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November 20, 2019

Jon Rahm

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

BRIONY CARLYON: I'm delighted to be joined by former champion of the event, Jon Rahm. Welcome back to the DP World Tour Championship here in Dubai. It must be a tournament that you have fond memories of, but how much are you looking forward to getting back into the swing of tournament golf? Because the last time we saw you, you were winning, so it must be fun to be back.

JON RAHM: It's an exciting week always. You know, I love Dubai. I love the golf course. I love the tournament. It's a really fun one to come and play, and it's nice to actually be here and having a chance to win The Race to Dubai if I take care of business this week, which I haven't had before.

So it's a nice little, you know, addition to it. It's also, again, yeah, six weeks off since my last competitive round. So it's a little break that I needed. I come back from taking quite a bit of time off and just deciding to rest more than practice and traveling around the world. First time I've done that in a very long time, so I really don't know how it's going to go. I'm hoping it's going to be good. I am feeling good. Feeling rested and looking forward to the week.

BRIONY CARLYON: You're somewhat of a Rolex Series specialist with your record. Now what is it that makes you perform against the best players in the world when we have these events? Because it seems to be some remarkable form that you bring into these events.

JON RAHM: I think it's coincidence, honestly. I don't know what to say. Yeah, I really don't know what to say. Most of The European Tour events that I play are Rolex Series Events, and I've been able to win -- I really couldn't know. I guess it brings the best out of me. It's always great golf courses, great weeks. The environment is really, truly amazing, and I love those weeks.

I feel like the best answer is every time I come to Europe, it's just a refreshing change from playing the PGA TOUR all year long, and then come back to basically more where I grew up playing, European golf.

I just enjoy it. It's a nice little change of pace throughout the year and I think that's why I play good a lot of times when I come back.

Q. How difficult was it during the time you've had off getting that balance between rest and trying to keep the game semi-sharp for this week?
JON RAHM: I didn't touch a club for a month. So it wasn't very hard in that sense. I needed it. Honestly, I needed it. After Spain, I stayed home for a week, actually, just from my event in Spain, and after that, I think it was three more weeks in Arizona where I truly didn't even step on a golf course.

You know, with the year we have coming up, with basically ever since I became a good amateur in Spain, it's almost been like ten straight years of nonstop. Never have had a break like that, and you know, professional golf is demanding.

It was more like a future thing, knowing that with me getting married in Christmas, and the year we're going to have, I needed a break at some point, and I feel like that was the only time I could get a break to recharge a little bit and make sure, you know, I'm going to be fresh for next year.

Q. Also, are you happy doing the chasing this week, rather than being in Bernd's position where he's got the target on his back?
JON RAHM: Well, I'd rather be first, so answer your question. Better odds to win. But you know, I was fortunate enough to be able to take a lot of important weeks off and still have a chance to win The Race to Dubai. I know even though it was a smaller event, winning in Spain was important in that sense.

Again, I'd rather be the front man, honestly. You don't necessarily have to win. You just need to play good. Anybody that's not the leader has a chance to win. I know there's always odds, I think if I finish tied for second and some other things happen, I might win, as well.

But I'm here to win, and hopefully I just get it done and not have to think about possible consequences about it.

Q. You talked about the year coming up. Obviously the Olympics throws an extra element. Is that important with the four-year cycle next year with the majors, or would you take an Olympic Gold over a major title next year?
JON RAHM: You know, I've had this conversation with quite a few people. Growing up, Olympics weren't a possibility. Now it's a possibility.

So I never, you know, I wasn't on the practise green saying, "Oh, this putt to win a Gold Medal." I hit many putts to win Masters, Opens, PGAs, hopefully Ryder Cups, and it just never crossed our mind because it wasn't a possibility for an Olympic Gold Medal.

So I believe in golf right now, as exciting for an athlete as it is to win a Gold Medal, I believe it doesn't have the significance it will have maybe ten, 20, 30 years, because it hasn't been around for that long.

So I would say right now, most of us would probably say a major, at least in my case, I would pick a major. But that doesn't discredit how important winning a Gold Medal would be. It's very difficult. I've never been to the Olympics, so I can't really tell you.

But it is something that I believe if you win now, in like 30 years, it will have a lot more importance than it probably does right now.

Q. You're 33-under par for the last two years here, which is the lowest cumulative score over the past two years?
JON RAHM: Sorry?

Q. The lowest.
JON RAHM: Have I? (Smiling).

Q. What is it about the Earth Course that suits your game, or is it more a case of you enjoy the big occasion?
JON RAHM: No, I think it's the course. It's definitely a ball-striker's golf course, and that's obviously what suits me. My strength of the game is off the tee, and it's a course where if you hit it long off the tee, you're going to give yourself a lot of chances, and I think that will be the biggest aspect of it. There's obviously many ways to shoot low around here.

But like I said, I always enjoy the city and I enjoy the atmosphere around the tournament, and I do like the golf course, a lot. It's also happened the last two years, tee-to-green, I felt really comfortable out here.

Again, even if we don't have the best putting week, you can give yourself enough chances, and those greens are absolutely perfect. So you know you're about to make some putts at some point.

It also depends on the weather. Who knows what it's going to be like this week. Today doesn't look so good. The rest of the week looks okay. A lot of the score depends on your tee time and how the wind is blowing. Because a lot of times if you tee off late towards the last few holes, the wind dies and you have a chance to make a lot more birdies. I'm fortunate enough to tee off late for most of my time here, so also credit that a little bit to that.

Q. As you said, you've taken an extended break from the game. What sort of things have you been keeping yourself busy with?
JON RAHM: Well, I'm not going to lie. At first it was hard to let down and step away from it a little bit, and then honestly, nothing special. Just being a 20-year-old, enjoying time with my friends, enjoying time with Kelley. We spend so much of our life making decisions just for me and for my golf game, that it was nice just to, you know, tell her for a month straight, "what do you want to do," right, instead of what do I need to do. It was very nice to be able to do that. I wish I could do it every day of the year, but golf, it's somewhat of a selfish sport in that sense.

Besides that, and, you know, just having fun honestly. Nothing special. We didn't go on any trips or do anything extravagant like that. Just actually tried to be at home for a month and enjoy time with our friends and family around there and live as normal a life as possible.

BRIONY CARLYON: All the best for this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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