Q&A: Rose talks UAE, Race to Dubai & British Airways
Reigning US Open champion Justin Rose has touched down in Dubai ahead of the European Tour's season-ending DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estate.
The world No3, currently second in the Race to Dubai, has the chance to topple leader Henrik Stenson if he secures the DP World title.
Here Rose discusses his relationship with Dubai, how he specifically prepares to play in the region, and offers his thoughts on the 2013 season.
What are your thoughts on the season end event in Dubai and the final stages to determine Europe’s No.1 golfer?
The season end event which will decide Europe’s No.1 golfer is just around the corner and I feel really good about the upcoming final.
I’m pleased with the way I’ve played in the last few tournaments and feel that the recent Shanghai leg in particular has helped me to focus and channel all of my energy into preparing for the final in Dubai.
The specific tournament is one of my favourites and I’m really looking forward to taking part this year; not least because it offers a great opportunity for me to capture my second order of merit trophy. I narrowly missed out last year and would love to go one better.
Are there any specific preparations you are doing ahead of your arrival in the UAE? (e.g. to combat the heat, different playing conditions)
Normally when playing in a hot country like the UAE I do make sure to take certain steps to accustomise myself to the heat and humidity. It’s simple things like ensuring that I increase my water intake to stay hydrated, and adjusting the time when I practice to reduce exposure during the hottest part of the day.
The heat also increases fatigue which isn’t helped by multiple changes in time zones. Having said that, this year I am travelling to Dubai from Turkey which means that it is a relatively small change in weather conditions and time zone which will make the transition much easier.
Last year I flew from the US and it was much harder to adjust, so I'm hoping I'll feel much better for Thursday’s first round.
What makes Dubai special to you and what are you most looking forward to while in Dubai?
The weather in Dubai is always great for golf, and you really can’t beat the setting. Even though heat and humidity are actually worse for a player’s performance than the cold and rain, there is just something about stepping out onto a sunny golf course with the UAE backdrop, which makes it one of my favourite places to play. Beyond the golf course, the hotels in Dubai are fantastic and I always find great places to eat.
Are there any particular sites you are planning on seeing?
I'm always fascinated by Dubai's ever changing skyline, so I look forward to seeing what has changed since the last time I was there. This trip I'm also hoping to visit the mall and see Ski Dubai.
There’s just something about a ski resort in the middle of the desert that holds a certain appeal!
How many times have you been to Dubai before? What are your favourite places there?
I think I've been to Dubai about twelve times. My first visit was in 1999 playing the Emirates Golf Club and seeing the Hard Rock Cafe in the middle of the desert was definitely a highlight.
Have you seen much of the wider Middle East (Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia)?
I've only seen Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar but would love one day to visit these places.
British Airways is now your airline sponsor. How did this partnership come about?
British Airways is a brand that I have grown up with and the character of the airline is something which really resonates with me. British Airways is fantastic at supporting British athletes and after the success of the airline’s award winning campaign for the London Olympics and Paralympics in 2012, it seemed a natural fit.
I feel very privileged to have joined their team of ambassadors and to be working with British Airways going forward. I love the fact that although British Airways has long become a global brand, the character at the centre of the brand still remains uniquely British.
I find it very comforting that no matter where you fly from, you get the same high standard of service, which is delivered in a way that is uniquely British and uniquely British Airways.
What do you like most about flying with British Airways?
I love the quality and consistency of the service and I'm always confident that I'll arrive fresh, rested and ready to perform. When you step on board even if you're 14 hours away you feel like your already at home.
Could you give us some comments on the Championship specifically – what makes the end of season activity and competition to be Europe’s No. 1 so special? Is there something about it that makes it stand out?
This championship is unique due to the the diversity of the countries you travel to in order to participate. Many things stand out, but the camaraderie amongst the players on this tour is what really makes it a pleasure to play in, and is the reason why I look forward to participating every year.