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November 5, 2014

Rickie Fowler


ROYCE THOMPSON:  We'd like to welcome Rickie Fowler to the interview room.  Last season, Rickie finished in the top 5 in all four majors, ten Top‑10s and a career‑best ninth in the FedExCup at the end of the season.
Rickie, just talk about starting your season here in Shanghai.
RICKIE FOWLER:  Yeah, coming off a strong season last year.  Coming into the following season a little bit differently than I did last year.  Last year I was looking to kind of turn the corner, get things started, go and contend in majors and did just that.
So this year is a little different outlook I would have to say after my year last year.  Looking forward to building on my performances and a great way to start here with a great field here at HSBC.

Q.  Would you call your work with Butch a rebuild or a retool?
RICKIE FOWLER:  I wouldn't say a rebuild.  In a way it was just making the swing more efficient, making it work a little bit more properly fundamentally, making it more sound.  But didn't really‑‑ I guess we didn't take‑‑ the swing wasn't broken so it was just kind of changing a couple little things to make it better.

Q.  And then Martin kind of made a point when he was going through his, which was more of a rebuild, when you're doing that to kind of accept the fact that you might not contend every week and you might not make cuts and if you do shoot 66 it might be a happy accident.  Did you do that when you were in the throws of the early stages?
RICKIE FOWLER:  I knew early in the year it was going to be tough and going out, playing tournaments I couldn't go in with high expectations.
A lot of it was just trying to go through the motions and get to where I was feeling more and more comfortable with the swing, and to build up to the week of the Masters.  That was kind of the goal to have things in line and to where I could put myself in a pressure‑packed situation and under the gun and have to perform there.
So I think that was the main goal was being ready for there.  With the missed cuts leading up to that, it wasn't something that I was really worried about.  I was actually swinging well.
Unfortunately I just wasn't making putts and getting the ball up‑and‑down when I needed to.  So yeah, with change, you do have to accept the fact that you my have to make a couple steps backwards to actually move forward.  So I feel like so far it's worked out great.

Q.  You had a chance to play the course today.  Some of the players are remarking that the rough is quite punishing and that the fairways are quite tight.  What are your thoughts on the way the course is set up?
RICKIE FOWLER:  I would say that's pretty good right there.  Yeah, driving the ball well this week will definitely be a premium.  Rough is very thick.  It's really thick in some spots.  So avoiding that will be definitely helpful if you can do that.
The course is in great shape, though.  The greens are good.  I feel like they are going to firm them up a little bit, get them a little quicker.  But yes, the rough will play a bit of a factor this week.

Q.  You are very fashionable on and off the course.  Is that reflecting your personality or is it your sponsors making you more fashioning right now?  A lot of China youth golfers learn not only from your game but your fashion.  So how is your fashion touch and is it because of your personality or your sponsors?
RICKIE FOWLER:  I feel like I'm very fashionable (laughter).  A lot of it, my involvement with Puma allows me to kind of show off my personality.
So the sponsors do help but luckily or throughout most of the year other than the majors, I get to pick what I want to wear and I would like to have some fun with it.  But glad to see that the juniors in China like what I wear, like the golf game and hopefully can be a positive influence.

Q.  Have you done any tinkering to equipment and if you do, when is the time to do that?
RICKIE FOWLER:  I haven't done much this off‑season yet.  I guess if you consider Ryder Cup until now off‑season.  I'm going to have a little bit more time off coming up.  But I've done minimal amounts of testing on new product but I have no changes or no new additions to the bag.
I would say in between this week and Tiger's event, I may have some new stuff in play.  But I still have quite a bit of testing to do before that happens.

Q.  How do you balance the pride in what you've done in the majors this year in terms of consistency's sake with disappointment of another year without winning, and along those lines, what goes through your mind when you hear people say, "This guy really needs to win one."  
RICKIE FOWLER:  It's tough, because I really wanted to win, but the goals going into the year, I took care of everything except for getting the win.  I think some of the big ones were obviously making The Ryder Cup Team, playing through the FedExCup playoffs and being in contention in all four majors, with the four majors being the toughest obviously.
To do that, it may be the only time in my career I'm ever able to do that.  There's only been three guys to do so.  So looking back, yeah, it does hurt that I didn't get the win at the PGA, but looking back at the year, it was historic in a way.
So if I would have won it would have been almost too perfect knocking off all my goals, so it gives me something to build on and hopefully I can have a season in the near future where I take check off all the boxes and like I said this year, I just left one unchecked.

Q.  Are there new boxes next year?
RICKIE FOWLER:  Well, a win is definitely in order.  That's definitely a box I want to check off here soon.  So as far as going through goals, still playing through the FedExCup playoffs and I would like to play on my first Presidents Cup team.

Q.  Following up about how fashionable you are, how much time do you actually spend before a game in order to be fashionable enough to get ready for the game and would there be chances in the past that because of the colour that you choose or the clothes that you choose, it does not make you feel uncomfortable enough with the game that you would actually go and get a change?
RICKIE FOWLER:  I haven't had to go back and do a change.  I've had one coffee still where I had to have a quick wash that morning when I was already at the golf course.  But no, actually I don't spend much time on the clothing.  Make some pretty quick decisions.  The only time that holds me up is if I have to iron but I am a good ironer, take care of that.
No, sometimes I'll ask friends if there's a colour they want to see or fans sometimes on social media.  But no, I make pretty quick decisions and go get to the tee box.

Q.  If I were to ask you to picture Jack Nicklaus wearing your Puma gear, tell us what you see.
RICKIE FOWLER:  Yeah, I feel like Jack could actually pull it off.  And I mean, there's a chance that if I talked to Barbara, we may be able to get this to happen.
I recently joined bear's club as well as being a member at Medalist, so getting to spend a little bit more time around the Nicklauses, both Jack and Barbara.  I'm not sure if he'd be willing to do it, but maybe if I somehow found a bet to set up and if I won that he may be able to throw that gear on.
Yeah, he may not be willing but I'm sure he could pull it off.  He's probably the greatest that's ever played the game.

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