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March 25, 2017

Jon Rahm

Austin, Texas

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Jon, congratulations.

JON RAHM: Thank you.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Looked quite impressive to us. How was it for you?

JON RAHM: It was, truly, yeah. The golf I've played the last three matches really has been very impressive even to myself, and it seemed to get better as I played, which is something that doesn't happen often. I felt my confidence was growing. The first few matches my putter let me down, but I was hitting the ball great. Today my putter was rolling. I think that's one of the main why I was able to do it the way I did it today.

Q. Not just this tournament, but the year you've had, winning Farmers, doing so well in Mexico, and playing so well week after week, I think a lot of people outside are surprised. Is that a surprise to you or are you doing what you expected to do coming in here?
JON RAHM: Well, my expectations are usually really high. But once I come to tournaments, I forget about it. I'm here to play golf and play day-by-day. As I said many times, I really play to win. I compete to win. And my mindset is winning. And really do my mental work before. And once I get to tournaments I just focus on what I have to do, stick to my routine, breakfast, warm up, hit balls, and think about it each shot at a time. When it comes to it on the course, I really don't think about it. And once I'm done I try to avoid golf and social media, because otherwise I might get hung up on things like that and maybe not be mentally ready for what is to come.

Q. If someone had said to you in January at this point in the year this is what you would have done, would you have said I could see that happening?
JON RAHM: You know, I might have said that. Knowing myself, I might have also said that and then think, I hope it's better. I hope it's better than that. But honestly I'm always -- I try to stay humble, and honestly I would have taken this or just to win in general would taken it for sure, and be able to play those events. I never knew that guaranteed now going to be top 4 in both of the WGC's that I've ever played. That wasn't really on the plans. It really amazes me that I'm doing this, and I'm playing the semifinal tomorrow.

Q. There's still a chance you get Phil tomorrow morning. He said he won't play against you anymore, but he might have to. Can you take us through the little history that you guys have playing, practicing together, and would you relish playing him in a competitive environment like this?
JON RAHM: Well, I mean, I feel like I had easy access to Phil, right? Obviously his brother being -- him being the manager and my coach in school. I played a couple of times when I was at ASU. Once I turned pro he helped me quite a lot. It's good to play practice rounds with him, because he thinks so much and knows so much about every golf course we play on. A lot of times maybe I don't need it, but it sure is nice to have it.

Yeah, we've played a couple of matches together. He did beat me last time we played. So I'm sure he now feels a little more capable than maybe what he said last. He's obviously playing great. He's finished all his matches before hole 15. And today seems to be a little harder day. But he's obviously a very tough competitor. And I would love to play with him in a scenario like this. We are good friends. We have a really healthy relationship. We both want to beat each other really bad, so I hope it happens.

Q. What are your emotions like in match play? Do you get angry when you lose a hole? I realize you only lost two of them today. Does it motivate more?
JON RAHM: Do I ever get angry?

Q. When you lose a hole? What are your emotions different in match play?
JON RAHM: No difference. It feels like making a bogey, I get that. But in match play I can use that anger a little more because you can be more aggressive and get away with it. Really in stroke play if you get a little too aggressive, you might end up missing a tee shot and get a bogey or double bogey or worse. In match play it's only going to be one hole. It's always the factor when you can be actually aggressive. Honestly you can't let it get out of control. You have to keep it under control. If it gets out of control, it's going to be hard to play golf. Both match play and stroke play. But sometimes it does help, but when I miss a shot or I lose a hole I do get mad. I don't like it.

Q. You've continued to play better as the week's gone on. Anything in particular about this golf course that really plays to your strengths, that's kind of allowed you to go out ahead of these guys early on?
JON RAHM: Well, you know, I think as a match play course it does favor the longer hitters. There's a couple of holes you can hit it really close to the green. And then since -- I say longer hitters, there are longer hitters than me. And once you're close to the green, closer to the green, a couple of those pins are in very tight spots, from a hundred yards or more it's really hard to hit. But when you're closer it's easier. No. 5 is an example. Yesterday was a tough spot, whoever got it close to the green would have a better chance.

Same thing today, I ran it out between both of the bunkers to the front of the green. I had a straight up chip. If you were 30 yards short, it was almost an impossible shot. So I think it benefits longer hitters like me. I'm a really confident player with the driver. I like to play it a lot, and as much as I can. And it probably benefits both parts of the game, I enjoy it most, driver and short game. I think it helps a player like me. Obviously Phil, DJ, Jason who won last year, Rory who did great last year. For people like us it's a good golf course like us.

Q. By any chance have you been to Augusta?
JON RAHM: I have.

Q. Since you won Farmers?
JON RAHM: Only once. I don't have much time to go. It's not really close to home. I played two rounds at the Masters that's all I've played.

Q. Have you walked up a practice round with Phil?
JON RAHM: I'm playing next week, so hopefully I get there Sunday night. And we're still talking about it. It all depends when he gets there. He's playing Shell Houston, I think, as well. I imagine he plays good, he'll be there Sunday night. We'll talk about it Monday or Tuesday, because of the par-3 contest Wednesday.

I'll try. He's a busy man, hopefully I can play with him.

Q. How closely are you looking at some of the other players in the field in terms of how they're playing this week, specifically Dustin? Obviously he seems to keep rolling along. You could possibly meet him in the finals. How do you look at that?
JON RAHM: Well, when you're facing an opponent like Dustin, it's one of those people that you might benefit not looking at what he's doing, just because he's such a great player. You know he's going to hit it a mile off the tee, and a great wedge player, and obviously the best player. He's the hottest player we have right now on Tour, and he's a hard guy to beat. If I end up playing against him I'll do my own thing and not look. I know he hits it farther than me and he hits it very well.

And same applies to Phil. With Phil it's always the unknown factor. He could hit a wild tee shot and then hit it to two feet. Much like Seve, you really -- you can never say they're out of the hole. And you can never focus too much on what they're doing. It really might help me to focus on my game. I'll be watching a little bit of what they do. But what they do today it doesn't really mean anything tomorrow at the end of the day.

Q. You talked about building your confidence getting better as the week goes by. How important was that finish in Mexico against a world class field in building that confidence?
JON RAHM: Mexico wasn't too great a finish, bogeyed the two last holes. And that motivated me to try to get it done and the next time I had the opportunity. Obviously played that week, finished tied for third. Gave me a lot of confidence.

I have played good, Torrey Pines. The Farmers being one of the greatest tournaments we have all year. To win gave me a lot of confidence, but to be in a World Golf Championship, I can have a chance to win, and have won, obviously gave me more confidence. To believe that I truly belong out here, and that I can beat the best players in the world.

Q. When did you last play the 18th hole?
JON RAHM: The practice round.

Q. Tuesday?
JON RAHM: Yeah. Yeah, Tuesday was the last time I played it.

Q. And secondly, you talked about momentum you can have during a match. How did you feel this morning? Did you feel like you carried momentum from your three rounds into the weekend or did it feel like starting over this morning?
JON RAHM: No, I started over completely. I tried to reboot my whole system and restart. Because much like I said about tomorrow, it's a completely different day. It's a different opponent, the course is in a different setup. And I wanted to be mentally as fresh as possible playing against Soren.

Q. Did you take momentum from the morning into the afternoon?
JON RAHM: Definitely. Definitely. I had the confidence in my swing and I had the confidence in my putter, especially.

Q. What sort of mental work do you do before you play?
JON RAHM: Well, it really starts months ahead of time. But I do a lot of work on my life outside golf. Because I'm a believer the better my life is outside my golf environment, family, friends, anything, the better I'm going to be able to play golf. And that's where I do a lot of work. And it's getting mentally ready and not getting hung up in wanting to win. Every day waking up motivated to practice hard and be aware that if I play good I'm going to have a chance.

There's a lot of things that go into it because we might be a couple of hours in here.

Q. Do you have a mental coach?
JON RAHM: Yeah, I have a mental coach.

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