home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


April 7, 2017

Rickie Fowler

Augusta, Georgia

MODERATOR: Pleased to welcome Rickie Fowler to the media center, and Rickie is in the clubhouse, as you know, with today's low round of the day. He fired a 5‑under 67.
Rickie started strong early and recorded an eagle at No.2 and followed with birdies on holes 3, 8, 13 and 16. He joins the players of Hoffman, Garcia and Pieters atop the leaderboard at 4‑under, 140.
Rickie, how important was it for you to get off to that fast start today?
RICKIE FOWLER: It was big. Made a great par putt at 1 after I put myself in a tough position. 1 is definitely one of the hardest starting holes we have throughout the year.
To make the 4 there and hole a bunker shot on 2, then make the putt on 3 for birdie, after hitting a drive to the right in the pine straw, really kind of gave me a bit of cushion and momentum in the right direction. Because, you know, 4, 5, 6, 7 are tough holes. And so playing the first three holes well definitely, like I said, gave me a little bit of that cushion and freed me up.

Q. All the times you've been close in majors, what lessons have you learned there that you're going to be able to apply this weekend or that you're going to try to apply this weekend?
RICKIE FOWLER: You know, a lot of it‑‑ some of it's not just in majors. Other tournaments being in contention, you know, getting the job done at Honda just recently and playing well in these last few events, really just sticking to our game plan and making sure we go through the process and really getting committed.
On the weekends, I tend to try and walk a little slower, make sure we're taking our time. Because my tendency is to kind of speed up and go a little too quickly. So the more that I can slow down thoughts, my walking, and make sure that I kind of think through everything and not get too quick out there, that's one of my keys.

Q. How big of a leaderboard watcher are you? Are you going to be keeping an eye on those guys tomorrow or do you prefer to just focus on your own game?
RICKIE FOWLER: I love looking up and seeing the big leaderboards. It's a cool thing about Augusta, very old school with the non‑electronic leaderboards out there. It's a lot of fun to see your name up there, so hopefully I can go ahead and keep it up on the big leaderboards.
Obviously I'm going to still continue to focus on what I'm trying to do, you know, fairways. I saw some of the stats over here, I need to hit some more greens. Luckily the chipping and bunker play has been, you know, saving me, which it's been doing that through this year. But hit some more greens and give myself some easier two‑putt pars and knocking a couple birdies and make it for a good weekend.

Q. Was there any sense for yourself or maybe among the field that there was some survival necessary these two days with the wind and the conditions and maybe get through that to get to more normal Masters conditions over the weekend?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, definitely. Exactly what you said. Looking at the first two days when we were coming in, seeing that it was going to be 20 to 30 Thursday and pretty much the same thing today, really just avoid making big mistakes. Trying to play the big parts of greens or the easy leaves around greens, not trying to get too aggressive off tees, and yeah, playing somewhat conservative at times to make sure that you weren't giving up shots or moving backwards.
Scores weren't going to be low, other than what Charley did yesterday. You know, it was just going to be, like you said, kind of try and hang on and make sure that you don't take yourself out of the golf tournament. No one was really going to run away or distance themselves too far, especially with scoring conditions potentially coming this weekend. But you could quickly miss the cut or put yourself too far back.

Q. Congratulations on your round today. Could you give an example from today or yesterday, a situation where the wind made you uncertain or back off a shot or left you a little bit of guesswork?
RICKIE FOWLER: It really wasn't too much on full shots, whether it was off the tee or approach shots. For me, there was a lot of backing off on the greens. The wind blowing pretty consistently from one direction, you know what kind of shot you need to hit and roughly what yardage.
But when it starts gusting a little bit and you're on the greens and with the amount of slope, there's not a whole holding the ball in its place, it starts to wiggle. And then with them being as quick as they are, the ball moves a lot with the wind once you do hit the putt. It's not like you're hitting a 4‑iron and it can hold its line in the wind. You can control it a lot more in that case. But when you get on the green, as soon as you hit it‑‑ if you try to hit it when it was gusting, you have no chance of making a putt.
I had a four‑footer yesterday, I had to back off four or five times. If I would have hit it, it would have either‑‑ I would either have had to hammered it in the back of the hole or I was going to have ten or 15 feet coming back. You just have to be patient and wait for that. But I think the biggest was when we were on the greens and the wind was starting to affect the ball.

Q. Following up on the wind conditions the first two days. Because the players know this golf course so well, if we get the calm conditions that they anticipate or calmer conditions on Saturday or Sunday, is it easier here to flip that switch and go back to a more traditional approach than if you were at, say, any of the other majors where you don't have the familiarity with pin positions and the quirks of the golf course?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, you know, I mean, there's some guys around the leaderboard, you see Jon Rahm up there; he's someone that hasn't played here a whole lot, so he may not have seen a lot of pin placements. There's guys, you look at Fred Couples in there, he's been around here a few times. Same with Phil.
This weekend is going to be definitely a lot of different golf. I think we're going to see a lot‑‑ there are going to be a lot more birdies, some more eagles.
And yeah, this is a place that we come every year. So these conditions were a bit more of a surprise. This was something different that we're not used to seeing, so it's going to be back to something a little bit more normal these next two days.

Q. You were pretty fired up by that putt on 16. Can you walk us through that and what made it a difficult putt?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, coming off the bogey on 16, or on 15, yeah, I hit a great shot in there. It came up a little short just in the fringe. Tough putt, just because it was going to get kicked left pretty good coming out of the fringe and then it was fairly straight. So I had to get it come out on the proper line and then it was just going to hold its line from there.
And as soon as it came out of the fringe, I knew it was moving. So luckily it hit the center of the hole. I kind of joked with my caddie, he said it's going to be pretty straight once it got on the green.
I said, "Yeah, it's going to be straight at that speed."

Q. Rickie, you said yesterday that you like the wind because it allowed you to deploy your imagination on shots. Of all the courses you play during the season, where does this one rank for you as a canvas for your artistry?
RICKIE FOWLER: This is number one, no question. With kind of the slopes and backstops and the wind, whether you're into the wind or off the side, you kind of use it as like a backboard. It's fun. There's definitely some fun shots when you're out here in the wind and there's some scary shots. But when you pull off those scary ones, it's rewarding.
So I wouldn't say I hit it particularly well today. I just hit it good enough and kept myself in the right positions, and when I was able to, I got an aggressive, made the birdies.
This place in the wind, it's a lot of fun.

Q. You obviously did a lot at Bay Hill to honor Arnold Palmer, and then yesterday morning, you were out there for the ceremonial tee shot. Why is that so important to you to honor his legacy and memory?
RICKIE FOWLER: It's just, I mean, it just speaks a lot of who he was, kind of the impact he had on me. I was privileged to call him a friend, the amount of time that I spent time with him; the memories, getting to play golf with him at Seminole to hanging in the locker room and the bar at Bay Hill after Tiger won.
I was in the final group with him, and then unfortunately I wasn't able to play last year in his event, but was able to go up and share lunch with him at Bay Hill leading up to that tournament.
He was a special man. Everything he did on the golf course, obviously had a very successful career; but I think he was more successful off the golf course, being an icon a legend. And then his foundation continuing on now and probably going to be even bigger now that he's not here, just because of the impact he did have on people and how much they want to continue that legacy of his.

Q. I know you had your own game to worry about, but at any point were you conscious of all the cheers and roars for Freddie, and what does it say, a 57‑year‑old guy makes six birdies on a day like this?
RICKIE FOWLER: You know, I was watching. I wanted to make sure I stayed out in front of him. But Freddie's impressive. He always finds a way around here. This isn't somewhere new for him. He's done this plenty of times. He's fun to watch. I love being around him. He's someone that I looked up to for a long time.
It would have been a lot more fun playing with him but at least playing behind him, we got to see a little bit and I did keep an eye on him on the board.

Q. Might happen Sunday.
RICKIE FOWLER: We'll see. Yeah, no, I'm hoping to continue the good play. So he's going to have to play nice tomorrow and we'll get that Sunday pairing.

Q. When you were looking at the leaderboard, were you aware on 18, if you made the putt, you would be in the lead and in the final group; would that matter to you tomorrow?
RICKIE FOWLER: Oh, I was well aware. It's almost more incentive for me. I love being in that position. I want to make those putts.
I hit a great putt on 17, just uphill into the wind and it kind of came out of the fringe a little slow, but it was right in the middle.
Then 18, I hit a great putt. It's one you can't get too aggressive with back down the hill and it just kind of tailed off on me at the end.
But no, I love being in that position where you kind of know exactly where you're at, whether it's the matches we have early in the week of practice rounds and you have a putt on the last hole to win; you know, I want to‑‑ it's like having a ball at the end of the game. I like that position.

Q. How familiar are you with Thomas Pieters and have you played much at all with him?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I've played with him a bit. He's a very impressive player. He's got a lot of power. Great ball‑striker. You know, I spent time with him before The Ryder Cup, but that's probably the most I've been around him. We did play in the final group together at Abu Dhabi a year and a half ago, and he gave me a good run that day. I was able to kind of sneak out the win.
He's a good player. It's no surprise that he played well in the wind. He's got a good ball flight for that, and I know he's made plenty of birdies the last two days.

Q. How is the course changing from round one to round two, and what are you seeing in firmness? I assume it's drying out a little bit.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, it's definitely drying out. Greens are getting a little quicker. Starting to kind of turn more towards the‑‑ they are not brown, but they start to get that different shade where you're going to start seeing some different kind of reactions from golf balls when they hit greens this weekend.
It's pretty amazing, what they are able to do here at Augusta with the amount of rain we got Monday and Wednesday. Yeah, we are not going to have much wind this weekend, but being able to control the firmness, I think they are going to be able to dry them out quite a bit with the wind the last couple days, and then having the dry weather tonight. So it's going to be fun. It's going to be a real golf tournament this weekend.
MODERATOR: Rickie, congratulations on a great round today and we wish you the best this weekend.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297