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October 25, 2017

Jon Rahm

Shanghai, China

CLARE BODEL: Welcome to Shanghai, Jon. Jon Rahm is here with us today, making his debut at the World Golf Championships in Shanghai. Jon is world No. 5 and the highest-ranked European.

So, Jon, how has it been so far? Have you had a chance to have a look at the course, and are you looking forward to your first run out here?

JON RAHM: Well, I think I've said many times what I think of my year. You know, unbelievable year. Not many players get to say this, but I accomplished a lot more than I set my mind to at the beginning of the year. It's very special and I'm blessed to be in the position that I am in today.

I accomplished a lot of goals that weren't in my mind at the beginning of the year, such as Top-10 in the world, European Tour Member, winning on The European Tour. There are many things that I set my mind to that I ended up doing.

Just excited to be here in China. It's a great country. Shanghai, it's a beautiful city. I'm glad I got to go downtown to see what they have done. It really is beautiful, and I can't wait for the tournament to get started.

The course is in great shape. Beautiful course. I think it suits my game well, so hopefully I can play good.

Q. Does the belief it takes to win, can you teach that, or do you just have to have it inherently?
JON RAHM: I think in my case, I think I was born with it. So I'm not so sure about learning.

I mean, I believe you can teach anybody anything. I think the belief to win, it just comes with self-confidence, and it can be taught and can be learned through practice. You need to get to the situation and be done. I believe it can't be learned but a lot of times it's hard to believe in yourself before you accomplish anything.

It's hard to believe that you can do something without accomplishing, and that's when it gets tricky. I think luckily, I was born with it, and I'm blessed to have it in my soul. I think it's a mixture of competitiveness and self-belief, and just, you know, a hopeful mind-set and positive mind-set. I believe it's a mixture of many things.

Q. As you've said, you achieved so much in the past year. Is this the logical next step on the upward curve, first a World Golf title, and then looking at the majors next year?
JON RAHM: I mean, I don't know what the next logical thing would be. I'm pretty new to this, to this situation.

But I mean, I'm sure it's something in my mind. I mean, I can't say exactly what's the logical thing, but it's certainly something I want to do.

To be honest, I haven't started my process with next year yet just because The European Tour hasn't finished yet. My mind-set is this week and Dubai, and after that, I will think on my goals for next year.

I mean, do I want to win them? Yeah. That's on obvious yes.

Q. After such a busy year, how much is left in the tank?
JON RAHM: I don't know. Like I said, being my first year, I didn't expect to play as much and to the quality of golf that I've played, and the intensity.

So I really don't know how much is left. I hope last week doesn't mean that I'm running out of gas this time of year, but if I am, I have a two-week break coming up before Dubai, so hopefully that helps out just for that week, and trying to enjoy some deserved rest.

Q. Doug was talking about will to win. As a child before you played golf, were you very obviously competitive? I mean, did your parents think you were a very competitive child?
JON RAHM: Extremely competitive. Anything with anybody. To be honest, as a younger kid, I did not handle losing well, just because of how competitive I am. I don't know, like I told earlier on, if you can learn this or you're just born with it; there's something about me and losing that I just don't enjoy whatsoever, anything.

Q. Did you have this situation with your brothers or sisters? Who did you want to beat as a kid, and at what?
JON RAHM: Oh, definitely. My and my brother got into it many times because we were so competitive. But for six years, he had me for awhile, which didn't help my case.

But when it comes to golf, I grew up playing against my dad and other kids; whoever I was playing, no matter how bad or good the other person was, losing in my mind is not an option. It's just, I don't like it. I don't enjoy it. I don't like the feeling of it. And I don't focus on it.

I focus on winning. I guess I'm just hard-wired: When I like doing something, I like doing it the best I can. I don't think in failure. I try to look towards the success, and that's where I think it comes from, the competitiveness.

I love the feeling of competition, and I love the little butterflies when you compete and you're in the moment to win, and you have a chance. It's just, you know, it's probably why I don't enjoy losing.

You know, I don't like losing as much as I enjoy winning. It's just like, you know, that's the way it goes in my head.

Q. I appreciate that you don't like losing, but you've chosen a sport where you lose a lot.

Q. How do you keep from going crazy?
JON RAHM: I think we know -- well, it depends on how you look at golf. You can't look at every tournament as a loss because it's not a head-to-head challenge. As times you play a tournament where you are not driving good that week or your or your iron game is off or something is really off, and you still put in a really good performance. You can take that as a win.

There's so many ways to look at it. You know, if it's -- I feel like if that -- no matter what, whether you win or lose, if you win a tournament or not, if you learn and you get something about it which is going to make you a better player or a better person, that's a win for me, if you get something out of it.

When it's a week where you don't get anything out of it and you actually go a step back, that's a loss. So if you look at it that way, in my case this year, I've won a lot more times than I've lost. You know, there is losses, but out of those losses, you learn how to keep making those weeks worth it.

It's just if you look at it the way it is, right, we can think of Tiger with the best winning percentage ever. He was 30 percent, which in golf terms, it's amazing. When it comes to other sport, it's not good as all. Compared to tennis, for example, Rafa or Roger this year, the winning percentage must be close to the 90s, right.

If it was a head-to-head challenge and every week was a match play tournament, I'm pretty sure it would be different. We could talk about it differently. But being, I believe, the only sport where it's yourself and 130 other players, if you take every week as a lost week, it could be hard. There's always something good about it and you can always count it as a win whenever you want to. That's the way I like to think about it.

Q. Just based on that, I was kind of curious before you answered that, what would have been the hardest loss for you this year. I have to wonder if it wasn't Austin.
JON RAHM: No, not at all. No, because I learned a lot on that week. I was 5-down on 9 tee against the best player in the world and I took it to 18. Had it not been for that bounce on 18 or the gust on 17, maybe we could be talking different things right now.

I think the loss in my case, even though I learned a lot from that week, it could be the U.S. Open. Not my best golf to be honest, not my best behavior, which I've regretted and apologised for many times but I have learned from that. I believe I've become a better person and I've got a better handle on myself. Out of that moment on my life, and my career, I went -- took a week off, learned from it, won in Europe, finished 10th and then won.

I think from those steps back that you take, if you can get some strength and walk forward a little faster. There's certainly some losses. We can maybe count México as one. I thought I was doing better and finished bogey, bogey, par to lose the tournament wasn't a great feeling. It was a lot different than the match play. I think match play a lot of people had me as dead very early in the round.

But again, I think it's impressive the fact that I can only think of three moments that I count as losses and out of those three moments, maybe only one would be a true loss. The other two, I got something out of. I learned from them. I improved.

So it's not -- I could sit here and think about it and give you some examples, but like I say, I don't focus too much on the negative.

Q. The question is, since you had your college year in the United States and then right after you graduated from college, you turned pro to go on the PGA TOUR. How much do you feel that in your blood, that has the American taste, 50 percent? 40 percent? Because in China, a lot of golf lovers, they tend to look at players outside of China, maybe they are more American-style or more European-style. So in that case, how would you describe yourself and your style of play, more American, more European, or what's your take on that?
JON RAHM: Well, since I play most of the year on the PGA TOUR, I mean, my style is predominately, I would say American. I try to hit it hard off the tee and high all throughout. But I was raised in Europe. I know how to play that golf. I can go back on my game and keep the ball low and hit those half shots and control the ball flight.

I just, I don't know, I think since I live in the States more, I play that one more often. But I would say it's 50/50 just because I know how to play both of them. I grew up playing European golf for 18 years, and then I played American golf for the last five.

So luckily for me, I've learned how to hit the ball both ways and I can try to compete in both ways and that kind of helps out when the weather gets bad. I believe that's why I believe I've had success on The European Tour and on the PGA TOUR both ways, because I can adapt to the kind of golf. Bowl.

CLARE BODEL: Thank you, good luck this week.

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