Why Justin Rose believes a Ryder Cup without fans could be intense

Justin Rose hits a tee shot during the Players Championship.

Justin Rose says he and his wife, Kate, are "as comfortable as we can be" with the PGA Tour's plan to return to play.

Getty Images

Tackling home projects, watching movies with the family, exercising … you name it, this extended time at home has given us plenty of opportunity to check off the items on our personal to-do lists. For world No. 14 Justin Rose, the layoff created by the coronavirus has given him a stretch of time at home he never thought possible. Rose is a guy who’s used to traveling the world and being home for only a week or two at a time, so the layoff has certainly been unique … especially when it comes to “Dress up Sundays” at the Rose house.

GOLF.com’s Ryan Asselta recently caught up with Justin and his wife, Kate, while at home in the Bahamas. The couple dished on their weekly fun time with the kids, how they’re helping feed thousands of children around the world during this pandemic, and the idea that a Ryder Cup without fans could actually be very intense.

Ryan Asselta: You guys have spent this time off at home in the Bahamas. How has this extended time together been going?

Justin Rose: It’s been strange. (Laugh.) We’ve been learning to coexist, all together for so long. The gravity of the situation, obviously, makes it difficult to enjoy being home, but at the same time, it’s been important to try to find the silver lining in being home and spending time with Kate and the kids. It’s the longest I’ve ever been in one place since I was probably 16 years of age.

Ryan Asselta: Kate, you’re used to having Justin out on the road, sometimes weeks at a time. Now that he’s been home for a few months, have you guys had to almost re-learn each other’s quirks?

Kate Rose: Yeah, I think so. We always traveled together a lot until the children became school age. I’ve noticed it’s such a transient world and lifestyle for us. Normally, Justin’s either just got home and we’re readjusting, or he’s getting ready to go again. It’s been nice to have none of that and just have a bit of peace and actually allow time to take its normal course of a family life. We have the usual family annoying arguments over dinnertime or whatever. I’d say it’s been a lot calmer. We’re not used to having that kind of calmness in our lifestyle.

Ryan Asselta: Justin, you’ve been sharing much more of your family life on social media during this time off. You’ve played dress up with the kids, attempted to clean the garage … What has been the most fun for you?

Justin Rose: I think the time in the garden with the kids for sure. We had the rock-paper-scissors contest, to dip dunk into flour. That was good fun.

Kate Rose: We’ve opened up a little bit. I think we’ve always been quite mindful of keeping the family separate from golf. And so, in this time, I think we have shown a little bit more of the family stuff that goes on.

Justin Rose: Yeah, exactly. It’s been nice to do that a little bit. You know, I think that’s my life right now. Right? The other night we watched “Trolls 2,” and my daughter absolutely loved it and gravitated towards the rock chick in the movie. We saw other families have been doing these cool dress ups, and we thought it’d be a fun opportunity to take on a genre of music and dress up like that genre.

Kate Rose: Yeah, it’s been a Sunday thing. Charlotte has been making the choice of what we dress up as. It’s been a nice routine … a Sunday roast and dress ups!

Justin Rose: I’ve also been out in the garden playing a lot of soccer with my boy. We kind of play a match-play style. He’s much better than me, so he gets to shoot into the small goal, and I shoot into the big goal. First to five up wins.

Ryan Asselta: You guys have also been busy launching a new initiative within the Kate and Justin Rose Foundation?

Kate Rose: Yeah, with Covid-19 and the schools closing, that’s thrown up a big question mark of ‘How do you get food to the children that we usually delivered each Friday at school over the weekend?’ We’ve been working with Blessings in a Backpack for over a decade and we just decided to enhance that partnership with them and try and feed all the children in Orlando on the weekends that have food insecurity. We launched our Kate and Justin Rose chapter of the Blessings in a Backpack in Orlando.

Justin Rose: I mean, obviously we’re in a health pandemic, but very quickly it turns into an economic pandemic as well. Food and access to it becomes a huge priority. Giving back to the communities in which we’ve lived has always been important to us. We’ve donated 13,000 meals in Orlando, and the pandemic has been a good opportunity to go a little bit deeper into where we currently live in the Bahamas. We’re feeding 850 people for the next 10 weeks as part of a project called Lend a Hand. We’re also working to feed hungry tummies in London with City Harvest. All similar themes across the places we have lived and worked.

Ryan Asselta: Justin, you’re getting ready to return to work. How comfortable are you with what has been laid out by the PGA Tour?

Justin Rose: As comfortable as we can be. I think the sport will be a great help for people who are still not able to get back to work themselves in whatever way. I really miss competing and I’m willing to go through some of the pain that’s going to be required. It’s going to be tedious, the checks and balances that we need to have in place to make it safe. For me, it’s worth it, especially hearing about what the key workers have gone through. While we’ve been tucked up safe and sound, they’ve been out there on the front lines dealing with this. So, for me, having to wear a mask here and there and deal with some questions and take a temperature and a swab or two, it’s like, ‘Get on with it, man.’ You realize that you’re pretty fortunate to have the opportunity.

Ryan Asselta: How about you, Kate? Are you worried at all, knowing that Justin could be exposed?

Kate Rose: I don’t think so, really. People don’t have the luxury of staying home forever. I mean, everyone has to go back to work, and if your workplace is providing an environment that’s as safe as it possibly can be, then I think we all have to venture back out.

Ryan Asselta: Justin, this is supposed to be a Ryder Cup year. There have been some opinions given by Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka on the possibility of playing the matches at Whistling Straits with no fans. You’ve played on five European Ryder Cup teams. Is it worth playing the Cup with no fans?

Justin Rose: We might actually be used to it by then. It might almost be interesting if the Ryder Cup is the first event with fans. Who knows how the summer is gonna play out? The thought of a Ryder Cup without fans is mind-blowing, but what is the new normal? Would we rather still have the opportunity to play? You can’t just bump everything to 2021 because 2021 becomes chaos if that’s the case.

Kate Rose: It could be interesting with how people are getting on with their world and interacting online. The fan experience in a different way. The players are all so passionate anyway, that you could still get some of that passion on TV. And then to be able to provide that sort of entertainment and that sort of engagement online or on TV … I would still think it’s worth exploring.

Justin Rose: In one way, it could be more intense between the two players. There’s nowhere to hide, nowhere else to look. You know, it’s eyeball to eyeball. It could create a bizarrely intense environment.

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