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August 18, 2020

Jon Rahm

Norton, Massachusetts, USA

TPC Boston

Press Conference

DOUG MILNE: We thank world No. 1 Jon Rahm for joining us for a few minutes, coming into the FedExCup Playoffs ranked 10th.

I know this is a tournament special that's special to you with a couple of top five finishes in the past, so just a few thoughts on getting underway here in the 2020 FedExCup Playoffs.

JON RAHM: Well, I'm excited. I'm in a good position, and Top-10 going into the Playoffs is good. Just looking forward to hopefully finishing off stronger than I have in the past, especially last year, played good in the first Playoff event, Liberty National, and Medinah and East Lake, fell off a little bit, a trend in the Playoffs for me, start strong and then finish a little poorly. Hopefully I can reverse that this year and maybe if I don't start okay, to just increasingly get better and have a good week at East Lake.

Focusing on this week, it's a golf course I really like. I enjoy it. I know I can play good here. Hopefully I can do it again for a third time.

Q. You've obviously had an incredible season, victory, finished second, third, five Top-10s in all. Obviously feeling pretty good about your game?

JON RAHM: Yeah, I'm feeling pretty good. It's hard to categorize or think of this year as one single season, right, because of the three-month break in between.

Clearly I was in good form before, and after those three months, I struggled a little bit. Yeah, I played good, obviously really good Memorial and won, and the PGA, but the events in between haven't been my best, a top 30; I think my best finish was top 27 going into Memorial. That's a little bit unlike what I'm used to do. I'm usually consistently playing good, but that's what happens when you don't play for three months, right, and especially when you go through some changes, get stronger, lost a little weight. Couldn't figure out where my irons were going, but luckily slowly got a little bit better.

Yeah, it's been good. It's been a good season. I was able to win again on the PGA TOUR four years ago, winning on the Tour. Hopefully this year I can get more than one win, like I have been able to do on The European Tour. But like I said, still focusing on this week. We have a lot to play for the next few weeks, and I'll try to keep it on that.

Q. Do you remember the very first time you ever heard of the FedExCup, and what does it mean to you? Is it money or is it more than that?

JON RAHM: I know, I remember when Tiger won in 2007. I remember the whole thing. I know I remember knowing what they were playing for. No idea what the format was. I remember a couple things. I remember it was the first-ever FedExCup when Heath Slocum won at Liberty National and jumped from 121 to 1 in the old system and some players were even taking weeks off. Tiger took a week off and went to East Lake and won.

It's a lot more, at least for me, I don't play for the money, right. Luckily I've been able to make a lot of income for somebody my age, but I've never played golf for money. I played it for the enjoyment and winning and trying to be the best. That's what the FedExCup is, when you need to play good and you play good when you need to, right. It's kind of how I feel. That's why I'm a little hoping that it's just a little different. Like I said, I've been able to start strong and maybe not finish so good at East Lake and that's what I'm looking forward this year. Hopefully I can get in contention, not only every week but hopefully Sunday at East Lake I can be in contention to win it, and it's -- you know, it's a select group of people that have been able it call themselves FedExCup champions. With the new format, it's a little different from what it used to be, hopefully less confusing on Sunday. Hopefully I can be there and have a chance.

Q. Can you think of one time that you really needed to play well, and you did?

JON RAHM: When I really needed to play well and I did? Well, every time I play well, I would say.

It's not like you need to play -- I think it's you want, right. I would say the one that comes to mind where you need to and you have to do it, the closest example I can have since I've been fortunate to never be fighting for my card or a situation like that would be Sunday The Ryder Cup against Tiger. That's one where I needed to show up and I was able to.

Q. The back nine specifically, four of the for difficult holes on this course comes consecutively on 11 through 14 but then followed by a finishing stretch that yields some scoring opportunities and a gettable 18th hole. Overall how do you manage your strategy for the back nine?

JON RAHM: Well, I think in the past, I could be completely wrong, but the feeling I have is that I haven't been able to play 12, 13, 14 -- 11, 12, 13, 14, as good as I could have, and even 13 and 14, if you can put the ball in the fairway on those two holes, it's not the hardest iron shot into the green, especially 13, it's a wedge shot, right. So I think if you can manage 11 and 12, it would be good. I know I've struggled on 12 in the past. It's a difficult hole now. It's a very long par 4. Could easily be a par 5 with a couple yards added to that tee box.

Honestly, my strategy hopefully is to play a little better. There's no way around it. 11 you need to hit a good iron shot on the green to hopefully have a chance. 12 you need to hit a good tee shot and a good iron shot. I would say 13, 14, comes more with the tee shot than the iron shot, right.

Hopefully I can get it done this year, but whoever is a stats guy out here who can probably figure out, I would say I'm not too far off. I haven't played those holes very well in the past. So yeah, maybe come back to me on Sunday and I'll tell you if I've done anything better on that. Maybe I need to put a little bit more thought into those four holes or emphasize the importance of those four a little bit more.

Q. Obviously as you said, you've taken all this time off, these three months off. How does that change what you'll do after the FedExCup? Will you play more on the Tour in the fall? Will you go over to Europe and play? What's your plans for everything?

JON RAHM: I think it's going to be something I'm going to think about after the U.S. Open and see how the COVID guidelines are around the world. That's going to be my first -- my first concern, right, how safe it's going to be and how things are going to be run.

I don't know my plans yet. I really don't. You know, with the rumors of CJ happening on U.S. soil; that's very enticing to me because from what I heard, it might happen in Vegas: I live in Phoenix; a short flight; a tournament I wanted to play, and it wouldn't be bad to get some FedExCup points before showing up in Maui and being already a thousand points behind. Hopefully if I can, I will.

Right now, I just don't see myself going to Europe. It's rough flying public, having to have a flight, a mask on for ten-plus hours, just doesn't sound very good to me. Doesn't sound healthy at all, so I don't know what I'm going to be doing.

I know I'm defending in Spain and also defending in Dubai. Dubai is so far ahead, we are going to have to see what's going to happen I don't know. Right now my main thought is I don't know if I'm going to be able to go to Spain and see my family at Christmas. That's my bigger thing right now.

If it comes between going to Spain and seeing my family and playing a golf tournament, I'm not playing golf, that's all I can say.

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