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June 14, 2014

Rickie Fowler


Q. How do you feel about today's work?
RICKIE FOWLER: Very, very pleased with today's work. Swing-wise, I didn't drive it very well today but kept it in play and stayed out of trouble when I could. Kind of minimized mistakes when I was in trouble, and actually made some good swings in bad spots. One was behind the green in on 9. I had a good look for par from about 18 feet and just accepted bogey. I had to do that a couple of times. But other than that, made some really good iron swings, and got up and down when I needed to. And like I said, it was all about kind of moving forward today.

Q. It's only three shots better than Thursday or Friday, but how much better was it than the first two rounds?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, today played significantly harder than the first two days. Greens were still receptive but not as receptive as the first two days. And some of the pins were tucked more close to the edges. If you got it two paces in the wrong direction, you were off the green and quite a ways away than the shot actually was intended to be. I'm definitely pleased with how I played today.

Q. Can't control what Martin does, but do you feel like you've played yourself right into contention in this tournament?
RICKIE FOWLER: I look at it as similar to what Bubba was doing at the Masters. He was so far out in front that you can't focus on him. I can put myself in contention with the rest of the group, and see what Martin does. If he goes out and posts double digits, it's going to be impossible for us to catch him. It's like a second tournament going on. See what Martin does. He's obviously on top of his game and playing well. Last I saw, he was only 1-over today and that's still a pretty solid round of golf.

Q. Since you won at Quail a couple of years ago, you made a lot of swing changes. How would you say your game is right now compared to when you won there?
RICKIE FOWLER: It's definitely a lot more mature. I'm hitting it harder. I'm older. I'm definitely more in control of my golf swing and more in control of the golf ball, and unfortunately my results haven't showed it this year. I've been a bit up and down in some cuts, and most of the cuts I've missed in my whole professional career. But it's definitely the best my game has been, and it's only going to keep getting better from here.

Q. (Inaudible.)
RICKIE FOWLER: It was downwind on 17 today, and I think the cover was 180 at the pin. I saw Strick hit a little 6-iron and it landed a little long and it didn't have enough spin to stay on the green. The shot I was seeing with the pin on the right was kind of a decent sized cut on a 7-iron. Probably hit about a 10- to 15-yard cut. I was aiming left and really trying to work it. Being downwind the cuts kind of help hold it up in the air and then come down a little bit softer than a draw would. It started a fraction right of where I was aiming and drifted a little bit further right. It hit our number perfectly, and I was pin-high and had a great look for making 2 there.

Q. How about taking your medicine behind 9? Was there a time in this championship that you might not have done that?
RICKIE FOWLER: Not yet. I've stayed away from making big numbers. I've accepted bogeys when I've had to. There's some times where you can really be trying to play safely and accept -- take the medicine and walk away. But the margin for error out here is so minimal that you just miss it a little bit and you're on the other side where you're trying to leave it short and going the other direction. You still have to be aggressive even when you're trying to play safely to assure that you're going to be safe from not anymore mistakes from there. Behind the green on 9, I was in kind of a sandy hole. You can't really pitch it from there and just took putter and made sure I hit it hard enough to get up there. And if it happened to hop, it may come out a little soft and come out perfect. But I was accepting 15 to 20 feet past the hole there.

Q. Did you hear the crowd on 16 react in the background to the other putt?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, Poulter made his before I was kind of getting up over the putt. And sometimes I back off, sometimes I don't. I just thought it would be cool to get a roar going back to 16. I hit a really good putt. It broke a little bit more early than I had anticipated, and luckily it kind of went in the right center there.

Q. The short ones you made before that, 6-, 7-footers for par?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, especially the two holes before that I had -- they were both five to seven feet or so. And just had to trust my read and trust my feet and my eyes when I was up over the ball to know that the line on the ball and my read was correct. I made two really good strokes and it went in. Definitely kept the momentum going.

Q. (Inaudible.)
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, you know, 5 has been reachable every day, the tee's been up. Even when it was back into the wind the tee was up. It was reachable. I didn't hit a very good drive today so I couldn't go for it. If you hit a good drive there -- I think the first day and today guys were having irons in. It is a bit of a risk-reward. But if you put yourself in the right position around that green, you can give yourself a good look at 4.

Q. What technically, from your work with Butch, has positioned you to play well in this environment?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I definitely have a lot more control of my golf swing, a lot less hand is involved in the swing. More the body rotation through the ball is a little shorter, and less late off at the top. So I'm able to have a little shorter turn and get the club out in front of me and basically just turn from there. So I'm not relying on really any timing unless I'm trying to hit some sort of big cut or big draw, for the most part it's fairly simple. It's a lot more -- I don't know -- it's a lot easier, that's for sure.

Q. Is 17 a shot that the swing changes have helped you pull off easier?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, as far as trusting that I would start it on line and cut it from there. Typically I would be a little underneath and the shot prior to that probably would have been more of a push cut. And like I said, it started a fraction right of where I was trying to, but I'm starting the ball on my lines. That one I just have to be a fraction off and 15 feet right of the hole, take it.

Q. What about the crowd support? You had a roar on 10, and 18 you have a standing ovation when you hit your tee shot. Talk about your crowd and your relationship there.
RICKIE FOWLER: The fans have been awesome this week. It's pretty impressive the amount of people that are out here watching the golf. And even when I was driving in before my tee time today, just seeing the amount of people out there watching. Pretty cool to be able to play in this environment. And definitely walking up 18 has a little bit of a feeling kind of like having the big stands over at the British Open. The fans have been awesome, and hopefully they can get some out here next week for the girls and give them a little bit of feel for what we got.

Q. (Inaudible.) Did you feel like a 67 was out there this morning?
RICKIE FOWLER: With control of the golf ball it is. I mean, you definitely have to stay away from making big numbers. And bogeys are going to happen. I knew it was a possibility, but I knew I had to play some really good golf. I didn't see much of the coverage, just saw a little bit. I saw the greens were a little bit of different color, pins were tucked in the corners a little bit more. We have to be patient and play safe some lines at times. There's only a few times where you can get aggressive and actually try and make birdies here.

Q. How is the course holding up? We're wondering a bit about the condition of the course for two Major championships on back-to-back weeks?
RICKIE FOWLER: The course is awesome. Like I talked about earlier, the greens are fairly receptive when you are playing out of the fairway or if you have a clean lie in the native area. So the big thing is good ball-striking, to have control of your golf ball and landing it in the right areas. If you don't, and mis-hit and get the ball moving off line a bit, you're not going to be hitting greens. If you hit good shots and have control of your golf ball, it's definitely a playable golf course right now. I know the plan is that they're going to slow it up a little bit and have the greens a little bit softer, which it's going to play the same as it did for us as it does for them. They don't spin the ball as much, and the ball is not as high in the air. I think it will be cool to watch the girls next week. I know it's going to be a tough challenge for them with the greens. They're going to have to pitch the ball a lot or putt it from off the green. It will be a tough test for them.

Q. You had a good showing at Augusta. Do you feel the big stage pulls something extra out of you?
RICKIE FOWLER: The main goal going into the year was to be ready to play Augusta and be ready for the majors and go contend in the majors. If you look back at this year and I'm sitting there and in September and October, I look back and I was in contention in all four Majors, and obviously have two more to go, I really wouldn't care about what happened in the other tournaments, just because my main goals were to be ready for the majors. And to contend here. So I put myself in that position at Augusta and I've done that this week. So I would definitely be very happy at the end of the year if I was in contention at all four Majors.

Q. Are you going to wear knickers tomorrow?
RICKIE FOWLER: No knickers for tomorrow, just straight up orange.

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