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February 19, 2020

Jon Rahm

Mexico City, Mexico

THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Jon Rahm. Are you looking forward to the week ahead?

JON RAHM: Always. It's always nice to come to a country where they speak Spanish. The culture, it's a lot more similar to what it is in Spain. Good food, good hospitality, good golf course. It doesn't really get much better than this.

THE MODERATOR: You've played nine holes yesterday and nine today. How does it look out there, any different to previous years.

JON RAHM: The only difference I've seen is the bunkers. I heard there's been new sand in the bunkers, which is going to help out a lot this year, having that consistency is going to be nice. It's new sand, so it's going to be challenging to spin the ball, but that's the challenge around this golf course, those greens. When you're close to the green, it's really hard to spin it. You need a lot of touch around here.

I am used to poa annua greens; I'm not used to kikuyu, so it's something we have to battle a little bit, but it's a great golf course, and it's mainly one of those that makes you play really good tee to green. There is not a part of your game that you can be slacking on. The main difference I see is the bunkers, which is are better than in the past.

THE MODERATOR: You were handed another award, the Seve Ballesteros Award for the European Tour's Player of the Year. Can you tell us what that means to get your name on there and to get that recognition from your fellow players on the European Tour.

JON RAHM: It's an honor. I was able to make Spanish history that week in Dubai and enjoy my name next to Seve's. To be the only two players to win the Race to Dubai, for me it's a huge honor. Anybody that knows and follows me. Seve is a huge influence of mine, and to believe able to do that is incredible, and now to be awarded something named after him, it's very unique. I'm usually good in history.

I'm lacking to know how many players from Spain have been awarded the Player of the Year. I think Sergio got it. I know Seve must have got it. I don't know if Ollie ever did. He probably did. I'm not sure. But it's just to join another list of those, and just keep putting my name next to the Spanish greats and some of the European greats, those are things I never thought of when I was a kid, and it's quite unique. It's going to be there forever in years to come. It's a very unique feeling.

Q. Another opportunity this week or mathematical opportunity to go to No. 1. The previous times that's been in play, have you found yourself consumed with it or just going about your business?
JON RAHM: No, it hasn't changed at all, honestly. I'm here to win a tournament. That's what I'm here to do. I haven't been able to play my best any of those weeks. I've been able to score really well, manage myself around, and that's why I've been consistent in giving myself chances. But it's a consequence of good play.

I'm hoping for the rest of the year it's going to be like that where at some point I'm going to win or have a good performance and get to No. 1 in the world, but the main goal is to win championships, win tournaments, and play my best every week I can. Those rankings are basically a consequence of what I do on the golf course, so I've got to take care of business first.

Q. Can you talk about the challenges of how to adapt to this elevation, how you're going about it?
JON RAHM: It's hard. It's a hard week for caddies. A lot of it goes to them. My first year here I didn't overthink it too much. I just had Adam tell me what it was playing, just trusted his judgment, because he's played in elevation. He's seen golf in elevation a lot more than I have. I think I'm going to go back to that.

The last few years I kind of wanted to know more of the numbers and be more involved. I already told him yesterday, just tell me how far it's playing and that's about. I don't want to complicate myself. The main difficulty with altitude is the trajectory of the golf ball is going to make a huge impact on how far it's going. If you start messing around with it, it's going to be really hard to hit your numbers. I'm going to try like I did a few years back in '17 to try to just keep hitting the same at least height or trajectory shot because that is going to be the most consistent thing to try to hit our numbers. It's a hard golf course. But there's a reason why DJ has had a lot of success here, why Rory has had some success. They both like to hit the ball high and never really vary from there whether you fade it or draw it, so I think that's going to give me more consistency than what I've done the last few years, so hopefully come Sunday I'm in contention again.

Q. What's been the toughest loss of your career, and why was it hard?
JON RAHM: I'm assuming you're talking about golf, right?

Q. Yes.
JON RAHM: Because otherwise I'll start talking about my soccer team.

Q. Or that. That's fine, too.
JON RAHM: Well, the hardest thing to deal with, I'm a huge Athletic de Bilbao fan and we were playing Barcelona in the final in 2009 or 2010, I forget the year. I think it was 2009, and we scored first, and then we got absolutely smashed 4-1, and we lost the final, and that was probably the hardest thing to deal with for me as a fan.

Golf-wise, I don't know. I mean, it's only hard if you don't learn from it. Total experiences. I've lost a lot, and thanks to that I've been able to win a lot. I can't really tell.

I would say it was more when I was an amateur. There was a big event in Europe and I had a big lead going into the back nine and one bad swing just was my downfall and ended up losing in a playoff, and as an amateur, as a 15-year-old, it's hard. 15-, 16-year-old it's hard to deal with. Now when you're in the pros you learn, you move on, you go to the next week. But when you're young and a big one happens for the first time, it gets imprinted on you where you learn. There's no failure, it's just an opportunity to learn.

Q. (Question in Spanish.)
JON RAHM: (Answer in Spanish.)

Q. (Question in Spanish.)
JOHN RAHM: (Answer in Spanish.)

Q. Would you mind giving a quick translation of that?
JON RAHM: He asked me if it's unique and strange to be at a PGA TOUR event and speaking in Spanish. I said it would be an honor to be able to win an event on the PGA TOUR and European Tour World Golf Championships and give the winning speech in Spanish. That would be quite an honor.

And for the previous question, he asked me what I expect out of the week, and I don't expect to win every week, but I play to win every week. I think if one of those Spanish speakers, whether it's Spanish, whether it's Mexican or any Hispanic Latin player wins, I think it would be a big thing for Latin golf and Hispanic golf in general. So it would be a big thing for Mexican golf, as well. So I'm hoping if Carlos or Abraham don't win, maybe one of us that speaks Spanish does.

Q. (Question in Spanish.)
JON RAHM: (Answer in Spanish.)

I was asked about my character once again, and I gave the same answer I gave the last four years.

Q. Talk of Golf Chat is obviously kind of swirling around Twitter. What are your thoughts on that, on what might happen?
JON RAHM: I really have no clue. I couldn't tell you what's going on. I had a maybe two-minute conversation with somebody involved in it, and that's about it. I don't know if I'm in the plans or not. I really have no idea. As of right now since it's not a reality, I don't want to waste my time thinking about it too much. I have a job to do, and I'm trying to focus on becoming the best golfer I can become. It's as simple as that. I really wish I could give you more of an answer. I really don't know what's going on. It's a lot of speculations from what I hear. There's been speculations going on for years. But I really don't know much besides what people talk about.

Q. (Question in Spanish.)
JON RAHM: (Answer in Spanish.)

Q. You've had some consistently good finishes over the last year or so, and it was interesting, you said you don't expect to win but you play to win. That leads me to my question. Is a successful week for you only defined by a win?
JON RAHM: No. I mean, it would be a sad golfer's life if you expect to win every single week because even Tiger at his best won 30 percent of the time. So it's just not -- you've got to take your wins. Every way you can take a positive, and it's as simple as that. For me a successful win is I've done -- if I've prepared, I stick to my routine, I've done what I've had to do, and I've played every single shot 100 percent committed. Basically if I've given my best, I've given my all that week, I can't do any more. Sometimes you play good, sometimes you play bad, and you learn from what you've wrong and move on and try to apply it to next week. It's as simple as that.

It's a process. There's going to be -- in this walk to improvement as a golfer and as a person, there's going to be great highs, there's going to be lows, but you learn from those lows, and like I said, sometimes you need to take a couple steps back to take a big leap forward. Hopefully I don't have to take too many steps back anytime soon, but it's how the process works.

If you learn from it, if you use your experience every week, I would consider it as a success.

Now, if you give up and it's completely useless, well, you're going to keep tripping over the same rock every other week. As long as you're improving as a person and as a golfer, it's obviously going to be a success.

Q. There's a chance this has already been asked, but can you relate to Carlos and Abraham this week based on the times you've played in the Spanish Open, what kind of attention you get and what kind of advice you might have for them?
JON RAHM: It hasn't been asked, but it's a very unique feeling when you feel the better part of a country or the following that week supporting just one or two players. It's unique. They're proud to have you there perform and you should be proud to be there performing for them. A lot of times when you have that behind you it's like an extra motivator that helps you do better. It's also at the same time hard to control the willingness or the want to do good for yourself and for them. At the end of the day you're playing for yourself, and by playing good for yourself you're going to entertain them. So you've got to keep focused on what you have to do, but at the same time enjoy that energy around you. You can use it. They're going to be cheering you on all day, and every time you hit a good shot it's going to be a big high. Every time you hit a bad shot, they're still going to be cheering you on, like what happens in the Spanish Open to me. Every time I make a bogey from green to tee, they're cheering like crazy. So at the same time you can use that to help you turn things around. The crowd is going to be there for you.

The best advice I can give them is use that. Don't resist it, just use them.

Q. Have you ever felt the burden or pressure from a home crowd?
JON RAHM: Oh, you do feel it. My first Spanish Open when I won in Madrid, not last year, the year before, you feel it because the support is such that any time I hit a good shot and a birdie, the crowd was so loud that you can get on a really high high. But every time you miss a shot, you're up here, you're going to go just equally down. You've got to maintain that under control, and trust me, if I can do it, they can probably do it, too.

Nobody gets -- they're not going to get as much ups and downs as I might in a week like that, but again, you use it for your advantage. You can definitely use it to help you out, especially in those bad times. There's been times where I was playing and things weren't going well and you hit one decent shot or not even, and just walking around, and the support of the crowd just helps you. It's a lot of positive energy going around that you need to channel that, and you need to let it flow through you instead of resist it or try to keep it to yourself. You need to use it to your advantage. If you can do that successfully it's going to help you out a lot, especially if somehow they get in contention on Sunday. It doesn't matter who's playing with them, they're going to be going crazy for them. If they're anything like Spanish fans, which I know they are, it's going to be unique.

It could be overwhelming for other players. They can take it for their advantage and probably play their most fun golf that they're ever going to play.

THE MODERATOR: Jon, have a great week.

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