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January 30, 2019

Jon Rahm

Scottsdale, Arizona

THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Jon Rahm to the interview room here at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. You're making your fourth start here this week and also you're coming off three consecutive top-10 finishes to start 2019. Could you just provide us some comments about how you're feeling and how your game is doing.

JON RAHM: Well, feeling very well, obviously you just mentioned three straight top-10s, playing really good in Palm Springs and having a chance last week, even though Rosie was far away, but having a chance nonetheless coming to the back nine. So it's a great start to the year, I love the West Coast Swing and this week for me is definitely really, really high on my rankings. I love the week, I played good as an amateur and pro, I was in the final group last year, so hopefully this is the one week where everything kind of clicks and I give myself a chance to win again.

THE MODERATOR: You're familiar with this area being one of the ASU grads. How special is it to play in front of all these crowds that are rooting for you.

JON RAHM: It's unique, as a golfer, to get a similar feeling to maybe the Arizona Cardinals players will get in a home game, it's pretty unique. There's not many people that can say they play in the hometown in front of a crowd like this, in front of an ASU support like this, and on a hole like 16 where almost 25,000 people are ASU graduates or who went to ASU or who live in Scottsdale. So it's definitely a lot of pull for players like me and Phil and Chez, and other ASU graduates it's definitely really a fun week for us.

THE MODERATOR: Open it up for questions.

Q. Phil is playing in his 30th event here. Do you anticipate returning to this event for that many years to come?
JON RAHM: I hope so. I definitely hope so, yeah. Like I said, I love this week, I love the golf course, I love the tournament, I played good so far here, so I hopefully I can keep it going for 30 years.

Q. To follow-up on that, 30 years, what goes through your mind when you look at Phil and the fact that he's played here almost every year since '89 when he was 18. I mean just what goes through your head when you think about that?
JON RAHM: The first thing that comes to my mind is he's played here more times than I've been alive. Because I'm 24 and, yeah, when I was born he was playing his sixth tournament around here. So it's incredible, it shows with Phil how his commitment to tournaments and when he enjoys the golf course and a tournament he'll keep coming. I think he's a big pull, him and Rickie Fowler are a huge pull for this week. So hopefully I can keep coming and I can join my list to one of those who gets to many, many appearances here.

Q. You're an emotional player and this is a pretty intense atmosphere. Perfect golf course for you. Is it a question of just sort of trying to manage that emotion or do you just go with it and try and let all that excitement fuel you?
JON RAHM: No, it's different. I mean, it's a week where I know the crowd is definitely pulling for me since I have so much to relate to the crowd. And emotion-wise I'm going to say, after playing the Ryder Cup, this is not comparable. So it really, it really isn't about managing it or not. At the end of the day we're on the golf course, we're trying to do our best and what's happening outside it really shouldn't matter. Those holes like 16 where those feelings do come out, they're very visible and it's really fun to play on and again I think just because of how excited I get every year to play this week, I played good, I've been able to perform, so I definitely feel it plays to my advantage.

Q. Congratulations, nice to see you back again. Last week you had a bit of a struggle, you started out really hot and things have been going really well. Is there something that you feel that you're just sort of missing or is it just a question of timing or patience?
JON RAHM: Struggle? I mean, I did finish fifth at 14-under. It's not like it was a big struggle. I mean, yeah, if you compared to shooting 10-under at North, Torrey Pines South is not an easy task. Definitely my iron game wasn't up to the level that that golf course requires and that's why I didn't give myself as many birdie chances as I could have. I think that was the missing key that week. But again, I mean I want to say I wouldn't call it a struggle.

Q. No, but after such a great start --
JON RAHM: Yeah, I know what you mean.

Q. -- momentum just didn't. I didn't mean -- struggle is probably a poor word.
JON RAHM: I know what you mean, I'm just messing with you a little bit.

Q. Where's the missing link or is there a missing link?
JON RAHM: There's no missing link. It's as simple as, I mean, I was, yeah, I shot 10-under, but it was a lot of people that shot 9-under as well, which is only a shot difference and Rosie was one of those. Again, I think the one thing that I was below the winners was my iron play, that's the one thing I would say, I wasn't able to strike my irons as good as I would have liked on the weekend, I wasn't giving myself as many chances as I could have done or as good chances for birdie that I could have. I was hitting a lot of 20-footers, 25 footers, which at Torrey Pines it's really hard to make those putts. I shot decent rounds, I was 4-under the last three rounds, but I wish I had been a little better. If there's a missing link I think my iron play could have improved a little bit more.

Q. When are we going to see you back in Europe?
JON RAHM: Back in Europe? Well as soon as I can. I really don't know you my schedule past Augusta, really and I'm not going to be there before Augusta, before the Masters. So I don't know after that.

Q. You and Xander are around the same age, you played college events together, it was interesting yesterday where he said he still felt like the underdog, like he was underrated. Do you agree with that and is it also weird to hear a guy who has won the TOUR Championship and four times like he has say that?
JON RAHM: He feels like he's the underdog? Well, compared to who? Because compared to Phil we're all underdogs. I mean, it's as simple as that. I don't consider him an underdog, definitely not. He's a TOUR Championship winner, a World Golf Championship winner, he did win Greenbrier as well which is a tough event to win and a Tournament of Champions winner. He won, three of his four events are really high quality golf events. So, no, he's not an underdog. He's performed extremely well the U.S. Open the last two years, he was leading The Open Championship this year. If he feels that way, well, he's not an underdog, not in my mind.

Q. You had such a hot start to your career and then you maybe fell back a little bit. Now you're consistently knocking on the door. Wondering sort of what you've learned about yourself over the first couple years of being a TOUR pro?
JON RAHM: Well what part? When did I fall back?

Q. Well you had --
JON RAHM: I mean I --

Q. Not for very long.
JON RAHM: -- I won three times both years. Different continents every single time, I don't know what part of that is falling back.

Q. Yeah, but I'm just wondering like what have you learned about sort of being in it for the long haul and really being consistent and knowing how to travel and knowing which tournaments to pick and all that.
JON RAHM: Oh, man, it's only been two years, I can't really tell you much. I think you learn what courses fit you the most. I think you learn a little bit on what to do long traveling. If I'm going to be traveling all the way to Europe or other parts of the world for the most part I'm going to go for more than one week, just so, you know, the first week you might be a little jet lagged your body might not respond the same way, maybe go early, play a couple different rounds. But the one thing I've always emphasized a lot as soon as I turned pro was resting. Make sure you rest, don't overwork on the golf course, make sure you get your hours of sleep, some time off the game as well, especially when you travel so much. So I think that's the important part. Do everything you can so you get to every Thursday you get to you feel that you can play Thursday through Sunday with the same level of intensity and energy rather than maybe gassing out a couple times.

Q. Some of us noticed that you got a new logo on your shirt. Have you changed sponsors or what is that?
JON RAHM: It's a really exciting opportunity for me obviously you can see jda, it's a company from here, the headquarters are here in Scottsdale. It's a supply chain software development company who does work with some of the biggest manufacturers in the world. In my case related to me they work with TaylorMade, with Adidas and with Mercedes Benz, all three partners of mine. So to be able to support a great company like that, to be able to be an ambassador, I'm truly honored and to represent the values of Scottsdale the best possible with a company from Scottsdale it's really, for me, in a week like this, it's something very special and hopefully I can do the best I can to get everybody to know what jda is.

Q. Johnny Miller is retiring after this event. Do you have any thoughts on what legacy he leaves in regards to commentating?
JON RAHM: You know, I think I've always thought Johnny Miller's a great commentator, he's always been great at what he does. One of the great things he's done is he's not afraid to speak his mind and a lot of times he speaks from a lot of personal experience. He's done a really good job of showing -- I mean after 30 years of commentating and many years of playing golf he really knows a lot about the game of golf and what's going on and what's happening to players and what's going on in players' minds and the type of shots we hit. So it's going to be a very important guy in television that we're going to miss because he really does know how to do it. I would be scared if I was the guy following him because it's a lot to live up to.

Q. Starting next year the NCAA's is going to go to Grayhawk for three years. You've obviously played that course. What are your thoughts on Arizona State getting to host three years in a row and just general thoughts on that if it's fair or not.
JON RAHM: If it's fair or not? I mean it's definitely an advantage for ASU, right? It's a huge deal. I don't know what the process was and how it happened, but it's a great thing for ASU golf to be able to have nationals three years in a row at a course that is really close to campus that you can practice, at a great golf course like Grayhawk. They definitely have an opportunity -- I was fortunate enough to win the ASU Thunderbird three years in a row because I knew the golf course so well. I didn't always play the best, but I could manage my way around it because I knew it so well and I was able to get it done. So I think they're going to have that kind of opportunity, they're going to get to know the golf course so, so well that they're definitely going to have an upper hand. And now with the new practice facility at Papago and you mentioned having the three years, it opens up for some new recruits to come. Maybe recruits are going to want to come to ASU more. If great weather all year round and great golf courses and a good school is not enough, now they have nationals here. So I think that some good years to come for ASU are the next few, that's for sure.

Q. Are there any Spaniards following in your footsteps?
JON RAHM: I think so. I don't know if it's official yet, I think that there's another Spaniard that committed, I don't know if I can say it or not, so I'm just going to say I know there's another Spanish player that has been committed. I think he comes in next year. I'm not sure the year but he did commit.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you for your time and good luck this week.

JON RAHM: Thank you very much.

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