June 16, 2022
Brookline, Massachusetts, USA
The Country Club
THE MODERATOR: Jon Rahm, 1-under 69. A long birdie putt on 18 with a first pump. Feels like deja vu. Tell us what you read there.
JON RAHM: It's not really comparable. It's just more of a thank-God-I-made-a-putt-type deal. I feel like I played pretty good golf all day. I just saw a lot of them get close and not go in, and to hit two wayward drives in the last two holes and somehow end up with two birdie putts and making the last one -- it's more the fact of making putt to break par on the first round of the U.S. Open. It's quite a big deal.
THE MODERATOR: Is there anything you learned about the course today?
JON RAHM: Yeah. It's very hard. Honestly, the first five holes when we had no wind, I was thinking we're going to blow the roof off this place. Somebody is going to shoot 6-, 7-under if the wind doesn't pick up, right? Obviously, a well-designed golf course is always difficult. When the crosswinds started coming, it was tough.
Besides 9, I don't remember playing one hole without either straight right to left or straight left to right. It was never straight downwind, and that's a challenge. You have to really strike the ball well to put in those fairways, which I was able to do.
I was never out of position off the tee except the last two holes, but for 16 holes I enjoyed the fairway. (Laughing).
Q. On 17 you hit the first one left and then the provisional left. Was there a moment there where you thought they were both gone? How did you learn that one of them was safe?
JON RAHM: When I hit the first one, I wasn't sure, and obviously, I thought there was a chance of it going left into the -- it's not really penalty, it was just being gone.
I thought I saw somebody give me the safe sign, but I wasn't sure. I was like, I'm not going to waste my time going up there to then come back, so I hit a driver.
While it was going left, we saw somebody give us the safe sign, so I thought, well, if the second one is good, the first one is good for sure. So that was it.
I didn't really realize how close I came. I fully know how lucky I got on that hole, and I tried to take advantage to make a birdie, but I'll take the 4 and run any day of the week.
Q. You mentioned the golf course. Do you think they can kind of turn it up quickly? Was it a function of playing easy today because of the pins, or why did you think it played easy today?
JON RAHM: No wind. No wind and relatively soft conditions early on, so you could hit it close and be aggressive. I'm talking about the first four or five holes.
I was even par. Both James and Collin were under par, and I don't think any of us were doing anything special. So it was like, it could happen, but, again, it's a U.S. Open, right? It's the false hope that it gave me.
As the wind goes on, it gets firmer. This golf can get really difficult. It's a fun part of it. It's not the longest U.S. Open we've played. It's not the trickiest U.S. Open we've played, but with this wind and those greens, they can -- with pin positions, they can make it as hard or easy as they want.
Q. A couple of kids run off with your ball on 18?
JON RAHM: Yes. Yeah, yeah. Somebody -- I'm pretty sure I know who it was. I recognized the two kids that were running the opposite way with a smile on their face. (Laughing). I am 100% sure I saw the two kids that stole it.
Q. I'm curious, when you got the drop from the TIO and everything, what kind of look at the green did you have?
JON RAHM: I'm just really happy somebody spotted the ball first. We knew exactly where it was. Off the tee I was comfortable. I was past all the trees. It was downwind, and that's why it kind of took -- I wasn't trying to go that far left, but I was trying to take it over the trees and over the bunkers.
After the free relief, I had 135 yards to the pin, in an area where the rough wasn't that thick. I don't think they expected anybody to hit it there or be around there, so I was able to drop it in an area that was a little downgrain, and I wasn't in jeopardy of carrying the bunker. That wasn't really a concern.
I think it was 125 to cover the bunker, so ...
Q. Hey, Jon, there were a couple of iron shots in the round that ended up short right. You looked perplexed. Was that mechanical? Did you just misjudge the wind?
JON RAHM: No, that was 100% me.
Q. 100% you?
JON RAHM: There was about five iron shots that I skanked completely. 9, 10, 12, 15, and if I'm missing one there. Yeah, no, they were just bad swings.
In a situation where they were all, in theory, good looks, right? It's just bad swings. That's all I can tell you.
Q. Are you able to -- do you know what you did wrong? Is that something you're going to try to figure out today?
JON RAHM: I'm not too worried. A lot of times when you're in competition and you have all these crosswinds, I think a lot of it was a bit of indecision and doubt in my mind because we weren't exactly sure where the wind was coming from and not committing 100% of the time to the shot.
I think that was the difference. I don't think it was really anything I need to look too far into. Yeah.
Q. Jon, could you just speak briefly about the pairing itself? All three of you played very solidly.
JON RAHM: Yeah. What can I say? We know what Collin does. Pretty steady golfer. It's not the best ball-striking I've ever seen him have, but he had a lot of up-and-downs today that were really impressive that kept the round going.
James, what to expect from a U.S. Am champion, right? He is a talented player. He didn't have his best first -- best starting hole, but when you see somebody make a couple of par putts early on like he did, you know he is comfortable, right? It's only a matter of time until the rest of the game kind of gets going.
He shot 1-under, and I think he played the best of the three of us. He definitely had a chance to shoot lower than both Collin and I.
THE MODERATOR: Jon, thanks for your time.
JON RAHM: Thank you.
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