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July 18, 2014

Rickie Fowler


MIKE WOODCOCK: We'd like to welcome Rickie Fowler into the interview room. Rickie, that's a 3-under par 69 today. I think that leaves you four shots off the lead. Can you give us your thoughts on today's round, please.

RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, all in all, a great start for the first two days. I definitely feel like I can improve on the first two days. I left a little bit out there. Today I didn't feel great with the putter. My eyes were a bit off, so I kind of scraped it around. Was able to make a few and get in with a good, solid round. So I'm excited for the weekend see if we can get a few things ironed out and keep moving forward.

Q. How do you get out of alignment like that so quickly from day to day with your putter?
RICKIE FOWLER: Probably slept on the wrong side. My eyes are very sensitive and anything -- it can be from setup throwing your eyes off. I think some of the setup things that I struggle with sometimes, my hips get open, my shoulders get shut and my head gets behind the ball. If any of those are just a little off, and my head is not in the proper position, then my eyes aren't able to see the line properly. So I usually use EyeLine putting device, which has a mirror. I'm able to check everything there. I'll just use that to go through a checklist and see where everything is at. And typically it's a pretty easy, quick fix. But, yeah, day to day, I mean, one little thing, and it can throw off your eyes.

Q. Compared to previous Opens, Rickie, how much sharper does your game feel this year having played last week?
RICKIE FOWLER: Playing last week at the Scottish Open definitely helps coming over, and being that we don't play links golf hardly at all through the year, the first couple of days there kind of getting reacquainted with it and going through how much wind affects the ball over here and just remembering how much you can bounce the ball, depending on conditions. So this year is definitely the most comfortable I've felt in all the majors so far. I'm excited about this weekend.

Q. In terms of Sergio being within the group, how much were you two spurring each other on by what the other guy was doing?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, Sergio and I, we've become really good buddies, and we've played a lot together. We've been paired together numerous times over the past year, year and a half. So we've enjoyed playing together. It always seems like the two of us play well when we're in the group. And he seems like -- I swear, scoring average is 68 or better, the rounds we've played together. We enjoy it. It's good company. It's definitely nice when you can have a good chat. The two of us are playing well, and you can kind of keep feeding off each other.

Q. Just to go back to the eye thing, does it affect line or pace, or is it a combination of both?
RICKIE FOWLER: It can affect a bit of everything. When the eyes are off, you don't feel comfortable with the line. Sometimes you get maybe what they call a little line locked, where you're so focused on trying to start the ball on line, then you forget about what pace you're trying to hit it. So it can have an effect all over. So my pace wasn't great today, and part of the reason was that I was trying to focus on getting the ball started where I wanted to. We'll get it checked out and look at it tomorrow and get it going the right way.

Q. You talked about your comfort level this week, is this the first major where it's not that you're hoping to contend but you're expecting to contend?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, probably the first one I came in with the intention to be here for the weekend. The Masters and the U.S. Open, those were the ones that -- the goal going into the year was to be in contention at majors and have good finishes and have a chance to win them. The U.S. Open was definitely the most comfortable I had felt in a major. And then I feel like this week is the most definitely very comfortable and comfortable with the expectations of knowing I want to be in contention and want to be here to have a chance to win the golf tournament. So it's fun going through the process and kind of moving forward and putting myself in positions to be around for the weekends at majors.

Q. What would have been the first time you saw Rory play or played with him? And what did you think of his game at that time?
RICKIE FOWLER: The first time I met him and played against him and seen him play was at the Walker Cup in '07, County Down. He played Billy in both individual matches. The only time I played against him was in foursomes on Saturday afternoon, I believe. Or Saturday -- somewhere in there. He turned pro right after that and I waited another two years. So I was able to -- I think we caught up a year or two later at the U.S. Open, and he was already off and running. But it's been fun to kind of watch him go on and keep progressing. It was definitely impressive at the Walker Cup. I know he was kind of their go-to guy as being the star. And I feel like he's done definitely a really good job of living up to the expectations and playing well. I know it's not easy to have those expectations and to do what he's done.

Q. What about his game (inaudible)?
RICKIE FOWLER: When his driver is on, he's almost unstoppable. He's a very good driver of the ball when he is on. I know he gets a little off here and there. But there's not -- I don't think he has a whole lot of weakness. I know there's been a couple of Fridays where he's struggled a little bit and kind of fallen back. But it seems like he just gets a little off with the driver, misses a few putts and the momentum goes the other way. He's not scared. He's not scared to go and keep going. So if he's playing the way he is right now and keeps playing through the weekend, he's definitely going to be tough to catch. But I know the weather could throw in a little mix there tomorrow. We'll see what happens. But it's fun to get to go out and battle against him.

Q. Tiger just made a very nervy putt at 18, his first birdie of the day.
RICKIE FOWLER: About time.

Q. To make the cut on the number. Your thoughts?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, he's another guy that's not exactly scared. He's been known to come through in a few big situations. So I guarantee you he knew exactly what he needed to do. I know the cut has a chance to go to 3-over, but I'm sure he wouldn't want to sit in the clubhouse and wait and see if it does that. He's definitely special. That's not the first putt he's ever made.

MIKE WOODCOCK: Thank you Rickie, thanks for coming in. And best of luck on the weekend.
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