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March 26, 2017

Jon Rahm

Austin, Texas

Q. Match play is an emotional thing. Can you take us through the highs and lows of being five down to having a chance to win?
JON RAHM: Well, the front nine was very steep and deep low, I must say. The first two holes I was very confident, playing great. And after that drive on No. 3 that kicked through straight to the high grass, things started to go -- just plummeted. I was trying to do the best I could, but just things weren't happening, unfortunately for me.

But I got a good break on 5. Too bad I couldn't make the putt. Then once I collected myself after that tee shot on 9, things went a little easier. I was just waiting for Dustin to make a couple of mistakes, luckily for me he did, which he doesn't usually do. And I was able to take advantage of that. And my confidence and my emotions came back to normal. Right after that is when I started hitting good shots, quality shots. Starting on 11, that 9-iron was a really quality shot and kept going on the rest of the back nine.

And then 18, well, doesn't feel great to come back all that way and not have a better putt for birdie to maybe half the match.

But I'm very proud of what I did, very proud for what I stood for on the course. Very proud of fighting hard and being able to make birdies where I needed them and up-and-downs, a couple of them. So honestly, as sad as I might emotionally feel, I'm extremely happy with what I did. Trying to keep the curve of emotion going up right now.

Q. You had a front row seat all afternoon for a guy that's won three straight starts out here. How would you describe what you saw from DJ today?
JON RAHM: Well, what am I going to say that you guys don't know? If his putter had have been hot, I wouldn't have had a chance, no question. If he had made any putts this morning or in the front nine, I would not have had a chance to maybe get to 14, honestly. Luckily for me he was short on a couple of them or misread a couple of them and I made them.

But, man, I mean what's to say, his power off the tee, it's amazing how he's able to keep cool the entire round. It amazes me. And he's just a perfect, complete player. Honestly, he doesn't really make mistakes. I think he's learned from what he's done in the past and he's embracing it now and that's why he's winning tournaments.

Q. You hadn't seen 17 and 18 in competition this week, do you think that hurt you down the stretch?
JON RAHM: I did see 17. Not really, because Dustin had seen them once or twice. I don't think that hurts, honestly. Maybe had I played this morning it may be a different thing. But we know the holes. I've seen plenty of TV to know how the holes are played out.

Q. You talked about the lows on the front. Can you address the high on the back of driving 13? What was your mindset and when you pulled off the shot, the flow of emotions, how excited were you?
JON RAHM: Well, I wasn't that low. I was trying to stay positive. I was 4 down and six to go. But if this is the time to hit the green, right now with this one is the perfect time. I hit a perfect high cut. And once it hit the green, I was praying to God that it stayed on the green, because that chip is not fun. Once it stayed on the green, I was happy. But it still depended on DJ's second shot. If you hit it right on the right spot, you can hit the slope. Once DJ hit the spot and had a 20-footer, that's pretty much what got me going. I knew with a two-putt -- I knew I had a pretty good chance to make it in the hole. And that's when the emotions got back to a normal level and I was able to play good golf.

Q. You had a couple of 15 foot birdie putts on the first two holes, and DJ obviously had a 90-footer and a 40-something-footer. When you got to the third tee did you feel like that might have been something you could have taken advantage of or how did that factor into the tee shot at all?
JON RAHM: I hit the tee shot the way I wanted. I've been hitting that tee shot all week. And it's been in the fairway every time. It didn't factor at all. You can't expect to make every putt. The one on 1 didn't break enough. Then one on 2, I hit it too hard and it went right through the break. I wish I made one of those two putts, maybe it would have been different.

The tee shot on 3, I guess I hit it harder than I expected or the fairway was a little firmer. I was waiting for the bounce left and have it trickle down to the fairway. But it kind of kicked straight. And once I saw the marshall move, I thought that doesn't look too good. I never expected the ball to be where it was, though.

Q. Obviously some things are out of your control. I was just wondering if you heard the loud crash behind the 18th green while you were about to address that chip and if you did, did it mess with your shot at all?
JON RAHM: You mean the one on my backswing? (Laughter).

I did hear it. And you hope those things don't bother you, but unfortunately for me it did. I got my eyes off the ball for a second. Even that small portion of a second had I thought of stopping, I would have. But I didn't. I committed to the shot and once I moved my eyes, my balance went off and I chucked it.

I wish I could go back and hit it over the slope 15, 20 feet left. But it's just things that happen, honestly. It won't be the last time I have a noise on my swing on the last hole. It's certainly the first time that I hear it. It's golf. It happens.

Q. I just wonder if it wasn't another way to hit your putt? It looks like you really had big curve. There wasn't any straight or less curve?
JON RAHM: Well, the way I thought about it is I just try to see the line where the ball is going to have some speed. But not go too fast. If I take less break, the ball is going to go so fast that unless it hits the center of the cup it's not going to go in. I just hit the putt that I thought there was a chance.

Plus DJ didn't have the easiest putt, so he could still run it five feet by, and I wanted to give myself a chance to make the next one. If I hit it hard and go to the edge of the green, it really leaves me without options.

Q. Take us through that second is shot at 16. And secondly, did you show yourself anything this week playing seven matches and performing so well?
JON RAHM: Well, I've showed -- I confirmed what I already thought, that I belong here. I'm just 22. It's my rookie season. And I'm just blessed and glad and happy and I don't know many more adjectives to describe how positive I feel that I had the chance today to win another -- yet another WGC. Just my second one, and I had a chance to win both of them.

Unfortunately for me, I had the hottest player on earth, recent No. 1. I'm not going to win them all, but I'm certainly giving myself opportunities. And I just love the fact that I'm giving myself opportunities.

And then 16, I'm not saying that was the one moment of luck I was looking for on this round. I was trying to just hit it through the gap with a 5-iron, with a couple of little plants with a pretty thick body that I didn't know how the ball was going to come out. I was just hitting it short of the cart path. I just made a swing as hard as I could. And somehow the ball went under the first tree, rose just over the next one in a gap about this big, didn't hit anything, and went through to a hundred yards. I don't know what happened. I think either Seve, God, someone right there or both of them, I think, just made a gap in the trees and made my ball go through right there. I'm pretty sure that's what happened. Or maybe I just willed the ball through. I really don't know. One of those two things happened.

Once that ball was on the fairway, it was a tough shot, it was an uphill shot. The ball was in an extra uphill into the wind. I was just trying to hit it inside 15 feet if I could, I gave myself a chance. I hit a good shot, a gust of wind came, blew the ball a little bit to right and gave it extra spin and ended up being a 25, 30-footer. Luckily for me I had practiced that putt on the practice round. I did hit that putt and I knew from 30 feet, it was about right center, which is hard to aim to. I knew it was going to drift right and then back left. I was focused on giving it a good roll and having a chance. And probably the highlight of the year besides the 18 at Torrey Pines, that putt went in and gave me hopes for almost the first time on the back nine that I could win it on 18.

Q. You're playing at Shell next week?
JON RAHM: Yeah, I'm playing.

Q. How do you think that's going to be a tune up before the Masters, and how does this fight back help your confidence going to the Masters?
JON RAHM: Well, it's a match play tournament, it's completely different than the Masters is going to play. It gives me confidence. It shows me that I can compete with someone like DJ and any other player, even if I had probably one of my worst front nines possible.

If anything, it's just all positives. I'm probably going to learn a lot from this week. I'll try to remember all the good stuff I've done on the back nine in the previous days. Winning two matches, one on 13 and one on 14, obviously I did something right. And keep positive. I remember that I've only lost the last match.

And unfortunately for me today was the worst day I've played golf all week. Knowing that had I played good, I might have had a chance to win. Things like that. Just stay positive. And knowing from now on, anytime I step on that tee I'm confident enough that I can win a tournament.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Jon, thanks for your time, we really appreciate it.

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