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July 18, 2020

Jon Rahm

Dublin, Ohio, USA

Muirfield Village

Quick Quotes

Q. Could you have imagined two hours ago when you were just starting out the front nine, four shots behind at one point, that you'd wind up the day four ahead?

JON RAHM: No, not at all. When I saw Tony hit it on the green on 11, my thought was, dear Lord, let me hit this green on 12, and I did, and after that I told Adam -- we made par, and I said if we can finish the last six holes under par, it's a great finish. And whatever we have to do to make a come back we'll make a come back. It was tough out there. He was playing great golf to be 3-under through 11, and I just stick to my things. I hit great tee shots on 13, 14, 15 that set up opportunities for birdie, and then after a couple of really good wedge shots, a great flop shot on 15 and a lucky putt on 16, well, I'm fortunate to be ahead.

Q. What were you thinking when the putt on 16 went in?

JON RAHM: That was pretty lucky. I mean, that's the only thing I can say. I looked at the green afterwards, and if you guys go there, if you try to tap down a mark, it was completely dead. It's usually firm, every hole is firm. That thing, that little slope on the center, that little ridge is really, really just baked out. I just assumed I was going to have three, four, five feet for par, and luckily it found the hole. Hopefully I don't have to rely on putts like that tomorrow.

Q. How hard is it to stay patient in conditions like this and just to kind of not overreact to good or bad?

JON RAHM: I've been doing a great job at it. I mean, honestly what I was trying to do out there was put the ball in the fairway and hit the ball on the green and go to the next hole. Early on we learned that the only chance to hit it close to the pin was going to have having a wedge shot into the wind. That was the only chance, or some kind of wedge shot. I tried to take advantage of that.

Q. We've seen balls bouncing hard, getting a lot of roll-out. Was there any point you came close to being frustrated today by a bad break?

JON RAHM: No, not really. I didn't get frustrated. I got mad on myself at 11, on that birdie putt, just because I had the break, and then I just had a little bit of doubt, pulled my putt slightly, barely missed the putt, and I just told myself, just commit to whatever it is, whatever you see. I just got mad at myself. I never got frustrated. It could have been a couple times like on 4 and 10 when I hit great shots where you see it just take the slope and it just hangs out on the fringe, and then I told myself, I am not the only one suffering through this today. Just keep making pars. Pars were never bad, and again, like I said, luckily I was able to give myself a chance when I had green light shots into the green and I made a few putts.

Q. We've been talking about this No. 1 business for a few months. How important is it for you to reach that, and how important is it for you to not think about it tomorrow?

JON RAHM: Oh, it's extremely important. No. 1 in the world, a few months ago in Dubai I got the opportunity to make some Spanish history, and it would be doing it again to become No. 1 after Seve. It's obviously a big deal. I can't sit here and not -- and try to diminish it and avoid it because it would just be lying to myself because it is a big deal. But it is a consequence of me winning tomorrow. What's important to me tomorrow is hit good shots, be committed and get the job done. Everything else will be taken care of afterwards.

Q. Just jumping off of that, you mentioned Seve. He's the only other Spanish player to ever be No. 1. Obviously No. 1 is a huge goal of yours, but to join him in that conversation, what would that mean to you if that comes to fruition?

JON RAHM: It's always tough to put it into words. Seve is a huge influence of mine. I've said many times thanks to that Ryder Cup in '97 and his captaincy and the way he inspired many not only in Spain but in Europe, he's the reason why I'm playing here today, and any time I can do something remotely close to what he did, it's pretty emotional. I can't lie. It's something that deep in my core as a Spaniard and as a player I would love to achieve, and if you think about it, major champions that came after him like Sergio and Olazábal never got to be, so it would be quite unique.

But again, it's all a consequence of me winning tomorrow, right, so it's an afterthought. So I've got to get out there tomorrow, play solid again and get the job done and think about the No. 1 afterwards.

Q. What do you anticipate the course will look like when you tee off tomorrow?

JON RAHM: Oh, more of what we saw today but more wind apparently. That's what I heard. Same thing; each shot is a battle. There's not one shot that you can let down on and you've just got to get the job done. It's as simple as that. Mistakes are going to happen, and I just simply need to remember that I'm not the only one out there making mistakes, so hopefully I can keep hitting it great off the tee and keep giving myself chances to hit some good shots into the green.

Q. For the people watching at home, can you describe the difficulty and how close this course feels like it is, maybe close to the edge?

JON RAHM: I told Adam walking down 18, I said, they should -- Adam, my caddie, for people who don't know, they should just allow people, whoever wants to play, to come tomorrow in the same conditions we did. Cut the greens, make sure they're the same speed, flags on the same spots, just for people to see. We were thinking the club champion, the scratch club champion might not break 80 here today. It's that difficult a golf course. And I can say, because of that, today could be one of the best rounds of golf I've played in my life. It's unbelievable, and it's hard to believe how passively it came compared to how I played usually.

It's a great learning curve for me, as well.

Q. You talked about patience today and you've spoken in the past about trying to channel your fire for positivity. Where do you feel like you are on that journey?

JON RAHM: Man, if there was a way to measure it and a way for me to tell you, I would. But I don't know. This week, whatever happens tomorrow happens, but it'll be a great test for me to learn for the future, for major championships, because this is going to be the closest thing we get to a major championship without being one. I think it's really good. There's definitely been moments out there this week where I could have just lost it or maybe any past I would have gotten more frustrated and changed my game plan. Maybe a couple years ago I don't think I would be here with a four-shot lead right now going into tomorrow. It's a slow process. Unfortunately I'm a person who learns from mistakes, like most of us I would say, and luckily I've been able to, and hopefully I can keep doing it tomorrow and just follow the same mindset I've had the last few days.

Q. I know your game plan doesn't change with a four-shot lead, but how hard is it to secure what you have and try to take advantage?

JON RAHM: I don't think about taking advantage. Four shots on a windy, difficult, firm golf course is nothing. It's me making two bogeys and somebody making one birdie and then suddenly it's only a one-shot lead. Many times when I see myself three, four shots behind, like I did at Torrey, for example, I've always hoped for really bad conditions because if you play good, it's the easiest way to make up a large deficit. Now I've got to flip that and hope I have good weather because if you play good, it's the best way I have to possibly increase that lead and try to win by as many as possible. That's going to be my mission tomorrow, just go play good golf and hopefully have a good cushion coming down the stretch, especially on 18 so I can just enjoy that walk.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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