March 22, 2022
Austin, Texas, USA
Austin Country Club
THE MODERATOR: I'm delighted to welcome back World No. 1 Jon Rahm here to the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play event. Great to be back in Austin and this golf course as well, you've had some success at in the past. What do you enjoy about coming here as a match play venue and what do you think the course has to offer?
JON RAHM: Well, I haven't been out on the course yet. We didn't really have that much time yesterday. But it's a tournament I always look forward to. It's a nice break in the thick of the season. When things are starting to get a little bit more intense, to have an event in which it's match play, it's fun, it's a lot more exciting, at least for me. Not a lot more, but a little bit different vibe, where you can just play one-on-one golf and just take care of the guy in front of you instead of a four-day grind, especially weeks like PLAYERS where you get weather delays.
Looking forward to it and excited to be back. I've had some success here, so hopefully I can repeat it and have another good week.
THE MODERATOR: Just in terms of your group, as well, obviously a number of guys that you may have played in the past, Patrick Reed, Cameron Young, SebastiĆ”n MuĆ±oz. Just your thoughts on those matchups looking ahead to the week.
JON RAHM: I haven't thought too much about it. I played with SebastiĆ”n last year and I was able to get out ahead, but it was a tight match all the way to 18. So hopefully this year I can play like I have been tee to green and maybe get it done earlier.
The other two, I don't think I've played Patrick in this event, and I definitely haven't played Cameron. Both tough competitors. We all know what Patrick Reed can do. We all know how he plays in match play and how well he can do, and Cameron has been playing great golf all year.
Like every group it'll be a difficult one. You've got to play good golf, but like I said, I'm excited about it.
Q. Following up on what you were just talking about, I think a lot of people have flagged that Rahm versus Reed match as being particularly good. Do you get more excited for something like that when you see the draw? Do you go, ooh, that's going to be interesting?
JON RAHM: Yes and no. I mean, not particularly in any sense. Like it's just -- you don't know what's going to happen, and I think it's one to be aware of just because we all know how good his short game can be. He's a tough competitor. He's not going to give it to you easy. But like that, everybody, right? Anybody can show up and have their best day and make you have a hard time.
One of my toughest matches out here that I ended up losing was against a good friend of mine who's Chez Reavie, who I think most people wouldn't think much about. Again, it's match play, and on this course, it doesn't matter.
On paper, it does have some appeal to it. I can see that.
Q. If somebody were to ask you for your best one or two pieces of advice for match play specifically, whether it's psychological, playing, whatever, what would you say?
JON RAHM: It's all so personal. I think we all think different. I think it's never giving up. I know it sounds so cliche, but if you're 5 down, six holes to play, try to win on 6. It's never over until it's over, and momentum is a massive thing.
One swing can change it all, and it can happen. You don't need to play perfect. You don't need to do anything special, you just need to play golf and beat the man in front of you. If you just keep that mindset of being aggressive and just fighting for every shot, you should probably do fine in match play.
Q. You guys are always getting feedback on your games, how are you playing, what parts do you need to work on, et cetera. How does that change in match play where you might only play a match that goes 12 holes? How does it change in terms of trying to figure out where you are with your game? Is it helpful, this different format, or is it sort of confusing to try and figure out where your game is?
JON RAHM: I think no matter how many holes we play, we all know where our game is. I don't need anybody outside myself to tell me what's going on. I can tell you perfectly fine.
Yeah, I really don't know what else to say. It's match play, so it doesn't matter how you play, just get it done. Score one less than the player you're playing against on each hole, and you'll be fine.
You don't need to make it look pretty, you just need to make it actually work and hopefully win. It doesn't matter how many holes you play, it still can be a great indicator how things are going.
Q. The state of your game, how would you describe it? Statistically it looks like the only thing maybe that's missing at this point is the putting. Is that how you would describe it?
JON RAHM: I'm kind of getting tired of answering the same question every single week. When you're No. 1 off the tee and top 10 in strokes gained approach, my putting stats are not going to be top 20. It's absolutely impossible unless I'm winning every single week by eight. Kind of how it goes.
Is it as good as it could be? No, but I think it shows in the stats worse than it actually feels just because I'm hitting so many greens and hitting it so good.
Again, I feel like I've said it a few times. It's not as bad as it looks. It feels a lot better than it looks. Maybe I haven't gotten the results yet, but I'm not worried about it.
Q. Given the nature of match play where you can play really well and end up getting beat, have you realized a way that you can separate the performance from the result, whereas have you ever been in a match where you lost but you felt like, I played well?
JON RAHM: Oh, yeah, many times. It happens. It just happens. Especially in the later matches. You can just have everybody is playing well, everybody is playing good golf, and you can go out there and make a solid seven, eight birdies, the person in front of you makes nine and you lose. It happens many times in plenty of matches.
I've definitely had a lot of those. There's been years where I didn't make it through the round-robin, and I couldn't really be upset just because I knew I played well. I just simply -- it was a small margin why I didn't make it through.
It's something that's very possible. There will be a lot of people out there who after Friday will probably be thinking, I didn't play bad at all, and they're not making it through.
It happens. It's also the other way around where there's been matches when I hit it terrible and I just somehow get it in the hole and end up winning. And you're like, I don't know how I would have done in stroke play, but it's match play. So that's the beauty of it.
Q. Is it fair to say then that maybe losing at this event doesn't hit as hard as maybe losing at another event because of that, you can play well and lose?
JON RAHM: Yeah, you can't take it too hard on yourself unless you know you played terrible, you made certain mistakes. If you play good golf, I wouldn't worry too much. It can happen. It can really happen.
Q. Can you tell when you go out in a match if a guy is there locked in on that or if he's here working on his game or trying to get somewhere for the future? Can you feel that in an opponent?
JON RAHM: God, I'm really not usually paying attention that much. I mean, there's some times where you have somebody struggle. It can happen. As a player you try to take advantage of it and try to finish as early as possible if you're playing good against him. I can't remember if I've played against anybody that was particularly working through some game issues. I really can't point it out.
Q. Does this event or this format highlight those players that are really hungry for trophies and titles as opposed to TOUR cards and their future, et cetera?
JON RAHM: I have no idea. I don't know. I can't tell you what's in a player's mind.
But yeah, I guess you need to have more attitude of winning rather than posting a score. Obviously Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday in a regular event, you go out there and if you don't have your best, you're trying to post 1- or 2-under, something that's not going to take you out of contention. Out here it really doesn't matter. You've just got to beat the guy in front of you. I guess the mindset may be more about winning, but I'm pretty sure if you're in this event, your TOUR card shouldn't be in jeopardy for too long.
Q. Did you see any difference in Scottie Scheffler's game that allowed him to win a couple times on the TOUR, and how close do you think he is to maybe winning a major with his game?
JON RAHM: Difference as to when? Because he's been playing great golf for a long time. It's just sometimes you just need to get it done. He was very close many times. He's a great player. Obviously you can see what happens when he gets it done once, right? You get a little bit of confidence and the ball gets rolling, you can get into a few.
But the first win is the hardest one. I feel like you need to get out of your head a little bit, and the earlier the better. Lucky for me, I was able to do it early. He had to wait a little bit. But still very early in his career.
Yeah, does he have the ability to win a major? Yes. But now we're in the same boat. It's all up here. It's nothing else.
Does he have the ability? Yes. Yes, he does.
Q. We're obviously playing match play this week. You've won the team event at Zurich before. I'm just curious if you have any ideas or you would like to see any other formats and if any could fit into the TOUR schedule.
JON RAHM: I don't know if there's any other. But the diversity makes it really fun. We have, what, 40-plus PGA TOUR events a year, and only two that are not stroke play -- well, three technically that are not stroke play.
Yeah, I mean, it would be fun to have more different options out there. I don't know what it may be, but I think it would be fun to have a couple different ones just to change it up, not only for us, but for the spectators, as well.
Q. What kind of games do you play back home with some of the guys?
JON RAHM: Well, you can't really play it out here.
Q. Why not?
JON RAHM: You can't be playing a Wolf tournament out here. I really have no idea how you'd do the prize and things like that. And I think it would be a little bit too hectic if we're playing Wolf and Hammer and different games out there.
But I think more dual events could be really fun. I think if it ever happened where you've got PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour players together could be really cool. Just legal things that could make the game a little bit better and grow the game out a little bit.
Q. I'd vote for a Wolf tournament but that's just me. After you won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines last year, did you feel like you cracked a code, or is there a code for winning major championships? And also, what do you know about Southern Hills where the PGA is going to be here in about a month?
JON RAHM: I wish there was a code. I wish because at this point I feel like we would all know it. But if there is a code, it's personal to each own.
No, I mean, winning a major championship is difficult, but I think getting it done gives you a little bit of that experience and belief that you have nothing to prove in that regard. You just need to go out there and do what you have to do.
Southern Hills, I know very little about. Never been there before, so I'm excited to see it. I've heard great things about the golf course. I know it's a challenge. Hopefully it's not as hot as it was last time in '07, which it shouldn't be because we're not going to be there in August, and just looking forward to it.
I couldn't tell you anything about it.
Q. Do you try to go ahead of time?
JON RAHM: I don't know if I'm going to have the time.
Q. A weekend player plays a match and might be terrified by a bunker shot or a tight lie pitch. At this level, what's the scariest shot you could encounter in a match, one that actually gets your nerves tingling?
JON RAHM: Well, I think it would be a putt to extend the match basically. But there is a weird sense of -- when it's do or die, of -- a weird sense of freedom in the sense of you only have one option. You have to make it and that's it. In my case, I've been able to do it a couple times. It kind of gives you a little bit of extra focus.
Now, you talk about golf in general, it's one of those 40-, 50-yard bunker shots, 30- to 50-yard range right there that probably would be the hardest. But there's plenty of shots out there that would make any of us nervous, especially when the wind gets going like it is right now or this tent starts blowing sideways every 10 seconds. But nothing special. Like there's not one shot I would say, oh, this is going to make everybody nervous, each one is different, each one thinks different.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports