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February 1, 2018

Jon Rahm

Scottsdale, Arizona

Q. (No Microphone.)
JON RAHM: It was a little frustrating on the front nine when I was hitting good shots and good putts and nothing was really getting close to going to birdie. But, yeah, that 4-iron on 3 and making that putt got everything going. My last six holes I played really good golf.

Q. You burst on to the scene here a number of years ago, top-5 finish as an amateur, you've really embraced the atmosphere here, obviously you went to school here, but today you put the head band on and all that, what about that is so cool from your perspective?
JON RAHM: I think it's just a lots of fun to be able to play with in front of this many people. It's the closest we get to other sports when we get cheered on, especially if you hit a shot like I did and then you get to make the putt, right, it's so much fun to be able to experience those things. So I try to embrace them, I try to enjoy it as much as I can that's why I tried to do something special on 16. Every hole, all these fans and I'm guessing tomorrow afternoon there's going to be a lot more people especially in my group playing with Phil again. It's just so much fun to be able to entertain them and give them a good show.

Q. Obviously this morning was cool, there was a little moisture on the ground, how much did this golf course change between when you started and when you finished?
JON RAHM: It changes a lot. When it gets this warm the ball's going 5 to 10 yards further, it's rolling in the fairway, going to bounce a little harder on the greens, and the greens get a little faster. You just need to account for it. I think we all realize that moment of the day when there's no more moisture, there's nothing, the grass is completely dry and things are going to get fast. I think for us that was No. 2, where we all hit a driver way down there and we all just had barely a hundred yards in I think is when we realized that things are going to get a little faster and the course is going to get a little shorter.

Q. Kind of cruising along, birdie bogey on your outward nine and that eagle that you dropped from 20 feet away at the third really charged your round.
JON RAHM: Yeah, I was kind of waiting for something to happen. I feel like until then all I got was, I got a couple of bad break, I laid up on 15 in a divot. On No. 2 I landed on Xander's ball somehow, which is kinds of hard to do. I got a good break there because that ball could have gone way over the green like his did. So I tried to feed off of that positive break and was able to make that putt on 3 and things kind of are started rolling since then. I don't think I missed a single shot after that eagle. I think that every single shot was as pure as I can hit it.

Q. You rolled along and a birdie putt home at the 5th as well, that's a tough hole to birdie.
JON RAHM: Yeah, another one I hit another driver down the center and another ball that ends up in a divot. And I told Adam, my mindset kind of switched and I told him, something good's going to happen towards the end, I'm going to hit it on the green, and I got lucky to have about as straight a 40-footer can be and bonus to roll it in.

Q. Hate to tell you this, but that sounds like a mature golfer. Took what the course gave you and ended up making a birdie on your last hole too.
JON RAHM: Yeah, it's just golf. I was getting a little frustrated because it's easy to get like that, especially after I chipped on 17 in the water and then what happened on 2 and then -- but once I realized that on 2 my ball could have ended up 30 yards past the pin and not a chance to make a par, I'm like it's a good break, take it like it is and keep hitting good shots and something good is going to happen. And I knew as soon as something good happened, which is making just one putt, things was going to get rolling and that's what happened.

Q. Good end to your opening round with a birdie. How did you put together the 67?
JON RAHM: Well, it was a rather slow front nine. Feeling great making good swings, things just weren't happening. And once I rolled that eagle putt in on 3 everything kind of shifted. The momentum started and I didn't miss a single shot, I hit really quality shots and rolled a couple more in and one of them being on 18 it's always a bonus to make a birdie on 18.

Q. Take us through the eagle. What happened on the hole?
JON RAHM: Well I hit about as good as a drive as I can hit. Perfect fade down the right side of the fairway, gave myself a better angle, and I had a really good distance for a 4-iron. I had to hit it really good, but I knew if I hit it good I was going to be able to keep it on the green. I hit it just left of where I wanted, but good enough that it carried the edge and it just rolled to 20 feet and then again it's just a bonus that I make that putt. We got the round going there with it.

Q. The energy as it is here is outstanding, but now you're world No. 2, looking up to world No. 1, you got to play with Phil today, local ASU connections, what is the energy like this time around?
JON RAHM: I feel like I'm completely overshadowed by Phil. Phil is Phil, he's one of the great ones in golf and especially here, he's been playing here 20 some years in a row, so this just my third year. We're both ASU guys, so I'm going to be kind of right behind him in his shadow. But it's great. We always get a ton of ASU fans here, so any time someone yells, ASU, I know it's for both of us. So you kind of got to try to share those fans with him.

Q. I heard a ton of Rahm chants out there too.
JON RAHM: You do, it's just Phil Mickelson is Phil Mickelson. I would cheer for him if I could. It's just how it is.

Q. Obviously a great start with a 4-under round, your thoughts of getting off to a great start and being in contention.
JON RAHM: Well it's always good to, after a week like last week to come back and shoot under par. I'm feeling much better than last week. My body feels better, I'm swinging a lot better, and I think it showed today, my driving was in a much higher quality than what it's been the last few events. So when you can drive it long and straight on this golf course you're going to have birdie opportunities and I'm just glad I made a couple putts towards the end to post a good score.

Q. What about you and Phil, a classic Sun Devil generation of two great players being paired together. Your thoughts on that matchup?
JON RAHM: It's taken too long is what I would say. It's always an honor to play with Phil Mickelson, but when you are able to do it in a hometown for both of us it's always great. We got a lot of supporters, even if we're not playing together, so when we're together, it's great. We both feed off of that energy and he actually had a great round going, too bad he struggled towards the end, but hopefully he plays good tomorrow.

Q. When you watch Phil's game, what do you sense or absorb from it? What stands out about Phil's game that you really admire?
JON RAHM: We all know what stands out, he's an incredible putter, an incredible wedge player, but what not many people know is that his iron game is as good as anybody else's on TOUR. It's just I think it gets lost in translation there because his driving is not as accurate as he usually is. But he's a great iron player. I think the best thing is his attitude, he's always got a great attitude going and fights for every shot and that's why he shoots what he shoots with hitting the way he does, even though today he hit it pretty straight off the tee.

Q. What do you put down last week to? Just ran out of gas a bit or what?
JON RAHM: It's golf. It happens. You're going to have bad days and I had two bad days in a row and during the week end of a tournament that I wanted to play good, but it's just golf.

Q. What was the thought process with the head gear on 16?
JON RAHM: Well, the I heard a lot of nicknames in the last year and Rahmbo is one I've always loved and always tried to encourage. I put on the shirt before and I feel like it kind of gets lost with the 42 from Pat Tillman on there, so I just kind of wanted to promote the nickname. I tried to get a red head band, but we couldn't get the TaylorMade on the side, that's why I was handing it out. And that way I felt like it's the way Rambo actually had it, so hopefully it helped and I can keep making birdies on that hole.

Q. Do you feel like this is a home field advantage when you play here?
JON RAHM: I don't answer questions of U of A fans, I'm sorry. Yeah, you do feel an advantage. I live here, so I get the pleasure to sleep in my own bed, which is always better to rest. And then just like I said many times, the fans, the atmosphere I think it's just pro-ASU players, it it's just a great feeling.

Q. On 17 you took the driver and you smashed it into the ground. Was it just built up tension or anger, what happened on that hole?
JON RAHM: That was on 18.

Q. You took it and you smashed it.
JON RAHM: Anybody want to answer that for me? You guys know me by now. I mean, I was clearly frustrated. It was more frustration because when I try to hit a ball that hard off the tee it never goes left and that one went left to a really bad spot on that hole. And I actually got lucky, it was just frustration because I was swinging well, I felt good, but things just weren't happening.

Q. Did it feel good to have the fan support around you?
JON RAHM: Yeah, it always does. I did get frustrated at that point but I got a ton of people cheering for me on that hole and that's kind of a reason why I hit a good shot after that because it always is going to lift your spirits when you have thousands of people pulling for you.

Q. 16, you talked about it earlier, how cool was it that you and Phil both birdied that hole in front of the wildest gallery here on the course?
JON RAHM: Oh, we had a fun time. I gave him, I tried to give him a hard time because I told him actually I hit a good shot, his kind of got a good bounce and rolled to four feet. But then again he's Phil. He can actually argue he tried to do that, right? It's great. You don't see many times two people birdie that hole and when it's me and Phil, both kind of hometown people, it's great, you could tell they were excited, once I made mine, he made his own top of it, it was a great feeling.

Q. How cool would it be on Sunday if you guys were both in the final pairing together?
JON RAHM: That would be amazing for so many reasons. I think we all want Phil to be in contention again and what a tournament to win for him to win if he is able to win, because I think he hasn't won in the last four years, so it would be great. If I were to lose a turn tournament to somebody, I would probably choose that person to be Phil.

Q. What happened on 17?
JON RAHM: 17? I hit a great drive from the horrible chip and it chipped in the water. That's what happened.

Q. (No Microphone.)
JON RAHM: No, not really. I kind of welcomed it because I knew it was going to make me hit it harder, I just don't usually miss a driver left, it's that simple. It was not like I played bad afterwards, I hit a great shot on 1, 2, and on 3 I finally made a putt. I left it behind when I had to leave it behind.

Q. Going into tomorrow do you plan on making any changes?
JON RAHM: Why would I change anything? I played really good golf, I just hope to make a few putts earlier on and maybe have a good round.

Q. Getting back to 16 Billy Horschel just talked about the sometimes the lack of fan etiquette on 16. Does the tournament need to do a better job with those fans on 16 to real them in a little bit?
JON RAHM: Well, you go in there knowing what's going to happen, no matter who you are. I heard my fair share of comments on that hole. We're all going to. Even when I was on top of the ball about to take the club back. But then it's as good as it can be bad. If you hit a good shot and a good putt you get the best reaction you're going to get in your life. So it's both. If you hit a bad shot you're going to get the worst reaction you're going to get in your life. They could try to do something, but there's only so much they can do. I mean what's their solution? You can't kick out, kick people out because they're going to leave and someone is going to come in and do the exact same thing. So I don't think there's much they can do, you just need to embrace it and just welcome it.

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