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November 24, 2019

Jon Rahm

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

STEVE TODD: You know it's been a good day when you can't fit all the trophies on the table. But plenty to talk about today. Let's start with the tournament first. I mean, what an incredible finish. Just give us your reflections on the day, winning your second tournament here and your fourth Rolex Series title.

JON RAHM: I think it's more of a reflection of a great year than just a good week.

Well, today, man, I feel like I've had two different days completely. Those first seven holes, I felt like I couldn't miss a shot. Felt really, really confident, as it showed, everything was rolling. Putting was unbelievable. Then just one errant tee shot and a three-putt kind of took everything a turn for the worst. Even I kind of kept myself there with a birdie on 10 and a birdie 14, I still made some mistakes. It would have been a very different day if I don't three-putt 9 and 15, and unfortunately for me it happened, and it made me prove myself and kind of show some more determination and grit and heart just to win.

In those last three holes, that was key. I stood on the 16th hole after three-putting, and I told myself, I heard Jack Nicklaus talk about it, about his win at The Open at Muirfield. He said he was on the 16th hole as well and told himself: If you finish 3, 4, 4, which there's birdie, par, par, you win the tournament.

I told myself on 16 before I hit the tee shot, "If you finish 4, 3, 3, you win the golf tournament, no matter what anybody else does." That's kind of what I said to myself, too, and that's what I did. I played three really solid holes with a birdie on 18.

Man, you dream of making birdies on 18 to win a tournament. And how I was playing early on, I was hoping not to need that, but it happened, and I came through when I needed it and really proud of myself for that.

STEVE TODD: Just give us your thoughts on the other achievements, the trophy here in terms of winning The Race to Dubai, only the second Spaniard after Seve to do it. Try to sum up that achievement this early in your career, as well.

JON RAHM: I've thought about it all week. I've thought about it the last two hours. I've thought about it as soon as I made the putt. But it still hasn't processed in my mind. It's a thought in there it still has not been internalised.

It's really so hard to believe that some of the greatest champions in European golf and Spanish golf haven't been able to accomplish what I have in just three years. That's what I can't really put my mind into.

Sergio has been a great Spanish champion forth years, major winner. Ollie, two-time major championship winner. Miguel Ángel has done a great job, as well. Alvaro Quiros has won this event, as well. So many great players throughout the history of Spain that have had a chance and they didn't get it done. It's just hard to put that in perspective to know that since Seve, I'm the next one to get it done.

I mean, I can put the words, but it just doesn't feel like it's true. It's hard to believe.

Q. I know you're obviously at the top of the game for a reason, but when you have that bunker shot on the last, and you know if you get up-and-down you win; and if you don't, obviously it's a different scenario. What's in your head at that point? Are you nervous? Fearing the worst? Fully confident?
JON RAHM: You know, got to track back. On 18 tee, after seeing that Tommy made a birdie, hoping all the cheers were for Rory, I saw he was tied with me. I got to the tee and needed a birdie and on the way, the 200 yards, I told myself, "You've practised so many times, shots and putts everything and saying, oh, this to win a golf tournament."

I had the chance to make a birdie to win a golf tournament and that's what I set my mind to, and that's what gave me a sense of calmness and the focus to do what I had to do: Hit the best shot of the day and great 4-iron. And the wind didn't move. Bunker shot it was a tricky lie on a downslope, but at the same time it was the right place to miss because I had plenty to work with.

Those ten yards of green or so, four or five were downhill, the last was into the grain uphill. All I had to do was land it before the into-the-grain part. I had about ten feet to land it on, and it was just getting to the green, that's all I had it to do. I had a really good lie. When I was on top of it, I was just really focused on the moment.

Somehow, I can't explain how, it was about as calm as I can be honestly. Felt really, really confident. I had my mission in mind and I'm like, "You need to get this up-and-down, yes or yes."

And it came out perfect, leaving me three feet straight up the hill.

Q. A lot of people might have argued that taking a break as you did before the event could have backfired, but it certainly didn't. You took it all on and you thrived. But did it ever cross your mind that maybe this wasn't a good idea?
JON RAHM: No. Never. And the reason, it's all the reason why I did it. We played a long year, a lot of golf tournaments, a lot of in-contention events, and just a couple weeks' break before I played Wentworth, Dunhill and Spain, which some people took that time off, then playing those last few events.

Also got to say the Spanish tournament, for me, it means so much, that it takes a lot out of me emotionally. You know, the Spanish crowds are unbelievably present. They are unbelievably passionate like I am. That tournament takes more out of me than some other events do.

And also, thinking that because of the schedule next year, I really wasn't going to have a time to have a break except the time I did. I needed that break mentally and physically. Luckily I was No. 1 in The Race to Dubai at that point, so I could afford not playing some weeks.

It was a risk. Truthfully I thought I was going to come in fifth or sixth place, needing a win to win it all, and luckily I was in third with more possibilities. But I never regretted it, and I'm glad I did it because I came here much more calm and on a much better frame of mind, very relaxed, very rested, both mentally and physically, and I think that showed this week.

Towards the end, I had the energy to keep going, keep fighting, and I think I attribute that to me being able to win.

Q. You said you were as calm as you could be over the bunker shot. Would you describe yourself as a calm person generally?
JON RAHM: That's why I said as calm as I could be, right. (Laughter).

Maybe not as calm as somebody else would have been. Maybe "calm" is not the word, but "confident." I felt really under control of myself, and really confident in myself. My heart was probably still beating really, really fast but I was relaxed.

Q. But in general, are you a calm sort of guy?
JON RAHM: (Laughing).

Q. I think I sense the answer.
JON RAHM: Well, on the golf course, I might not be the calmest, no. The word I like to say, I'm a very passionate person. I'm very different off the golf course, but what I do means so much to me; I put so much time in it that I play with all the passion I can.

But no, I'll be above average when it comes to not being calm in that sense, no (laughter). Let's say that.

Q. Obviously you'll want time to celebrate this victory. What are the goals going to be for 2020?
JON RAHM: You know, I haven't thought about it yet. I have one more tournament to play in a couple weeks, and I'm getting married shortly after that. That's the only thing I have in mind, being able to tie the knot with Kelley, it's as simple as that.

After that, I'll think about golf. I could say win majors, this, Ryder Cup, that, but truthfully I only have my mind on in a couple weeks from now in a tournament, and luckily what I have to do shortly after, which is get married.

Q. Going back to that calmness and attitude. I've seen you explode a few times on the golf course. Is that something, have you tried to calm yourself down or do you just want to be the way you are and live with it? How do you balance that?
JON RAHM: Oh, man. It's like everything, it's a work-in-progress. The feelings are going to be there. I can't turn off my feelings. I'm not a robot. But it's all about how it's managed or how I express them, right, and that's what I've tried to do.

There was plenty of times out there where I could have completely lost my mind but I didn't. And again, you know, 18 was a verification; it was the first time in my life where I had a chance of birdieing to win, and being a par 5, which is something that plays to my strength.

But I mean, I'm really comfortable with who I am. I'm a very happy person. Like I said, on the golf course, I'm very passionate about what I do and I might get bad sometimes, but that's not who I am off the course. I'm a completely different person. I'm still not super-calm, for the good, right, but yeah, I'm really happy with who I am. Like I said it's more about how those emotions are expressed. I mean, everybody gets mad. It would be foolish to say nobody gets mad out here.

Q. Is it a Spanish thing? Spanish people are all very exuberant.
JON RAHM: Yeah, I guess there's enough evidence to say that that's the truth. Seve wasn't the calmest out there. He had some passion. So did Ollie -- they both do, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Some of the greatest champions in all sports are passionate people that show frustration when they have it, and they show their happiness when they do have it, as well. I don't think it's a bad thing. In fact, I believe it's a good thing because that's what got me through today on the last few holes.

Q. $5 million today. How do you treat yourself? Do you buy yourself something? Do you give some money to Kelley for a bigger wedding?
JON RAHM: I didn't even think about that honestly. I don't do this for the money. It's obviously a great thing, but I've never, it never crossed my mind.

Now with that said, it's a pretty cool feeling, I'm not going to lie. I just turned 25. It's unbelievable that I'm going to have that coming my way. But a lot of that is well deserved to people that helped me get here, right. I have a great team around me that's helped me get here, so a lot of that is obviously going to go to them as well.

I have a long life to live, so hopefully put in a savings account and not need it ever, and keep playing good, but at the same time keep helping the ones who need. I know my family will never worry about having problems again. Nothing extravagant, honestly. I'm not like that.

Last time I thought I was making a big purchase, I bought an Xbox. You know, if there's something that comes to mind, I'll let you guys know, but nothing in mind right now.

STEVE TODD: Jon, congratulations again on a wonderful year.

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