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November 19, 2017

Jon Rahm

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

NEIL AHERN: Many, many congratulations. How does it feel to be the DP World Tour Champion?

JON RAHM: It's a very special feeling. I've been saying in the interviews after the round, I've been saying it all week, what I've done this year, especially on The European Tour from no member, nothing, to an affiliate to European Tour Champion to actually be Rolex Series Champion and to now twice Rolex Series Champion and winner of the DP World Tour Championship, it's something unbelievable.

When you accomplish something in life, it's always a great feeling. When you do something that you had in mind, but you know, not really, wasn't a goal at the end of the year and you accomplished something that was years down the road, is just such an incredible feeling. It's like, you know, when you have kind of like an errands list and you finish two hours before, it's a very similar feeling. It's very, very special.

I'm extremely honoured and humbled to join my name to the winners of this event: Lee Westwood, Robert Karlsson, Alvaro Quiros, Henrik Stenson, Rory, Matthew, I mean, they are all great players. Some of them European Tour legends. It's just great to just join that and get my chance to put my name on that great trophy. It's a great feeling.

NEIL AHERN: There was a lot happening around you on the golf course, but you seemed to keep your cool completely. Can you tell us about the emotions of the whole day.

JON RAHM: You know, I was a little anxious before teeing off for whatever reason. I really wanted to win. I really wanted to finish strong. I had not been in contention really since New York in the FedExCup.

So I really wanted it really bad, and I couldn't calm down going out to the course. But you know, it was a great start on the front nine. I played good golf. Just putts weren't dropping. It's just things that happened. I was 16-under and Rosey was 19-under and I birdied 10, I'm like, okay, this is a good moment, followed by about three or four horrible iron shots. 11, 12, 13 were all pretty not good.

But I managed to make pars. Made a couple good par putts that always keep the round going. When I got to 14, made that birdie putt and I saw Rosey had bogeyed something, I don't know what hole he bogeyed but was tied for the lead.

So I went from struggling to being tied for the lead. I was like, four holes to go, birdie opportunities, let's see if we can get a couple. Didn't get it on 15, although I thought I made it and after the lucky bounce on 16, I took advantage of it. You can rarely have a straight putt from ten feet for birdie on this golf course but somehow I had it today on 16. Made it.

Great up-and-down on 17 and the 18th hole I felt like par was going to be enough. I was never too stressed. I never got ahead of myself. Kept my composure and kept playing and hoped to have a birdie opportunity, which I did on 14 and I knew that was going to take care of the rest.

Q. A couple of questions. Your score, if you really look at your scorecard, all came in the last 45 holes. I think you were 18 or 19-under just the last 45 holes of the tournament. What happened after the first 27 holes? And secondly, did you have any pressure on yourself because you have just played three tournaments on The European Tour and you are considered a frontrunner now for The European Tour Ryder Cup spot; did that ever come to your mind that you needed to show the Tour, the people in Europe, that you really deserve to be here?
JON RAHM: I mean, did anybody say I didn't deserve to be here? No, I didn't have that in mind. In The Ryder Cup, it's something out of my mind this week; it's so far away.

I think more than proving anybody else, it's proving to myself that I belong here. I think that was more important. I can't tell you what happened on the first 27 holes. It's not like I played bad. It's just I felt like every mistake I made, every bad shot, led to a bogey which is going to be costly here, and that back nine, I had on Friday, you know, that back nine was great.

I played really, really good golf and I got fortunate to make a few good putts and that's what got everything going. Yesterday I played one of the best ball-striking rounds I've ever had. There's not many times where you play a golf course like this and you finish a round, you shoot 65, 7-under and you're two off the lead and you feel like, man, I could have shot a lot lower today based on how I played. That's how good I played yesterday.

Today was a little bit of the opposite. I didn't hit it that good compared to the other days, but I kept my composure, didn't make mistakes, had no bogeys, five birdies. I just hoped I was going to have my chances, and that's what happened. The other days, I played knowing I needed the birdies.

Like I said, you know, there's sometimes when you believe things and you want things to happen but when you actually achieve them, winning the Tour championship, the DP World Tour Championship, is one of them. It changes the whole perspective. It's the last tournament of the year. There's no more; there's no next week. There's 2018.

To get it done the last week, you know, I don't know if it shows anybody else or not, but it does prove to myself that I belong to be here. I belong to be on The European Tour and I belong to be on the PGA TOUR. It's a great week for me mentally in that sense. You know, hopefully it reinforces my position to maybe be considered for The Ryder Cup next year.

Q. We talked about this on Tuesday, so the answer is probably going to be the same. But you're now up to No. 4 in the world, you've won three times this year. How do you top this in 2018?
JON RAHM: I mean, getting higher up than No. 4, hopefully more wins. I don't know, I don't know to be honest. I'm a really ambitious person.

So in my mind, you know, this is my first year; I know it's going to be hard to top my first year because it's a really, really good first year. In fact, it's a really good year in general, period.

I know it's going to be hard to top it but like I said, I'm going to finish. I'm going to take a couple days off. I'm going to work with my mental coach, reassess the year, what I've done really good, what I've done really bad and see what I've done and set my goals for next year.

Hopefully I can keep playing like this and hopefully I can win again next year, keep going, maybe coming out to this tournament with a chance of actually winning The Race to Dubai. It didn't feel good to mathematically have no chance to win it. Hopefully I can play better and actually have a chance.

Q. Will we definitely see you on a few more European Tour events hopefully next year?
JON RAHM: I mean, I'll try. It's just hard to be honest. You know, having to combine both tours and the start of the year on the West Coast and the PGA TOUR being so close to the home for me, being defending champion at Torrey Pines, it's just going to be hard to go away from that and come here.

We still haven't set the schedule. I really don't know. So that's something I'm going to look at. I'm going to try to come to Europe. I love coming to Europe, clearly. I have success in Europe and I want to keep coming, have lot of fun and hopefully keep playing good golf.

Q. How aware were you of the battle that was going on between the other two, between Justin and Tommy?
JON RAHM: I mean, quite frankly, I think I had enough to be worried about this week.

I was aware. When I saw Tommy in the scoring tent looking at the TV, I didn't know what he shot today or what he was standing at, and I knew Rosey had fallen back a couple spots. So I didn't know what the difference was or what Rosey needed to do or not, but I know that could be pretty nerve-wracking for Tommy.

Those 30 minutes must have felt eternal. You know, it's not great when you're just waiting and your fate is in someone else's hands. It's not the greatest feeling, especially as golfers. You want to be in control of your own destiny. It's hard to be in Tommy's position.

But man, I mean, what to say? Tommy has played great golf all year. He's really, really earned The Race to Dubai champion; as Rosey would have been, to win back-to-back tournaments, go to China, to win from eight shots back, and to go to Turkey and win. It's really hard to win back-to-back.

Congrats to what they have done, both of them. Rosey, that battle with Sergio at the Masters, playing great and this late run at The Race to Dubai, they are both great players. We all know how good Rosey is and I think we are just about to find out how good Tommy Fleetwood is. Just hope to congratulate both of them and nothing but the best for them in the future.

NEIL AHERN: Thank you very much. Many congratulations again.

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