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January 12, 2010

Rickie Fowler

TOBY ZWIKEL: Rickie, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule in Honolulu to be with us.
Rickie, two quick things from me, then we'll turn it over to the media. First of all, can you talk a bit about your season after you turned professional last year, just talk about your outstanding season the rest of the way, then participating in the Q School.
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, you know, kind of the main plan turning pro then was to go out to those few events I had spots and to get some playing time in, then go the first day to Q School, just to play that well was kind of exceeding the expectations I think a bit, my own in a way. It was nice to be able to go straight to Third Stage. To be playing that well going into Third Stage gave me a little bit more confidence.
Went into that week, and I'd say it was a little bit more stress-free than most people have to deal with out there. Went around for those six rounds, played fairly well, got our card. So that was the main goal, turning pro in September.
TOBY ZWIKEL: And talk a bit, if you would, about your mindset starting your 2010 season, obviously this week in Honolulu, then playing for the first time in the Bob Hope Classic next week.
RICKIE FOWLER: I'm just looking forward to this full year. It's nice to start it over here in Hawaii. Kind of like an extended vacation. Then to get to go back near home and play a few events, kind of a little bit of a slower start to the schedule for me, to be here in Hawaii, then some time around home to kind of relax.
So looking forward to it. Like I said, just looking forward to a full season out here.
TOBY ZWIKEL: Thanks, Rickie. At this time we'll open it up to questions from the media, please.

Q. Just wondering if you're familiar with a couple of amateurs who went up to the top of the rankings after you did, Matt Hill and Nick Taylor, wondering if there's any plans to come to Canada this year?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I've gotten to know both Matt and Nick a bit over the last couple of years through college and amateur golf. They're both great players, as their play has shown in the last couple years.
As of right now, I haven't really looked that far into the schedule. I know I definitely would like to play get a chance to come up there. I've only been up there a few times to play. The Canadian Open would definitely be a possibility on the schedule. Just, like I said, haven't really gone that far in the schedule yet.

Q. You mentioned coming back to Southern California. Could you tell us what your schedule is on the West Coast. I know you played a lot of golf at the high school level at least in the Coachella Valley. What would it be like to play the Hope here.
RICKIE FOWLER: The schedule, right now, the Hope and San Diego for sure. I'm working at getting a spot in L.A. Questionable on the AT&T. But really looking forward to the Hope. Like you said, I played quite a bit out there in the desert. I started out there probably when I was about seven or eight playing junior golf, then played a lot of high school golf out there, as well.
Just looking forward to spending some time around home in Southern Cal at the Hope and San Diego, as well.

Q. Have you ever played or attended the Hope as a gallery member?
RICKIE FOWLER: No, I haven't.

Q. At the Shark Shootout, Mark Calcavecchia, who you played against there, was talking about the shot that impressed him. I hope you remember it. He said it was at the fourth hole there, might have been the first or second day, 143 yards, but you hit a 6-iron. There was something about the way you played that shot that really impressed him. If you remember it, can you tell me about that shot, what you were trying to do with it. If not, just talk about how important imagination is to the game to you.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I remember it. The hole, the wind was in and out of the right, and the pin was tucked a bit front left. There's water short left, which runs along the whole left side of the green. I hit a shot prior on the hole before where I controlled the flight.
On that hole, I was just trying to control the distance along with the spin and the flight. The way I was really brought up learning the game at the local driving range where I worked with the guy that I've worked with since I was seven through high school, Barry McDonnell. We would sit on the driving range, work on hitting different shots, learning the game that way. I never was really into using the camera. He never used a video camera. I was always a feel player and still am.
That was kind of a feel shot trying to control the ball flight. I feel like there's not very many young guys coming out now that can hit a lot of those shots when they need to.

Q. Did you hit that ball really low then and how close did you hit it?
RICKIE FOWLER: I think I hit it in there about 10 feet. Not necessarily I hit it low. It was, I'd say, kind of a medium trajectory. But just the way the ball flew, the wind didn't touch it much. I was hitting more of a three-quarter shot, and the ball, it stayed flat. Just the way I controlled the spin to where the ball wasn't going to do much in the air and on the ground.

Q. Did you make the putt?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, it was alternate shot, so Marco rolled it in for me.

Q. Can you give me a capsulization of the deal with Puma, what you like about that company?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, the whole thing started to kind of unravel, I had a friend of a friend who was with Puma, then we started working with them. You know, I had always liked Puma, just kind of their whole image and what they shoot for, especially on the golf scene. They're kind of edgy, non-traditional. They have some colors to their line that most clothing lines don't, and shoes to match the clothes.
You know, I know they were coming after me, but I was kind of going after them. I really liked what they had. I just felt like it was a perfect fit with me kind of coming from a different background with the motorcross background. Not exactly the normal, traditional golfer, fast and quick, like to play fast and have fun on the court, kind of flashy and stick out, not exactly wear the everyday golf clothes.

Q. You kind of like that perspective then for yourself?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah. I'm not exactly the traditional golfer. I didn't grow up at a country club. Just a kid that grew up at a driving range, used to beat buckets of balls.

Q. A few minutes ago you used the word 'expectation.' What's your expectation for this year and what kind of goals have you set?
RICKIE FOWLER: You know, goal-wise I'd like to obviously keep the card and to I'd say in the first few weeks get off to somewhat of a decent start, get a good reshuffle number. Expectations, I know there's a lot of people out there expecting a lot of me or not expecting a lot.
With the pressure, I felt like I've dealt with it pretty well throughout the years, junior, amateur, college. So really my own expectations is just to get the most that I can out of every week 'cause, you know, you can be on top of the game one week and then you're struggling the next.
I would say, like I said, kind of just being able to get the most out of each week. You know, I expect myself to play well obviously, whether that be winning a few events or maybe some top 10s here and there. You know, like I've told a few people already, just kind of really looking forward to getting a full year out here and trying to go without having too many expectations, have fun, play stress-free golf.

Q. Where is that driving range that you grew up at?
RICKIE FOWLER: It's down in Murrieta off of Kalmia and Washington.

Q. Is it still there?

Q. Do you spend any time there?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I go down there a little bit. I haven't spent much time at home in the last year, with college in the winter, spring, and the summer I was on the road quite a bit, and the fall series I was out playing some PGA TOUR events.
But, yeah, I like to get down, hang out with some of the guys down there. It's a good spot to go work on the game every once in a while.

Q. What were the kind of guys that you hung out with there when you first started? An eclectic group; not all serious golfers?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I mean, we would have chipping and putting tournaments there. I mean, kind of just laid-back driving range golfers. My coach was there. A lot of the guys that I played high school golf with, we all hung out there and practiced.
You know, anywhere from guys that were five years old to 80 years old. Just everyone who loved the game.

Q. Do you still follow motorcross much?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah. I still have a lot of friends that ride and race, so... Still keep up with it quite a bit. Like I said, I have a lot of friends in the industry.

Q. Just wanted to talk to you a little bit about now living here in Las Vegas a little bit. Can you talk about some of your matches with some of your fellow Las Vegas TOUR pros and your experience living in Las Vegas to this point.
RICKIE FOWLER: It's been great. I really haven't been able to spend a whole bunch of time there with being on the road and then having the holiday season spent in California, Florida. But it's been great. A lot of good guys there. Really enjoying spending time out there at TPC Summerlin.
You know, looking forward to having a few weeks off at times, being able to hang out and spend some time there.

Q. Have you had any practice sessions with any of the local guys? You're friends with Scott Piercy.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I practiced with Piercy and his caddie a little bit, especially when we were both in town. Then Cameron Tringale is actually thinking about moving in with me soon. So we'll add another one to the area.
But, yeah, like you said, there's a lot of great guys that are around, a good group that hang out at TPC Summerlin, Hoffman, Mallinger, (indiscernible), Lundy. There's a lot of good guys up there.

Q. With your motorcross background, what prompted you to pick up the golf club?
RICKIE FOWLER: I started riding and playing golf about the same time. So I had done both since I was three. You know, I was always more into golf. I liked the individual aspect, kind of doing things on my own. I mean, it's the same way with riding, too. But there was something about golf that just drew me in a little bit more.
I still ride every once in a while, hop on the bike to kind of go out and have a little bit of free time, let loose a bit. But, you know, I think like the riding has helped me a bit with golf. It's something I'll never give up.

Q. What about the Oklahoma State connection?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, Oklahoma State, I went there just 'cause it was the best golf program in the nation. That was really one of the main reasons. They had a great setup, great guys on the team, good coaching staff. I really loved the two years that I was there. Definitely I stay in touch with all of guys there, the coaches and the players. You know, I still feel like I'm really involved with the program.
It's tough not being able to be with those guys on the road, hang out with those guys on a daily basis. Like I said, I stay in touch. So I feel like I'm a little bit part of the program still.

Q. I was wondering, you actually kind of mentioned some of the answers to this earlier. But there's a lot of people touting you, there's a guy out here on one of our radio programs who said that he expects you, because of the absence of the world No. 1, like you're one of the guys that's going to come through and step up and become this new golf star. Is that a lot additional pressure? Do you feel the additional pressure from comments like that?
RICKIE FOWLER: No, not really. I mean, it's definitely cool that people are out there talking about me like that. But, you know, I look at it as people are saying it, there's that possibility. I'll just go out and keep doing what I've been doing: just keep playing my game. If I put myself in that situation, it would be awesome.
I really don't try and worry much about what people are saying or writing about me. Just kind of, you know, Joe and I go out there on the course, go do our thing. If we're playing well, we'll go for it and try to make as many birdies as we can.

Q. All the hype that we were talking about building around you, are you noticing that? Also, is there anything you've read or heard that's kind of surprised you or made you laugh, taken you aback?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I mean, with the hype, like I said, it's pretty cool that people are talking about me like that, have somewhat of those high expectations. But I just go look at them as more possibilities. If I do that, then it would be awesome.
But, you know, just looking forward to being able to play out here for the full year, so...

Q. Nothing you read that's kind of made you chuckle, Leonardo DiCaprio stuff?
RICKIE FOWLER: The comparisons, sometimes people give me a hard time about the hair, the hat, the hats are too big, they're flopping over my ears, stuff like that. But it's what I'm doing. It's kind of my own style. I'm not going to change just because one person doesn't like it. I'll just keep doing my own thing, keep trying to get the ball in the hole, and hopefully making some birdies.

Q. Twice in the last three years a native Southern Californian has earned his first win at the Hope. How do you think your game sets up for the Hope?
RICKIE FOWLER: I think my game sets up well. If I'm playing well, it sets up well for any course. So like I said earlier, I'm really looking forward to being able to play in Southern Cal a little bit, especially starting out. Definitely looking forward to getting out to the Hope.
I like that two Southern Cal natives won it the last two years. We'll try to make that three. But we're just out trying to play the best we can each week. If that happens to be at the Hope, that's great.
TOBY ZWIKEL: Rickie, thank you for your time in joining us on this conference call.

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