home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


July 9, 2017

Jon Rahm

Portstewart, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Jon, many, many congratulations, Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Champion. It has got a very sweet ring to it and this is going to be a nice press conference.

Before we get going, Jon is keen to clear up the ruling that went on earlier with Andy, so I'm just going to hand the microphone to Jon to start us off on that.

JON RAHM: I'm going to do this before you guys ask me because I know it's coming.

Basically what happened on No. 6, I'm going to tell you guys all I know. Daniel putted it, ended up a foot and a half just right of the hole. I hit my putt, ended up on the same exact ball his ball ended up. So his marker was what I was going to mark it.

So what I did to make it faster, because it was raining, I put it on the side of my ball, knowingly. I put it on the side of my ball. I know it's a little suspicious sometimes but I knowingly did it. I moved my marker so it was not in the way of Daniel's and put it back, and when I replaced my ball I thought it was in the same exact spot what I had picked it up. I really thought I had put it back on the same spot, and that was it for me. I didn't doubt myself twice.

Then Andy came and told me on 13 that they had had a couple of complaints that I had put the ball in a different spot, I had improved my lie or something like that. And that's when he told me, listen, this is what we saw. He did tell me, he didn't think I put it on the same exact spot, but he didn't think it was a big enough difference to make a big deal about it, to make anything about it.

I just told him my version. I told him, listen, Andy, I know, I did it on purpose. I put it on the side to not bother Daniel and to be able to put my mark as far away from his as possible, put it back and to my eyes, I put it exactly to the same spot it was. To my eyes, it was there, and that was it.

I told him, listen, if it's a penalty stroke, let me know now, I'll accept it. This is what I did. I did it. If it's not on the right spot, if it's a penalty stroke, let me know. He told me there's been a change in the rules. There's some room for -- there's some margins left on the rule now and it was left to interpretation. And that was the decision. I told him, right on the spot if it's a penalty stroke, let me know. But I haven't seen the footage yet, to my eyes, it was pretty much on the same spot what I put it.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Thank you for clearing that up, hopefully.

Start us off with pleased you are win this golf tournament.

JON RAHM: Well, it's really hard to explain right now. I know the trophy is right next to me and my name is going to be there for ever now, but it seems hard to believe that it's happened. It's kind of somewhat surreal. It's hard to explain. I just look at it and I see Nick Faldo, I see Jose Maria Olazabal, I see Nick Faldo again, I see Colin Montgomerie, Ian Woosnam, Seve. That's a great list of great -- and greatest European Tour players ever, and to have my name next to it, and the last one, Rory McIlroy, it's so special. Not just to win this event but to win it at the place I just won it, Portstewart, great golf course, with the fans supporting me better than I've ever seen anybody support me. It's been unbelievable.

What I said, I've never played my best golf. To actually play my best golf that I can remember till this day and shoot 24-under on this golf course and win it by six, man, that is not something I would have believed I was capable of. I learned a lot about myself and what I'm capable of, and it's a really, really special day.

Q. A lot of expectations on him (Seve) and on you now. How do you feel especially with The Open Championship coming up?
JON RAHM: Well, I haven't thought about it in the last hour. I know he won, this was his first -- actually his first pro event, I believe. One of his first and I know he won it. That's the reason why I'm taking a week off; if something like this happens.

You know, expectations can only affect you depending on what my personal expectations are. I've always had really high expectation s for myself otherwise I wouldn't be here right now. Otherwise I know there will be some attention. I've learned what I'm capable of and hopefully I'm going to go to that week trying to replicate a lot of things that I've done this week, and be as patient, as calm as I've been, and enjoy the week. I know I can play good links golf and I'm going to try to enjoy it as much as I can.

Q. You've won the PGA Tour earlier in the year and now you've won on The European Tour. I'm sure you're hoping the next one is possibly a major. But going into the British Open, the way you've played this week must give you great confidence.
JON RAHM: It is, yeah. I said at the beginning of the week, even before the tournament started, that I haven't played -- again, I haven't played my best golf on links golf courses. There was always something else. And to play the way I did here, it proves to me I can perform properly on a links golf course.

And that's what I've got to take to The Open. I know now that I have what it takes. Before that, there was a little bit of doubt in my mind but now I know that I have what it takes to win a tournament on a links golf course.

The Open Championship, it's a little different deal just because a major championship will be set up probably harder than this week was. But nevertheless, I know I can read the putts right, and I know I can interpret the wind and I can hit the shots and I can manage myself around the golf course properly enough to have a chance to win The Open.

Will that happen? I don't know. But I'm going to try to enjoy it as much as I've enjoyed this week.

Q. It was interesting to hear you say that the fans reacted well to you; that Seve Ballesteros is still very much a part of this Open. Can you tell us about when you were growing up, one quick line about Seve and how much he's responsible for inspiring you, or something along those lines?
JON RAHM: Well, kind of not directly but somewhat directly, probably indirectly, Seve is the reason why I'm sitting here today. If it wasn't for that Ryder Cup in Spain, my father would have never started to play golf. If he had never started, I would have never picked it up. Nobody in my family did up until Seve put it on the map in Spain with that Ryder Cup in '97, I believe.

He is the greatest ragtime (ph) a country can have. He broke so many barriers. He was told he couldn't do so many things. At my age, he won Augusta. He was the first European to win at Augusta. He won it twice. I mean, at the age of 20 and 21, he won The Open Championship. I mean, he would have been sitting right here as a two-time Major Champion, that's something unbelievable, even in those times. And to do it in the fashion that he did, he is such a role model for any aspect of the game, all we can do is try to emulate.

Nobody will ever be like Seve. Nobody will ever be like Seve, but we can try to pick and choose things from Seve. Not his driving; but things like his short game, his character, the way he brought people together, the way he transformed golf in Europe and worldwide. It's all things that we try to copy. It's really hard to do, but if we can do it in a small measure, it's worth it.

Q. The eagle hole-out, is that the best shot you hit and how much of a boost was it to the rest of your round?
JON RAHM: To choose the best shot I've ever hit -- I mean, it was clearly a turning point. It gave me a boost. After that hole-out, I said a couple of times, I considered that I did not miss a shot until 13 tee shot.

Pretty much every hole besides 11, I had a putt inside ten feet for birdie. On this golf course, that is good, with the wind that we had. I wouldn't say it was the greatest shot I've ever hit. I think still, my second shot off the fairway bunker at Torrey Pines on 13 was a better shot, even if I didn't make it. Just similar, right. It changed the trajectory of the whole round, and that shot was still pretty hard. But this one is up there. It's really close.

Q. You had a great rapport with the Irish supporters this week. Did I hear you say outside you intend to come back to defend your title next year, that's your intention?
JON RAHM: Why wouldn't I?

Q. Seve came back for years.
JON RAHM: I haven't played the Spanish Open, yet, but like I've said many times in the last hour, it will be really hard for the Spanish fans to top the Irish fans this week.

Even when I played with Rory, I had a massive amount of support. Maybe just because Rory didn't play at the level he wanted, didn't make the cut, I don't know, but still, I had a ton of support throughout the day. Even on the first tee, obviously Rory is going to get most of the attention but I got a bigger fan base than I expected on the first tee shot. I mean, before I did anything else. It was really incredible to see.

And I have to attribute part of my success, part of it to them. On my lows, they pick the up and on the good shots, they were even more excited than I expected. It's been amazing and I really fed off of that and played the way I did, partly because of that.

Q. What do you know about Ballyliffin next year?
JON RAHM: I will be. I know it's a little north, right, a little bit farther far north, just a little more rain.

So far I love the coast of northern Ireland. I was here two years ago, like I said, but I've had such a great time. I think it's a beautiful place. People are great, food is great, I really can't complain about anything. I'm sure the next golf course is going to be just as special as this one, so I would not miss that for the world.

Q. You speak with such respect about Seve. I know you're only 22 years of age, but do you ever look to see what legacy you would like to leave ahead, No. 1, best European player ever, that sort of thing?
JON RAHM: I've always said I want to be the best player I can be. That's my goal in golf. Try to be the best Jon, the best golfer I can become, without knowing what the limit is. Just like today, I did not know what I could do today and I did not know what I did this week, and surprises like this is what help a career lift, and hopefully I can keep it going like that.

But if I have the legacy close to Seve, even half of what Seve's was, I think I'll be really satisfied with my career.

Q. At the start of the week, you talked about moving your cool a little bit and how you intended not to lose your cool. Over the four days, was there any moment or moments where you had to put yourself in check and were you close to losing your cool?
JON RAHM: There was a couple moments the second day where I did stop myself, or maybe today I could have done a better job. I need to apologize. I feel bad for letting the club go on a couple tee shots, like 14 and 17. Even if I had a big lead, I was still focussed on the moment and I was still focussed on doing the best I can do. And the lead wasn't on my mind. I was just trying to get birdies, even if I had a big lead. It was just the way I was into the game.

Maybe I got a little more emotional than I would have taken it because in the back of mind, I was so happy that I was so close from being in this situation right now, and I let it get the best of me a little bit.

But the time I did those two, I had an eagle and a birdie, so I really can't complain much, because I did put myself in a good position again.

But that would be the time where maybe I almost lost it. Maybe partially because of the conversation I had on 13 about the ruling on 6. But still, I should have done a better job, just because it just looks foolish. I just felt a little stupid because I had a six-shot lead on 17. I should not have done that. It seems pretty childish when I'm leading a tournament by that much and I do that. It's something I need to learn from. First time I've been in this situation, and it won't happen again and I'm really sorry for doing it.

Q. I think you addressed most of it in the answer to the previous question, but just what pleases you most about your mental performance this week? What gave you the most satisfaction?
JON RAHM: Well, you know, probably this final round. I must admit, yesterday night and this morning, I was quite nervous, especially because of the weather. I had never been on the lead in a tournament before, and to be honest, even if I was 17-under, a links golf course, it's again when I haven't played my best and with the pressure maybe I was kind of nervous about what was going to happen.

But I was so proud of how I stayed in the moment step by step, from the first shot pretty much towards till end. Maybe towards the end when I had a seven-shot lead with three to play, I left myself go a little bit. Probably that's why I finished the way I finished. But that's the most proud I am.

I did, I talked to my mental coach, and I did a lot of work trying to stay in the moment, different exercises. We talked this morning and I followed that so properly. I was in the moment so much. I didn't think about scores at all. I mean, when I made the putt on 10 and I got to 12 tee, I look at the scoreboard and I'm like, oh, man, I'm 6-under for the round, I didn't even realise. I mean, I had no idea how far ahead I was. I was just so focussed on what I had to do, and that's why I played such quality golf besides a couple mistakes on the first few holes which is going to happen. But that's probably what I'm most proud of, how I stayed in the moment and kept my composure in this final round.

Q. Going back briefly to the rules thing, the interpretation that you talked about came in shortly after what happened to Lexi Thompson in April, the four-shot penalty. Kind of a stupid question in a sense, but do you think this is the right decision; that some common sense can be applied and that players aren't necessarily penalised for very minor mistakes possibly?
JON RAHM: I mean, when we're talking about putts that are a foot from the hole, it just seems so silly, because it's a put that's going to go in a hundred times out of a hundred. I mean, Lexi was leading that major championship and I was playing the way that I was playing. It's not like it's a putt from six feet to win the tournament and you're moving it three feet in front of you, right. It's such a small difference.

What happened with Lexi, it's clearly not intentional. She kind of goes on the side, and it's more sloppy than intentional, right. I'm pretty sure she wasn't trying to do that. She's winning the tournament; she doesn't need any more help. I think she's doing right.

Well, I know the rules changed, and I do believe that the Rules of Golf should leave a little bit to the interpretation, because it can't be exact every single time. Every situation is different and every moment is different, and the camera angle can always be something that might fool the eye. In my case today, I was aware of what I did, and I thought I put it back in the same spot. It's just golf.

Q. Do you think life would be a lot easier if you pros would tap-in these one-footers instead of marking everything?
JON RAHM: Well, when I have Daniel's marker right behind my ball, I can't do that. Otherwise I would have done it.

You know, whenever we can, and we're not going to bother the other line or we're not going to step on the other player's line and we feel comfortable, we do it. Just try to get out of the hole as soon as possible. The situation didn't call for, it otherwise I would have done it.

Q. Am I right in saying you're going to Spain next week? You feel like you need a break before now and The Open?
JON RAHM: Yeah, definitely. Especially now that I've won, I need to really focus. It's a major championship coming up; a little bit of rest and try to get my mind-set right and try to enjoy that week the same way I enjoyed this one.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: I'm sure it's been a fully-deserved break, Jon. Congratulations again.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297