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February 25, 2016

Rickie Fowler

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Q. What's your assessment of how this opening round played out?
RICKIE FOWLER: I think we got kind of a good break playing in the afternoon today. I think the wind laid down a little bit for us. I know the guys had a tough time this morning and the course was not easy.

This is one course with the wind up, it's very hard to hit fairways and from there, hard to hit greens. Still didn't play easy out there for us. I felt like I swung it really well tee-to-green. Would have been nice to putt a little bit better but still a nice, solid round to start off the week.

Q. Your first round back on the PGA TOUR after the loss of Phoenix, what does it say about the state of your game and what you're able to do out there?
RICKIE FOWLER: I played well through the end of last year and start of this year, already have a win under my belt over in Abu Dhabi. I have a lot of confidence in my game and where my swing is at. Like I said, get some putts to go in, it could be a fun week here. I feel comfortable here. I've played well. I've had good rounds around here. It's nice to get off to a solid start.

Q. Bogey-free, you have to be very, very happy?
RICKIE FOWLER: Got a little lucky on 10, got a little chip-in for par, but other than that, swung it really well. Would have been nice to make a few more putts but can't be too picky. A good, solid 66 around here is a nice start.

Q. I was going to ask you about No. 10, you had a funky lie in that first try and then the hard try worked out pretty good.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I was down kind of where the fans stand, kind of trampled down, a little wet down there. Had to go with try and hit kind of a full-swing flop there with the pin where it was.

Didn't exactly work out too well but ended up in a spot that's a makeable chip. Not easy by any means, so nice to walk away with 4 there. After the first one, I thought, man, let's just get out with 5 and move on.

Q. Finally, the putting stroke, so many putts I thought were going to go in and they just didn't. You have to be really excited about looking ahead because the putting is looking good?
RICKIE FOWLER: The putting's been good. I've been making putts. Been playing well while I've been at home. I hit a lot of my lines. Some of it was a little bit of speed. I hit a couple that were just a little bit firm with where I was trying to play them. Other than that, I was starting putts where I wanted to, so that's the big thing, dialing in reads and speed hopefully tomorrow morning and go from there.

Q. 4-under par today, give some comments on an excellent start?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, good, solid day. 4-under out here is always nice, wind was up this morning I know. It laid down a little bit for us but still playing tough out there. So nice to hit a lot of fairways and greens. Kept it fairly stress-free on myself. Made a good chip on 10 to save par there but other than that, it was pretty simple and nice way to get the week going.

Q. I know it's a long week, but coming off being in contention and immediately putting yourself at the top of the leaderboard, how big a deal is that?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I mean, it's been nice to have a bit of time off. I spent some time with friends that flew in from California, hung out last week end. Took the first week kind of just to chill out. Played a lot of golf this past week getting ready.

My game has been very good. Obviously played well at Phoenix and feel like I was in a great position to close that one out but unfortunately didn't do that. The game's been good mentally and physically, been swinging really well and managing my way around the course really well, obviously with winning in Abu Dhabi, but it was nice to be back in competition now and to get off to a good start definitely a step in the right direction after Phoenix.

Q. Anything in particular stand out for you today?
RICKIE FOWLER: I think just ball-striking. I felt like I did a good job of committing to what I was trying to do and hitting my lines. I felt like I hit a lot of good quality golf shots today in the wind. Hit a lot of good putts, too. Unfortunately they just weren't going in. So hopefully that will start tomorrow.

Q. You said you enjoyed playing with Sergio. Is there a reason why you like playing with him?
RICKIE FOWLER: We've always just got along really well. We enjoy playing together. We hang out off the golf course, as well. We just have fun out there. I guess have the same outlook out there hitting shots, and especially in these conditions when it's windy, I feel like we kind of navigate the way around the course the same way. It's always fun to watch him play and hopefully he feels the same way about watching me.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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