sure I will move into that line, the new driver coming out. I’ve heard great things about that. I'm excited about that.
MARK KING: Nobody here knows about the new driver. That's okay. It's all confidential here. It won't leave the room. (Laughter).
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah. Like I said, there's always new stuff coming. For my peace of mind I know there's always going to be something great around the corner. And that's a peace of mind when you're with the company. Players sign long‑term deals and you put your trust in the company to deliver not just product in 2008 but product in 2011, whatever it might be. So that's the key.
Q. Follow‑up to that, how about the golf ball? The golf ball is a big deal right now. You’re playing the TP already, what do you know about the LDP and what's it going to be like, or what are you working on?
JUSTIN ROSE: I've used TP Black for quite some time now. The biggest testament to that ball is I play well in firm conditions.
I think any time you play well with a golf ball on firm or fast conditions, that ball is performing well. Playing Augusta, in what was one of the toughest Masters, on the greens, last year, and I won in Australia, obviously the greens, it was fast. The ball is giving me everything I need around the greens and control.
And I think with the new LDP, low drag performance, it means more distance on off center hits. We're not machines. We're not robots. We do miss the ball occasionally. It's all about getting rid of your bad shots. It might make a difference, carrying that bunker, might be playing the base or not. So the golf ball is so good, if you can start squeezing that little bit of extra yardage out of mis-hits, it can be an advantage. It’s also slightly softer it a bit. TP Red is a really nice, really soft lovely feeling ball now, too. So really going to give the guys the opportunity to hit different shots around the greens, too. So I'm excited about really testing it out.
Q. You were telling us the other night about your experience in Southern Hills this year and the 100‑plus degree weather. Could you share that story?
JUSTIN ROSE: It's a testimony to the adidas range. We were in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was a million degrees. That's how it felt anyway. It was 110, let's call it. And I played a practice round. I trudged my way up what felt like a very long, steep hill back to the clubhouse. A couple of the boys were in there. They're like, "You're not playing today?" "No, I was just out there, played 18 holes." "Come on, you're not even sweating. You’re from England. You’re not sweating in this temperature." I said, "Trust me, the shirt's wet; it doesn't look like it."
The guys looked really uncomfortable, miserable in the heat and I came off the golf course looking pretty fresh. A little red faced. But I was quite a bit dryer and still in good shape. So sometimes you're self‑conscious out on the golf cours
e. TV cameras and thousands of people and no one wants to see the big sweat rings. I put my confidence in ClimaCool.
Q. Can you talk about what South Africa means to you?
JUSTIN ROSE: I always love coming back to South Africa. Certainly a second home to me. I have my grandparents there. My mom spends a little time out there. It was a dream of mine. It's a tour I wanted to play for quite some time. I enjoyed the week and hope to be back whenever possible.
Q. Can you talk about the new adjustable drivers?
MARK KING: The industry is launching the ability for consumers to take the shaft out and put a new shaft in. So all of those products will be launched, the companies will be launching here at the show and coming out.
So it gives the player the same opportunity that you have working with them to be able to change shafts, according to the way they play.
JUSTIN ROSE: Without really knowing much about that technology, I think it's a wonderful development. Often the shaft is the engine that runs the golf club. So to have the ability to switch out shafts without necessarily buying to buy a whole new club is a great benefit.
I'm a guy that doesn't change a lot. If it's working, I stick with it. For me, I need a shaft within a certain weight range. My driver has about 80 grams and my irons about 90 grams. That's how I choose my shaft.
But if it's working, I don't often change it. I can go a whole season without changing.
Q. In Europe the weather is not as nice as it is in America. But can you touch on playing the elements and how the right outerwear can help you through that?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yes. I hope it rains all week at Birkdale. The new stuff in back, it looks fantastic, it really does. I think the key with that it's lighter, it's quieter. You don't have that (noise) when you take a swing and this is more (noise). That's encouraging, but I think what I really like is how fitted it is. We know sometimes you're playing, just so much fabric in the middle. You're hitting a putt and the butt of the putter sticks in the jacket and you miss it left ‑‑ this is so similar feel to me from the ‑‑
Q. The underwear.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, sucks in your tummy here. No extra fabric than you actually need. It's a good product. The other thing you have is the ability to take the sleeves off, take the arms off; you've actually got three different jackets within one. It's a pretty cool product.
Q. If you could talk about your goals for 2008. You came so close in the four Majors, had the second best aggregate finish in the Majors behind the guy named Tiger. What would you say your goals are for this year?
JUSTIN ROSE: Last year was the key for me that I should set lofty goals but believable goals, and I lived by them all year. I think in the past I've been a guy that's written down his goals on a piece of paper and February, March I've lost that piece of paper. And you get in the grind of the year, you go week by week. But last year I had the goals with me all the time. Again, that was another learning part of the year. So I'll be doing a similar thing this year.
I think no Tour player really wants to share their deepest goals. But I think with the preparation I'm prepared for every event this year. I took each week, if I can keep doing that, if I can take care of the step‑by‑step process, I think I'll get to my goal.
And the results will take care of themselves. That sounds easy to do, but it's not. I'm doing the same thing every week, just churning it out. I think that's what I want to do.
Q. You have a little trophy next to you. That's the Vardon Trophy, for winning the European Order of Merit title for 2007. What did it mean to be handed that trophy?
JUSTIN ROSE: That's a very special week. It was something that wasn't on my radar the beginning of the year. I started the year really re-joining the European Tour, basically. And I wanted to rejoin the European Tour in hopes of making the Ryder Cup team. Going to play a minimum of 11 events, ended up playing 12. And I won the Order of Merit in Europe. So it shows what a spectacular year I had and how well I performed in the Majors and the World Golf championships. I think on the European Tour, if you can play well in the big events, you make big strides and
win the Order of Merit. And you have to look at the names on here. Retief (Goosen), won it twice, Ernie (Els), twice, Monty (Colin Montgomery) about 25 times (laughing). My name is finally on here. It's just fantastic. Any time you're number one it's great.
And obviously being number one ‑‑ being with the number one company, it's easy to be number one when you're with number one. But it's a big thing for me to do in Europe. It was certainly the highlight of my career so far.
Q. You mentioned about the Ryder Cup and the Europeans' chances. Who is going to win the Ryder Cup
JUSTIN ROSE: I honestly believe ‑‑ obviously the Europeans have had the upper hand over the past five, six years.
I think last year for the first time ever we were probably the strongest team on paper. As I said, I think this year Europe is going to be looking at potentially a fairly different team, a younger team. And I think that the Americans are going to be possibly a more feisty team.
I think that there's a great match‑up between Paul Azinger and Nick Faldo. There’s some great history there and they've done a lot of TV work together. Good camaraderie. Hopefully that will filter into a well‑fought match, the right spirit; that's what the Ryder Cup is all about.
I certainly think the American team will come out swinging. You know the European team has to believe that it's going to be the hardest contest as any that the team has faced.
MARK KING: What Justin said is that the Americans are going to give it a good try but the Europeans will probably win.
JUSTIN ROSE: In a nutshell. (Laughter).
MARK KING: Thank you everybody for joining us this afternoon, this morning, and there's plenty of good things to see.