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April 1, 2015

Rickie Fowler


JOHN BUSH:テつ We'd like to welcome Rickie Fowler into the interview room here at the Shell Houston Open.テつ He's making his fourth start at this event, and he's coming off of a 6th place finish last year.テつ Rickie, welcome back to the Shell Houston Open.テつ If we can get some comments.
RICKIE FOWLER:テつ Thank you, yeah.テつ It's great to be here.テつ Been starting to play a little bit better.テつ See if we can get ourselves in contention this week and really get the game ready for next week.テつ Would like to play well these two weeks and don't see any reason why we can't get a win here.

Q.テつ Impressions of the course based on how you played last year and thoughts looking at it again?
RICKIE FOWLER:テつ Got to play today and had a good Pro-Am group.テつ Playing along the CEO of Shell.テつ We had a good time out there, fun group.テつ I played nicely today.テつ So it was nice to get some good swings in.テつ The golf course, I've had good rounds here.テつ It suits my eye.テつ I like the look of it.テつ It's in great shape.テつ As far as condition goes, they do a very good job of creating a place condition-wise that gets us on similar playing surfaces for next week.

Q.テつ Rickie, you used this to jump start you into the Masters last year pretty well.テつ What is it about playing the week before a Mayor, specifically a Masters, that suits your style?
RICKIE FOWLER:テつ Well, playing the week before Majors, I feel like, can help a lot, especially if you play well.テつ Also, if you struggle, you know what to work on.テつ The week before, especially here with how they do the golf course set-up and get it fairly close to Augusta with how they mow the grass around the greens and the fairways, obviously there's not as much slope on the greens so you're not going to get maybe the putting practice that you would need for Augusta.
But playing the week before, like I said, I feel like you can go through a bit of a checklist and understand where your game is at, what you may need to work on, maybe play really well and give yourself a lot of confidence versus sitting at home working on the game and then kind of finding out what you have the Thursday of a Major.

Q.テつ You have gotten to know Patrick Reed very well.テつ He's our local golfer currently.テつ Seems to rub some people the wrong way with his being -- his confidence statements.テつ But does he carry himself that way on the golf course the same?
RICKIE FOWLER:テつ He's a very confident player.テつ To be top player in the world and to compete out here, you have to be able to believe in yourself.テつ Playing against the best players in the world, if you don't believe in yourself, your going to get beaten up.テつ I've played a lot of Junior Golf with him.テつ We've had a good time growing up together, similar in age.テつ Played a little bit in college together.テつ Nice to see someone grow up, playing some of the same events, to be out here playing with me.
JOHN BUSH:テつ Next question.

Q.テつ Do you look at Jordan right now and kind of see him as the guy to beat, he's on one of these kind of rolls, or does that exist in golf, the player to beat?
RICKIE FOWLER:テつ I think the player to beat is yourself, for the most part.テつ Get hot and cold and golf is up and down.テつ You never have it quite figured out.テつ Just the time that you think you're playing really well and have everything under control, it will jump up and bite you.テつ You kind of have to take everyday for granted.テつ You have a good round, you never know what the next day holds.テつ Obviously Jordan has been playing very well.テつ He has been playing well.テつ He's a very consistent player.テつ But, yeah, like I said, the player to beat is yourself.

Q.テつ Rickie, have you spent anytime with Butch recently, and if so, what are you guys working on, what are your plans for next week with him?
RICKIE FOWLER:テつ I got to spend three days with him last week Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and got some really good work in, got to play a little bit of golf with him.テつ Lot of our work, it's very simple.テつ It's fun.テつ We go out and have a good time, whether it's hitting balls on the range or getting out and play.テつ Still working on a lot of the same things.テつ Making sure the swing stays away from getting too long, which is an old habit of mine.テつ Continuing to keep the body moving well through impact as well as the head versus hanging back, causing kind of to flip it.
What else?テつ What am I supposed to remember? (laughter) No.テつ Everything is all fairly simple.テつ The biggest change was last year going from December into the start of the season, really working on getting the swing on plane and putting myself in a position where I could work on fundamentals to clean everything up.テつ Really at the end of the day, it's posture, alignment.テつ You keep the swing somewhat shorter and keeping the body moving properly through the ball.

Q.テつ Last year, Rickie, you had one of those kind of wall-to-wall years in Majors where you were there all the time and just didn't quite kick in the door.テつ What was it -- what did you take away from last season to kind of maybe elevate your confidence level and think this could be the time for that to happen?テつ It was a big jump across the board for you.
RICKIE FOWLER:テつ Playing the weeks before definitely helped me, helped set me up to be ready to play on Thursday of the Majors.テつ Also my patience was very good last year in the Majors as far as understanding it's a long week.テつ Kind of keep moving forward, stay away from making as many mistakes as possible, especially the big mistakes, and I was able to put myself in some very good positions.テつ Unfortunately ran into two guys who just ran away with it, especially Martin at the U.S. Open.テつ He really never gave us a chance.
With Rory at the British, was able to give him a little bit of a run at the end, but he had enough of a lead and was in control of the tournament and his game at the time.
So, you know, I look back, the PGA was definitely my best chance.テつ Just didn't put the back-9 together that I needed.テつ Didn't get the ball close enough and didn't make really many birdies after 10.
So, yeah, I'm definitely hungry for one this year.

Q.テつ What do you do to prepare for your game mentally?
RICKIE FOWLER:テつ Mentally as far as like today was my practice round and as well as playing in the Pro-Am.テつ But I go out there and make sure that I check my lines off of tees, understand where typically pins are every year.テつ They usually keep the same, similar four pins throughout the week.テつ And really try and get my game plan as far as how I know I'm going the play each hole.テつ That way I know what I'm trying to do before the day comes, and so when I go out there, I'm not surprised by anything.テつ Weather may change that, but making sure that I have a pretty set game plan, and that way when I show up, I'm comfortable and ready to play.

Q.テつ Currently you and Sergio have a National PSA about The First Tee program.テつ What attracted you to kind of help raise awareness for a program like The First Tee?
RICKIE FOWLER:テつ First Tee is great as far as growing the game to getting the youth involved in golf and understanding responsibilities throughout life, as far as taking care of the school work and understanding what golf can kind of teach you from -- I look at it as patience is one of my better qualities and being able to use that on and off the golf course.テつ And being able to work along side The First Tee and seeing how the commercial turned out was pretty cool.
Every time you get a chance to be around kids in The First Tee, it's pretty special.テつ Today I had two kids carrying the bag at once.テつ One had the shoulder strap on.テつ One was holding the back of my bag (laughter).テつ No, I mean The First Tee definitely makes a difference in kids' lives.テつ You see it from kids that are four, five years old to kids that are in high school and moving forward and getting ready to go to college.テつ It's a special program, and I know Sergio and I are both happy to be a part of it.
JOHN BUSH:テつ All right.テつ Rickie Fowler, thank you.

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