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September 29, 2016

Rafa Cabrera Bello

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

JOHN DEVER: Good morning again from the 41st Ryder Cup. Pleased to be joined by Rafa Cabrera-Bello.

Rafa, you've played in America a decent amount this year and you've played quite well when you've been here. Have you taken a liking to American-style golf courses, and what are your thoughts on Hazeltine so far?

RAFA CABRERA-BELLO: Well, I do like American-style courses, but it's not that I like them anymore than like a great European links.

I just think that this year I played a bit better because my game has gotten better. I think I've improved significantly as a player. So I have been fortunate enough, also, to perform good on this side of the lake.

JOHN DEVER: As with most of your team from Europe, you guys in general are playing quite well and kind of surging at the right time. When did you really begin your preparations for this Ryder Cup this week?

RAFA CABRERA-BELLO: Well, I mean, just for the week, maybe throughout the end of first trimester of this year I was trying to plan the schedule in order to be able to qualify for this week.

But really preparing for this week, I've been dreaming about it all my life really, so that's a little over 30 years. But more shortly, I mean, after the Wyndham Championship, that's when I was mathematically exempt for the team. I had three weeks off, played in Italy, and had another week off and now this week here.

So I've been trying to find the balance between a little bit of rest that I needed, a little bit of time off and then some good preparation in order to get here in good form and good mental shape, as well.

Q. What is the best piece of advice you've received so far this week?
RAFA CABRERA-BELLO: To enjoy every second of it. I really am. It's a fantastic experience. I'm extremely pleased, honored and happy to be here. I'm just really enjoying all of it.

I'm going to try to play my best, the way that I know that I can play and the way that actually got me here. So just enjoy and it should be fine.

Q. Like other Spaniards, are you inspired by what Seve brought to the Ryder Cup coming into this event?
RAFA CABRERA-BELLO: Yes, of course. I mean, I'm very honored to be the 10th Spaniard who makes The Ryder Cup Team. I mean, not just Seve; I mean, Seve with his charisma, his playing, his game, his playing partner, Ollie, what they did for Europe and for Spain, too. Hey, in Ryder Cup, it's definitely very, very inspiring.

But also more recently my friends Sergio, Miguel and Ignacio, I grew up playing with them, and Sergio and Miguel have helped me a lot to get ready for this week, mentally, to know, to foresee what things are going to happen and just to be ready so that when all those feelings arrive, I've already in a way experienced them or thought about them.

Q. Darren was saying yesterday that it looks as if you played The Ryder Cup many times, the way you feel here. So how can you explain that?
RAFA CABRERA-BELLO: Well, I am comfortable. I am happy. I mean, I know I'm a rookie but this is my 11th season as a pro. It's been my best year in my career so far.

Four years ago, I was very close to making the team, as well. So I mean, I'm glad that Darren can see that I feel comfortable, that I'm happy and that I'm ready to go, excited about the event and just pleased.

I mean, everything is new for me, but I don't feel a rookie in like the worst part of the word. I don't feel so inexperienced. I don't feel like everything is new. I don't really feel like a new kid moving into a new city. I mean, I've played -- I haven't played Hazeltine before, but I've played in the U.S. many events and I've played huge events in the U.S., as well. On that part, I'm glad that those memories and those experiences are helping me to stay calm and relaxed this week.

Q. I've got two questions, really. First question: I've got a spare $10 in my wallet, and if I put a bet on you being partnered with Sergio over the next three days, would I win any Monday?
RAFA CABRERA-BELLO: I don't know, I don't think we are allowed to talk with betting. For me it would be an honor to play with Sergio as it would be for any of my teammates.

Obviously Sergio, with us both being Spanish, it would mean a little extra for me. But it's going to mean so much whoever else I get paired with that -- yeah, maybe you'll win money, maybe you don't. It's okay (smiling). I don't bet with you.

Q. Second part of the question. When you said you were dreaming about this all your life, was part of the dream then to be the next Seve-Ollie partnership? To have another all-Spanish partnership for Europe would be an amazing thing to have that kind of success. Was that the dream, specifically?
RAFA CABRERA-BELLO: Not really, no. My dream was never to dream of being someone else. I mean, it's going to be impossible for me to fill Seve's or Ollie's shoes. I wouldn't want that task ahead of me. I'm just proud to know that a lot of great Spanish players have made The Ryder Cup, and now I am another one of them.

But I don't pretend to be paired with Sergio or I don't expect -- not pretend; expect to be paired with Sergio all the time, and even consider trying to beat Ollie's and Seve's record because that would be a stupid task for me.

I'm just going to play and I'm going to be available for whatever the captain decides that I am ready and that I am going to play, and just try to give my best on every shot that I give. And that's it. But I don't pretend to live up to anyone's expectations, no.

Q. Am I right in saying you're a keen surfer?
RAFA CABRERA-BELLO: A keen surfer? Well, yes, yes, you're right saying this.

Q. Can you tell me a bit about that and how important it is for your relaxation and if perhaps you're planning to go next week to recharge the batteries after all the pressure of this week?
RAFA CABRERA-BELLO: I love surfing. It's my passion outside golf. I picked it up late when I was 22, 23. So I'm not as low as a handicap as I would like to, but I can surf decent enough.

It helps me take the mind away from golf. I enjoy going to exotic surf places around the world, and just having it as time off. And next week, I will be playing the Dunhill, so it won't happen next week.

Q. You were talking about your conversations with Miguel. Can you give us an example of the things that Miguel told you? And the other thing is if you were paired with Sergio, would you rather play foursomes or fourball?
RAFA CABRERA-BELLO: I mean, Miguel, he WhatsApp'd me earlier this week wishing me all the best, just telling me to trust myself, to enjoy every second of it; that I am -- in his opinion, I am ready for this.

I don't really mind if I play fourball, foursomes, whatever. I just want to -- my captain, Darren, well knows that I am available for the team. I am available for any other player and whatever he considers best for the team, I'm going to be behind his decision 100%.

Q. You said that playing The Ryder Cup was like your child dream. I'd like to know, your first memory of a viewer or spectator of a Ryder Cup, that first moment that you recall, that you remember?
RAFA CABRERA-BELLO: My first memory is watching Ollie dance on the green, and then I had the opportunity to play the Junior Ryder Cup in '99. So I watched Sergio and Parnevik play other matches, and I really enjoyed that experience, even though Sunday wasn't great for us, but it was an honor and really a dream. Just it really got me even dreaming more, having seen what Ryder Cup was firsthand, or secondhand.

JOHN DEVER: Rafa Cabrera-Bello, thank you for your time and enjoy Hazeltine.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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