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January 30, 2015

Jon Rahm


THE MODERATOR: We have Jon Rahm here, new face in the interview room. Congratulations on a 3-under 68 today, round 2 of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Kind of a wet, long day, but you certainly got the job done. With that, just turn it over to you for some comments on the 68 today.

JON RAHM: Well, it was pretty much the best round in the rain I have ever had. Where I live, our climate is kind of like this. It gets cold and rainy, so I'm used to this weather. I mean, I have to say thank you to my caddy. He helped me out a lot today. He did a great job keeping everything dry. That was easier to play golf at the end.

Q. How much fun are you having right now?
JON RAHM: Oh, unbelievable. I have never been so happy on a golf course in my life (smiling).

Q. Is it just like a comfortable feeling, like kind of your backyard? Is it easy for you to go out and play?
JON RAHM: It's just different. I kind of feel like I belong here. So, I mean, yesterday I was really nervous coming, starting on the back 9. On 10 I kind of didn't play as good as I could have. I learned from that, and I was just like just whatever happens just enjoy it. Just learn things and play as good as you can. I was just trying to enjoy everything I can.

Q. Has it hit you you're up there on kind of the leaderboard and put yourself in a good position on Saturday?
JON RAHM: Kind of, yeah. I didn't know until the 18th hole. I was really surprised I was top 13 or something. I thought I was going to be kind of lower. I was surprised.

Q. What's the key now for you moving forward? You're in a good position, but obviously you'd like to stay focused heading into the weekend.
JON RAHM: Just keep doing what I'm doing. I'm honestly not really focusing on the score. I'm just playing golf shot by shot. I will just keep doing that.

Q. Can you talk about yesterday, your decision, and how you came about the decision to don the Tillman jersey?
JON RAHM: Oh, well, when we asked for the exemption, I, you know, we were pretty sure I was going to get it, and we actually were looking for things to do on the 16th hole. Once they tell me I couldn't throw anything, I was like, well, why don't I just put on like a football jersey or something, because usually, you know, one day one guy does it. I was like, I will just do it every day. I wrote down the nickname that I like, Rambo. I wrote down 42, Pat Tillman, kind of giving back to the Pat Tillman Foundation. We actually have the Pat Tillman bag, as well. Saying thank you to every soldier that are on duty, every soldier that gives service to the country.

Q. Is this your first PGA TOUR start?
JON RAHM: It's my second one. I played down in Cancun, Mayakoba in November.

Q. Have you played any European events in Spain or anything?
JON RAHM: No, I haven't.

Q. Congratulations on today's round. Couple questions. When did you apply for and receive the sponsor exemption, first of all?
JON RAHM: We applied for it, I want to say it was towards the end of November. We actually met with the tournament director, Mr. Callahan, and had a nice lunch with him. They let me know like a week and a half before the event -- I probably -- they meant to call me when I was back in Spain for Christmas break, but my cell phone was off over there, my American phone, so they actually waited till I got here.

Q. How much experience have you had on the renovation here at TPC Scottsdale?
JON RAHM: Oh, I played it four times before playing the tournament, so, I mean, thanks to them they let me play a couple rounds before Monday, practice rounds. I mean, that really helped me a lot. Playing four rounds on this course before, so close to the event, is really helpful.

Q. What are the crowds like for you on 16?
JON RAHM: Well, as I said, yesterday I was absolutely nervous. I could not hit that shot. I missed the pitching wedge 25 yards left of the pin. I could not believe where I was. Instead of taking advantage of it, I kind of messed it up. And today when I came I was like, I'm just going to cheer up the crowd, make them scream and enjoy the moment.

Q. How important is it to you to have, you know, your teammates and your coach with you while you're participating in this event?
JON RAHM: I mean, it's great. It's great to have the support, to have support from my teammates. They obviously want the best for me, so really nice to see them there screaming and cheering for me. It's great. It's unbelievable.

Q. I saw that you sunk a medium-range par save on the 10th hole today. How did that influence your back 9 coming in?
JON RAHM: It completely changed everything. I kind of got unlucky on the tee shot on 10 and had a really hard second shot, you know, chunked it up to the fairway and then the putt, once my caddy looked at the break, we were like, it's right there. We saw the line perfectly, and I knew I was going to make it. Making that putt, after that totally, I told him, birdies on right now. I just played a perfect back 9.
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