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July 18, 2013

Rafa Cabrera Bello


MIKE WOODCOCK: Rafael, thanks very much for joining us this afternoon. An excellent start to your week with a 4-under, par 67. You must be delighted with that start.
RAFAEL CABRERA-BELLO: Yes, absolutely. I mean, today the weather was very good. It was nice to come here and feel that the heat is still going on. There's still no rain. It's still sunny, so for us Spaniards, especially for me coming from the Canary Islands, it is something I really enjoy. I really appreciate. And everything today -- I mean, I was enjoying every second of the day as soon as I got here.
MIKE WOODCOCK: This is your second Open Championship.
RAFAEL CABRERA-BELLO: My second Open, yeah.

Q. Well done. What would it mean, it's 25 years since Seve won it at Leatham, what would it mean to have two Spaniards up at the top of the leaderboard, yourself and Miguel, what would it mean to win an Open 25 years on from the greatest Spaniard of them all?
RAFAEL CABRERA-BELLO: It is only the first day, really. I have not even thought about winning or anything like that. Obviously it would be a huge dream, but it's not something that I, myself, am thinking about or have set as a goal at the moment.

Q. Miguel was just in before you in that chair, how much of an inspiration has he been to players like yourself?
RAFAEL CABRERA-BELLO: Yes, definitely Miguel has been one of the top players, who I consider the top players, who has influenced my game. I've played the European Tour, this is my 8th or 7th year already, and he's been very nice, very helpful, not just with me but all the young guys that get on Tour. I think he has a great attitude, different, but very admirable way of how he looks at the golf and how he takes golf into part of his life. So he's definitely been a good reference point, yes.

Q. I'm also thinking you're a former amateur champion?
RAFAEL CABRERA-BELLO: No, no, I am runner-up at the British Boys Championship.

Q. Experiences like that of links golf, that's a long time ago, but does that help you when you come to an event like this, the conditions?
RAFAEL CABRERA-BELLO: Yes, absolutely. I'm from Spain and I haven't got a chance to play as much links golf as I would have liked to in my home country, but I have played a lot of links golf as an amateur and as a professional, as well. And I really love links golf. I think it gets all the imagination out of a player. Really, really, you go back to a game where you're playing with feel, rather than being so mechanical or so much into numbers, and that's why I enjoy it so much.

Q. The Spanish guys seem to have a very tight-knit sort of almost team approach to what is an individual sport. How important is that to have that sort of network around you? Is Miguel, is he more or less the Spanish team captain?
RAFAEL CABRERA-BELLO: I think definitely there is very good camaraderie between all the Spanish guys. It's something that makes it very enjoyable our life on Tour. We go out to dinner every night together. Not necessarily that Miguel is the captain, because we call captain Olazabal, who has been our captain. But jokes aside, I mean, he's definitely a very big part of the team, if you want to call it, or the Spanish Armada, or however you want to catalog it.

Q. Do you share a similar approach to Miguel in terms of preparation, cigars and or are you from a very different --
RAFAEL CABRERA-BELLO: Well, physically I look physically a little different to Miguel. Not saying that I look better, I'm just saying different. But what I admire about Miguel is that -- and it's something that I have tried to copy is that every time Miguel goes to any tournament or he tees up on the first tee of any tournament, he's given himself everything he needs to feel comfortable, to feel relaxed and to feel that he's enjoying every second of that week. And whether that is his wines or that is his cigars, whatever he needs, he just gives them to himself, and that way he tees up on every tournament just fully confident on himself, completely enjoying every part of the week, and with giving himself the best chance to perform as good as we all know he can.

Q. Are you a gym user? Do you take a more athletic view of things?
RAFAEL CABRERA-BELLO: Well, I mean, I don't smoke. I am younger. I like to do a lot of sports. I like to ski. I like water sports such as surfing, which is my favorite hobby. So obviously I have a more athletic body, I'm younger, and I'm from a different generation of golfers, where power is starting to become more and more necessary, and it will turn into that way with years to come. So, yeah, my approach is different but, I mean I don't smoke a cigar, but I do try to do stuff so that I get up to the first tee enjoying myself as much as Miguel does.

Q. You've been quite close to a Ryder Cup team before, I think. So next year at Gleneagles, is that a definite target for you?
RAFAEL CABRERA-BELLO: Well, I mean, yes, as you say, last year I felt I was fighting to try to make the Ryder Cup team, pretty much till the last tournament. Ryder Cup is not this year, but it has always been a dream. But now, yes, since I really felt that last year I could have had the chance of making the team had I been able to perform a little bit better, well, maybe next year it is a goal. I feel that if I improve a little bit this year and give myself a better chance next year, I could do it. At the moment I am not thinking about it, but I'm sure that having had the chance and having felt it doable last year, I will, for sure, try to achieve it next time.

Q. You mentioned you liked skiing, has Miguel's accident put you off at all?
RAFAEL CABRERA-BELLO: No, not really, no. It was a misfortunate accident. It could happen to any of us. But I just -- I ski. I have a good level of skiing. So I am cautious and I try to be careful, but I also try to enjoy it. So far, touch wood, nothing has happened.

Q. You talked about copying some things from Miguel. I take it a ponytail is out at some stage?
RAFAEL CABRERA-BELLO: No, I've tried to grow my hair a little bit, but it completely defies the laws of gravity. So I'm not going to let that happen again (laughter).
MIKE WOODCOCK: Thanks very much for coming in. A great start. Well done.

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