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November 14, 2017

Jon Rahm

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Jon, welcome to Dubai. First time in Dubai, your first DP World Tour Championship. Very warm welcome here. You won't get a cold welcome here, but a very warm welcome.

We have Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of The European Tour, at the top table to start us off today to make a very special presentation to Jon. Over to you, Keith.

KEITH PELLEY: Sure. Thanks, Gibbo. I'll be very brief so you can carry on with Jon's news conference, but I do want to, while I'm here introduce a very special guest, Mr. Rahm, Jon's father is here, that I had the great privilege of playing in a Pro-Am with Jon in Ireland --

JON RAHM: France.

KEITH PELLEY: France. And we walked the golf course together, and Mr. Rahm is an incredible athlete who is a free rock climber. So if you get a chance, do talk to Mr. Rahm. It's a wonderful story.

So delighted to be here. Today we are here to crown Jon as The European Tour Rookie of the Year. He now sits fourth in The Race to Dubai. Obviously incredibly successful season. Was the champion in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. Won it in great style. Incredible shot, what hole was that when you holed out?


KEITH PELLEY: Unbelievable. And I'd like to make REFERENCE to the way that the Spanish newspaper market ascribed him, "That's the way Seve would have won," and that's what the headline was the following day.

So incredibly proud and privileged that not only you are here, but you've joined The European Tour, and congratulations on The European Tour Rookie of the Year, Jon.

JON RAHM: Thank you very much.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Okay. Normal business. So, Jon, welcome. Thoughts on being named Rookie of the Year.

JON RAHM: Well, it's a very, very satisfying feeling, what can I say.

I mean, if you have told me at the beginning of the year I would be sitting here: Fourth in The Race to Dubai, playing the way I've done in the Rolex Series, becoming Player of the Year, when I wasn't even a member at the beginning of the year, it's a really special feeling. I haven't checked the names of the people that won this, but I did see Sam Torrance, and I'm guessing a lot of other great names joining.

It's just a huge honour to be sitting here in this position at this time of the year. I'm really happy and I'm really blessed that I have this opportunity and that I'm able to accomplish this award. It's something I'm really proud of.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Just some quick comments, perhaps on the golf course. You've had a look at it in the last few days.

JON RAHM: It's a golf course I've looked at on TV many, many times. With the lines of this golf course, I never understood how they shot so low every single time.

I do feel like it's Augusta-like greens, but it's kind of a little different. But the fact that they are big greens but they are all small areas. If you hit the shot to the correct area and you have a pretty doable putt, if you hit the wrong place on the green, you're going to have a hard time making a 2-putt.

So I it's a great golf course. It really suits me, especially off the tee, because I can free-wheel it a little bit. I can get to the tee and hit it as hard as I can. Those extra yards are always an advantage, but on a course like this where position to the green is very important. It's a huge advantage and that's probably why ball-strikers like Rory and Stenson have had huge success here. Hopefully I can end the year the same way I started it.

Q. Do you actually feel like a rookie?
JON RAHM: Yeah, I mean, what else would I feel like.

Q. You've gone up to the top five in the world. You seem to have just made such rapid strides.
JON RAHM: I don't think my play has anything to do because anywhere I go, it's the first time I've been there. Everything's new to me. That's why I feel like a rookie. Every city, every place I go to, every course is brand new for me. It's a brand new experience.

Yeah, I do, I do feel like a rookie.

Q. Have you surprised yourself with how quickly and how rapidly you've progressed?
JON RAHM: Yeah, I mean, I feel like it's a question I answer every single week. Never in a million years I would have expected what I've done this year, and to accomplish what I've accomplished and to be at the position I'm sitting at in every aspect.

Top five in the world, fifth in the FedExCup, fourth in The Race to Dubai, third most of the year, Rolex Series champions, Torrey Pines champion, playing the way I've played, I would have never foreseen this at all. Maybe I would have hoped for it but maybe I wouldn't have believed I would be able to accomplish all this.

So yeah, I'm really, really proud of what's happened this year, and hopefully -- I know it's hard to keep it going, but hopefully I can keep it going.

Q. Why has it happened?
JON RAHM: Why? I don't know (laughter). I don't know. I feel like every star, planet or anything that needs to be aligned for me to accomplish all this has been aligned. I really don't know why. It's just, who knows. I've got myself in a lot of situations where I could get something done every week, a lot of tournaments, so that's why I finished a lot of high finishes. I would just say preparation.

I've been getting mentally ready for this for my rookie year for a very long time, and like a few others, I would be able to have a really successful rookie year. I just hope this is not the highlight of my career.

Q. So on that point, how do you reset your goals for next year then?
JON RAHM: Same way I've always done it. I mean, in not the same way, but somewhat the similar feeling is my third year in college, right. The year I went to No. 1 in the world, I won four times and I won the Ben Hogan and I got asked a couple times, what's next, right; if you stay in college, what's going to be next year.

I reassessed my goals and I had an even better final year. So just keep doing what I've done till now. Once this week's over and the season is over, just reevaluate and get ready for next year.

Q. Will you play this same similar schedule next year or would you play more in Europe to try and get in The Ryder Cup team?
JON RAHM: I don't know, I haven't set it. I've been having a hard time with being able to set a schedule, when I get enough break to be able to rest and play my best golf towards the end of the year, especially be rested toward the majors which is where you want to peak. I haven't really looked too much into it yet. I have six weeks off where I'll be thinking about that. Hopefully I can give you an answer after that.

Q. Just wonder, what's been the reaction in your hometown to all of success?
JON RAHM: I haven't been there yet, I don't know. The only week I was able to be in Spain was after Ireland and I was in the south of Spain trying to practise for The Open Championship. You can ask my dad and my friends better than you can ask me about that question, really. They keep telling me. I can't imagine what the reaction has been, but it's been -- I can think it's big, but I really don't know. I really can't tell.

Q. When will you be going home then?
JON RAHM: Christmas. I always spend three weeks in December.

Q. It's going to be some kind of fun event tonight, hitting into the water, rather than away from the water at the Hero Challenge. How do you look at such new events?
JON RAHM: It's a little different. Nothing happens if you hit it in the water; it's a little different. I'm excited because I've always seen those videos on Facebook and Twitter and the Hero Challenge and last year what happened with the fire going on. I'm just excited that I'm one of the players considered to be a participant in that. It's eight of us, so, yeah, to be one of the eight doing something like that, it's always something special. It's a great resort, but I hope I win that, too.

Q. How much do these events help in popularising golf as The European Tour hopes or expects to?
JON RAHM: Like the Hero Challenge?

Q. Yes.
JON RAHM: I think they are great and The European Tour does a great job of that, with all those videos they make, they are really more funny than anything else, right.

I remember Dodo Molinari making the 500 shots to make a hole-in-one; the heckler's video. I always think it's so smart when they do that because they show a different aspect of the game. It's not always 100 per cent concentrated the whole time. They show how much fun it can be to play the sport and how much fun some of the players are. It shows the reason why we do this, which is, you know, the enjoyment of the game.

I think it's really important. I hope they keep things like this going, and I hope I can participate in many more. You know, it catches your eye and hopefully it gets a lot more kids and a lot more people interested in golf.

Q. Huge success and a lot of different things happened this year, but give us one thing that sticks out in your mind now about the year.
JON RAHM: Anything?

Q. What will you learnt?
JON RAHM: What have I learned. Well, I mean, it's a hard question to answer. It's such a broad term.

I think I keep repeating myself, but I think I kind of answered that earlier about the major championships. Just making sure you're rested when it comes to those weeks. I think it's important to learn what the magic formula is for you.

You have players like Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus who never played the week before a major. They practised and they rested. You have players like Phil who plays every week before the major because he thinks it's going to help him play better.

You know, every player has a formula and I think finding that formula is one of the most critical things when it comes to major championships, and after one year I still don't know what my formula is. I haven't played my best golf in the majors, and you know, hopefully what I'm doing next year, which is resting the week before in most of them helps out.

I think finding that formula is the No. 1 thing I take from this year and I've learned.

Q. Speaking about the majors, do you think there's one particular major that gives you a better chance of winning it first, anything that suits you?
JON RAHM: You know, one of them never changes venues and I do like Augusta. I think it fits my game. But I mean, I also like the U.S. Open-style golf course, and I like The Open Championship. Last time I got to a links course and I said I never played my best golf, and I ended up winning by six strokes. I really can't tell you, I don't know.

Q. So you hate the US PGA; you can be honest (laughter).
JON RAHM: Well, I've played one, Quail Hollow, which was a really tough test for all of us. It's the one that changes the style of golf course the most, so that's why I feel like it just depends on the week. Because you go from Whistling Straits to places like Quail Hollow to places like Oakland Hills. This is the difference in the variety of golf courses we play, so different, and I feel like it's just dependent on the course and the week.

When it comes to the U.S. Open, for the most part, it's always the same style golf course. The Masters is always the same and The Open Championship is always the same style. There's three of them, you know what you can expect compared to what the PGA is going to offer. That's why I left it out there because it just depends on the week.

Out of the other three, I feel like I'm capable of winning all three of them. The one I can tell you I want to win the most would be The Open Championship.

Q. You mentioned the U.S. Open. This year it was on a completely different kind of golf course for the U.S. Open. Would you prefer a tight-fairway style U.S. Open that's more traditional?
JON RAHM: I love traditional golf. When you think of a U.S. Open, that's what you envision. You envision Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines, Oakmont, Winged Foot. There's so many golf courses, you know, narrow fairways, thick rough, fast greens. That's what you envision; at least that's what I envision.

They took a gamble with Chambers Bay and Erin Hills, and it might have worked out in the way they want it to work out, but I know the next few years it's going to be coming back to traditional, Shinnecock, you have Torrey Pines again, Pebble Beach coming up. So looking forward to that. But I do like those traditional golf courses a little better.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Let's break from tradition a little bit, Jon, and go to Facebook for a couple of questions.

Q. Most enjoyable aspect of playing on The European Tour?
JON RAHM: The most enjoyable aspect of playing on The European Tour? I would say the exotic places you get to visit.

You know, I haven't been able to go to all those Philippines and India and South Africa. You get to come to Dubai and to some other great places. I think that's the most enjoyable part of it.

Q. And a question from Tyler. How do you deal with pressure?
JON RAHM: Pressure? I mean, there are different kind of pressure. I hope he's talking of pressure down the stretch, on the back end of a golf tournament.

I don't know, I just like it. I like feeling the weight on my shoulders. I like feeling that special emotion when everything just matters so much. I like that. That's what you practise for. That's when you know the tournament -- you are in contention in a tournament.

I just feel like I like it so much and I stick to my routine; that that's why I deal with it.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Thank you very much. Wish you well this week.

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