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January 24, 2016

Rickie Fowler

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

NEIL AHERN: Many congratulations, what a day, what a victory can you describe your emotions for me right now?

RICKIE FOWLER: Very excited. It was tough out there today. I've been swinging well and continued to get better as the week's gone on. Today I felt like I was probably swinging my best. I made only a couple bad swings out there today. I was pleased with how I kind of got around. Just wasn't able to make some key putts for birdies to keep distancing myself a bit, and one bad swing that kind of ruined my plan of getting out front and staying there for awhile.

So not how it was planned out but came out on top. So very, very happy about the week.

NEIL AHERN: As you mentioned, not quite as planned, but some really incredible shots out there. Which one was the most crucial? Obviously 8 was a great comeback.

RICKIE FOWLER: 8 was huge. Getting a good tee ball there, and obviously the third shot, making eagle there, was a boost of confidence moving forward after a bad swing that cost me two shots, making double on 7.

So I was pleased. I felt like I swung it pretty well on the back nine. There was a couple iron shots that got a little away from me, but other than that, kept moving forward. I felt like I hit some good putts. I just lost a little bit of touch on the speed of the greens. But like you said, not as planned but came out on top.

NEIL AHERN: I believe you organised a little gift for everybody in the room here.

RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I guess it's almost become a little bit of a tradition now. Got to celebrate a win. No better place to start than with all you guys.

Q. Scotland, Deutsche Bank, here, quite an incredible winning run. Did anything change, did anything click, did anything happen, you feel, that has enabled that run to happen?
RICKIE FOWLER: From The Players on, just being in the situation, contention, Sunday, final round, against the best players in the world and just really believing and having the confidence that, hey, if I go hit the shots, I'm winning, no question, other than that.

The players was a big step in the right direction for that, and that gave me the confidence for Scotland, winning The Scottish Open there, and then going up against Henrik and winning Deutsche Bank.

It's nice to have that added confidence now, really having the belief and knowing that come Sunday when I'm in the mix, I know I can go get it done.

Q. You're also now going to be No. 4 in the world. What significance do you attach to that?
RICKIE FOWLER: First time I've been inside the top five. Gotten in the five, so this is the highest, or lowest, however you want to say it, I've been ranked. So it's definitely nice to be up there. The ultimate goal this year is to go win a major and this is a step in the right direction for sure.

Q. When you talk about your confidence, I think it's the first time you've won, of course your first event of a new season; you won early in the season, so now what does it do going into the full season having won your first event?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, it's a great way to start. Nice to have the game where it's at right now going into the season, instead of trying to work on things and trying to find stuff. Right now, I can go and fine tune and really build ultimately for Augusta. I'd say this is really the first time I've had it, of my career, at this -- how good I feel about my game and know where it's at.

I'm excited. There's definitely some fine-tuning that we can do and we can always get better. I know all the players out here are always trying to get better, and that's the goal moving forward, to be ready for Augusta.

Q. How much more special is it, the fact that you've beaten a field containing Jordan, Henrik, Rory, in one of the strongest fields on The European Tour this year?
RICKIE FOWLER: With the golf course here, the tournament, HSBC and Abu Dhabi Sports Council, being able to put the field that they have put together this week, I think we had five of the Top-10 in the world and so on from there. Obviously Rory and Jordan are a huge draw over here, and to get to play with those guys the first two days, it was a lot of fun.

But to win with them in the field, it's awesome. I mean, I want to be playing against the best players in the world and beating the best players in the world. Yeah, we definitely had a great field here this week. Looking forward to going to battle with those guys all year long and for the rest of our careers.

Q. After what happened in the majors last year, we were talking about the big three. But you've obviously been on a real tear in these last seven or eight months, up to No. 4, with all four of you guys under 28 or younger; could golf be in a better place?
RICKIE FOWLER: I think golf's just in a really good position right now. Having what Jason did last year through the summer, what Jordan did all year, still doing it, and Rory, I mean, he had a "not-so-good" year and won, I think it was four times or something. That's a pretty good not-so-good year.

Yeah, the guys at the top of playing really well, and I look back at Kapalua, having played decent, but if you don't have your A Game and you're not playing well, you're not going to win. Because some guys, someone's going to show up and play well that week. The level of golf is very high, and it's pretty special to be ranked fourth now.

I've got my eye sight on 1, that would be the ultimate goal, but I'm up against some pretty tough competition.

Q. Those guys have won six of the last seven majors. Is that a bit of added motivation for you?
RICKIE FOWLER: I'd like to jump in and be a part of that crew and see if we can continue to win some majors, if I can jump in there. Like I said, the goal right now with where my game's at, the best it's been this early in the season in my career, I'm working on getting ready for Augusta. And I'd like to have my shot at getting the green jacket there.

Q. Does it bother you a little that there's all this talk about the big three, or is it as you said, added motivation to get in there and join them?
RICKIE FOWLER: I mean, it is what it is. They are the three best or highest-ranked players in the world. There's no way around that, and the three of them have played amazing. I mean, just last year, Jason and Jordan, what they did, and Rory, to put7 the together the season after having an injury, and yeah, I want to be a part of the crew. It would be a pretty good foursome.

I think I mentioned through the summer at some point, I said I was sneaky fourth. So we've got to take care of a major and then maybe I can join the crew.

Q. The ability to hit shots like you did on the 8th, like you did on the 17th green when you chipped in, it's almost Tiger-like that whenever you needed it, you produced the stuff. Is it just hard work which has resulted in this or a lot of mental process has also gone into it over the last one year?
RICKIE FOWLER: Hard work and practice always help. You only get out what you put in. I mean, I can't be compared to Tiger. He's won a lot more than I have. So I've got a long ways to go to be anywhere near that.

But it's fun to be in contention in the situations where you need to pull off a shot and being able to do it, you get such an adrenaline rush and such a boost from it, and it's so rewarding. I felt really comfortable in some of those situations, and 17, it was a very straightforward chip, one that you're trying to make. But to do it in the situation and having to do it, that's what makes it so much more rewarding.

Q. You're amazingly popular off the course and you're doing well now winning big events; is it a relief that these wins are now coming for you or were you just going through the motions?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, it's been a process. Continue to get better and kind of reached a point where I felt like I needed someone to help me reach that next level and working with Butch the past couple years, we're just going up. It's definitely been a process and it's nice to see that finally getting some wins, and making a little bit more of a habit of showing up in the media centre late on Sunday.

So it would be nice to continue that and to keep going up.

Q. I know you said earlier in the week that you were only looking at the sort of first part of your schedule, but as the defending champion, what's the likelihood of you being at Castle Stuart to defend The Scottish Open?
RICKIE FOWLER: I'm going to celebrate this one first (smiling).

Q. Is the busy summer schedule, is that the big problem; that it's a busier schedule than normal?
RICKIE FOWLER: The summer is going to be a bit tough. But like we said, I'm going to celebrate this and really focus on getting ready for Augusta and go from there.

Q. Do you take any little bit of extra satisfaction winning one of the biggest European Tour and snatching that trophy out of all the nose of all the European stars in a Ryder Cup year?
RICKIE FOWLER: I mean, those are bonuses. I think we had a very even fan base out there this week. I felt like I had a lot of support. Obviously Rory is a very big favourite around here, and the other Euros, as well. But I think Rory was hands-down the favourite out here. I know Jordan and I both enjoy being over here; Jordan, being his first visit, he really enjoyed his week from what I have gotten from him.

Yeah, this is a great win, and yeah, like you said, it's a bonus that it's Ryder Cup year and that we came over here and got a win on The European Tour.

NEIL AHERN: With that, thank you very much, Rickie and thanks again for the champagne.

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