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June 27, 2017

Jon Rahm

Paris, France

STEVE TODD: Jon, welcome to the HNA Open de France, and indeed, welcome to The European Tour. It's great to have you on board. Give us your sense of excitement starting out on your journey on the our even tour this week.

JON RAHM: I'd like to say my journey on The European Tour started in México, although it is the first time I'm playing a European Tour event in Europe, right. I'm obviously very excited for many possible reasons.

This is probably one of the best golf courses I've ever played. I played it when I was 14, 15 years old in the European Young Masters in 2009 and it's changed quite a bit since then, and so have I, so I really wanted to come back. Being one of the Rolex Series events, being one of the most important events of the year, I wanted to come here and hopefully show my support and try and play as best as I can.

Q. How did you do?
JON RAHM: Well, individual, I can't remember where I finished. But as a team we finished in third place. We got the Bronze Medal.

Q. Your impressions of the course?
JON RAHM: Well, it's totally different because I hit it different but the course is in perfect shape. It's obviously a beautiful course. It's a great design. It's challenging in every aspect. You do hit almost every single club in the bag and courses that make you do that are really fun to play. I mean, I can't thing of anything bad to say about the golf course. It really is amazing.

Q. How do you feel your game shapes up for this course?
JON RAHM: Well, I usually like hitting drivers off the tee, but I'm not going to be able to this week. But I like it. I like traditional golf courses where they make you think and hit every club in the bag.

My game feels pretty good, so hopefully I can keep it in the fairway this week, which is something very important and something to keep in mind for the next few events I'm going to play leading up to The Open. I'm a believer that you need to fit the course instead of the course fitting you, and I think I can adapt pretty well.

Q. Obviously you're thinking about this week but did your mind drift to The Ryder Cup and what it will be like here and what sort of course it would be for The Ryder Cup?
JON RAHM: Well, my mind drifted to The Ryder Cup, let's say about ten years ago. But yeah, when I played here, it was Ryder Cup and 2018 was already set, and I said, I want to be there. And to come here and play here and to have a chance to be there next year, it's more realistic and it's like a dream come true.

Hopefully I can keep my game up and hopefully I will be able to represent Europe, my first Ryder Cup in Europe in a great city like Europe and Versailles, and so close to Spain where hopefully I'll be able to get some support. I really can't describe how it will feel but I know it will be a pretty amazing feeling. I'm excited to try to play my best golf to make that dream come true.

Q. It's a year this week when you made your debut as a pro to the week, when you made your debut at Quicken Loans?
JON RAHM: A year ago and a week.

Q. What was your plan then as regards The European Tour and all of that?
JON RAHM: Well, I didn't have the luxury to have long-term goals at that point. So I really had my mind-set in the next six events I was able to play. I knew I had to play my best golf possible. They were really good events and I had to get a minimum amount of money to be able to get my Tour card. I didn't know my first event I was going to play that good and get my spot in The Open Championship which was huge.

Little did I know in the first four starts, the first three, I was going to have my card set. I didn't know it was going to happen that fast and that's what allowed me to change a little of the thinking process. I was on the PGA Tour and I had my card, so I didn't have to go to the Web.com or a qualifier which was good, and then I started setting up my schedule.

Then once I hit January and I win at Torrey Pines, everything changed again. I got into all the WGCs and majors, so I had to reschedule everything around those tournaments and luckily for me, winning that opened up the possibility of being able to join The European Tour and play here in Europe.

Q. What a year.
JON RAHM: Yeah, I've been amazing myself. I felt like if I stopped to think about what I was doing, I was going to miss something else. It was a little bit quicker than I thought to do everything, but I'm glad it worked out that way and I'm glad I'm able to play in Europe. I mean, years before I thought I would be able to play.

Q. Have you had a chance to sit back and reflect on what you've done?
JON RAHM: I try, but it's hard. I haven't really stopped since January and it's such a long trip, and something that is going to take a toll on me and I'm not going to be rested for my next event. I try to take a week here and there but until October, November, December, I'm not going to be able to spend some good time at home.

Q. How is this different from the PGA TOUR courses you play all year long?
JON RAHM: Well, I did grow up in Europe, so really I'm used to it. I would say there's a lot of golf courses on the PGA TOUR, there's a lot of traditional golf courses, like let's say Colonial, TPC Sawgrass. All the golf courses that are more similar to this, there's more strategy involved. You don't necessarily have to hit driver everywhere.

But the good thing of playing in Europe, there is a lot of shots to the imagination, especially around the green. Usually the PGA TOUR, you hit it as hard as you can, try to hit it high to get it to the green and if you miss the green, automatically it's a lob-wedge you need to hit it high and soft to roll it to the green.

This course, much like other European courses, when you miss the green, you have many opportunities. You can three, four or five clubs to hit different shots and to end up in the same spot. So that's the beauty of this. It leaves a lot more to the imagination, especially around the greens.

Q. You played quite a bit with Rory, Sergio and Rafa in recent months. I was wondering if you asked them anything about what life is like on The European Tour or if you had any discussions with them by making a schedule.
JON RAHM: Well, I didn't really have many discussions of my schedule, because each one really what they can. I did ask about, let's say, the Dubai and Abu Dhabi early on in the year because the West Coast Swing on the PGA TOUR something I really like, and I play good golf, but I also would like to play some of those European Tour events and I was asking about that.

Mainly I asked Rafa and Sergio a lot about -- because I played more with them, about how much the traveling -- how much traveling they do on The European Tour. Because in the States, unless you go to Hawai'i, you're never going to have more than a four-hour flight.

Here, sometimes you need to go, you know, you play in Dubai and then you go to Hong Kong and then you go to South Africa and then you go to Australia. And like nonstop. Even Pep, I was talking to Pep Angles, and he told me he can't remember how many Sundays he's finished and he's had a 36-hour travel to the next tournament, to get there Monday night and then go practise on Tuesday. I can't imagine how lucky I am to not have to go through that.

I was lucky -- I thought I was lucky to not have to go to Web.com and Q-School or Challenge Tour but not having to go through something like that, finishing a tournament and having at most a four-hour flight to the next tournament is something that I feel really privileged to have. I hope I can play more in Europe, but not playing tournaments like that where I'm going to be flying around the world week-in and week-out.

Q. When is the last time you played a 72-hole event in Europe?
JON RAHM: Well, must be the British Amateur in Royal Portrush or the Spanish Amateur. I think the Spanish Amateur is later. Yeah, it must be the Spanish Amateur in 2015, I think. I'm not sure. I played as a pro, though -- as an amateur. That can count, as well.

Q. How do you think you can adapt to British golf?
JON RAHM: Like I said, I think you need to suit yourself to the golf course. Jack Nicklaus didn't have to deal with, let's say, British golf or Open golf, but when he came here -- and Seve, Seve was the furthest thing from Open golf and he managed to win three times.

I think it's understanding your game and knowing what you're capable of and being able to scramble to get up-and-down. I mean, you know, Phil Mickelson, being someone who is not a stereotype of a European type of golf but he managed to play good and win at Muirfield, not the easiest one to win.

Right now after five years in the States, my game is a little different to what British golf might ask for, but I do believe I can adapt to it.

Q. Away from the golf, are you one to explore the cultural experiences away from the golf courses? Will you make a trip into Paris and see some sites and explore?
JON RAHM: We came early, that's what we did Saturday afternoon and Sunday. I have been in Paris before, but obviously we did the usual Eiffel Tower. We went to the Eiffel Tower at night because I had not seen it at night, and the next day we went to the Louvre and spent quite a bit of time there, Notre Dame, the Pantheon, Arc de Triomphe, many things I can think of.

We did as much as we could in a day and a half. I mean, if I had time to do it now, during the week, I would go. But with traffic and everything, it can be a little hard to have enough time to do anything. If I could, I would, though. I did when I go see the Palace, and the hotel is right next to it, so I will be able to walk one of those nights, so it's something I'm looking forward to.

Q. Just for a change, do you like frog's legs? If not, maybe you have to get used to it for thinking about next year.
JON RAHM: Yeah, we have it in Bilbao, too.

Q. Oh, great. Good on you.
JON RAHM: I do love food, so there's very few things I haven't tried.

Q. A year ago you just turned pro and now you're one of the top players on the Rolex Series. Do you have sometimes to pinch yourself that it's been so fast for you?
JON RAHM: It's what I said, I can't believe it. Like if I feel like if I stop to think about it, I'm going to miss the next thing I'm going to do. It really is somewhat frightening because I don't know if I'm going to be able to improve next year. The expectations are going to be really high after this one. It's really faster than I ever could have imagined I would have done any of this.

Q. After winning at Torrey --
JON RAHM: Yeah, pretty much. I was playing pretty good golf before Torrey Pines and winning that tournament is what gave me confidence. After that, I felt like any time I tee it up, I was going to have a chance to win on Sunday. That's why I made a lot of top fives and tens in a row just because I felt, I had just won, so why wasn't I going to be able to win again and again.

But I know I was going to slow down at some point, and missing two cuts in a row kind of helped refocus a little bit and remember there's a lot of year left. Coming to Europe is a good thing for me. It's kind of a second start. It will be my first event on The European Tour and I think it's something I need to enjoy.

Q. What do you think of this golf course, and how does the event stand out in your opinion?
JON RAHM: Well, being a Rolex Series, it stands out a lot. I think it's a great thing it's doing for The European Tour, and I want to show as much support as I can, and I'll try to play as many as I can. Obviously I can't play all of them but I'll try.

The golf course, the golf course is really amazing. It's a great golf course. I think I used pretty much every single club in my bag and golf courses like that are really fun to play. It doesn't get boring. You'll hit driver and pitching wedge, driver and wedge on every hole -- I can't hit driver on every hole because I'm going to be in deep trouble.

Being able to hit 5-woods, 3-irons off the tee is what makes it fun. The really challenging par 5s, the really challenging par 3s and probably some of the best finishing four-hole stretch I've ever seen or will ever see. So it really is an overall golf course and it's really, really fun to play.

STEVE TODD: Many thanks for joining us and we wish you well this week.

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