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August 11, 2017

Rickie Fowler

Charlotte, North Carolina

Q. Start off, just tell us about your round today and how it felt out there compared to yesterday?
RICKIE FOWLER: It wasn't bad. In a good spot for the weekend. Felt like I made a lot of good pars out there. The golf course is not playing easy. It was nice to see it firm up a little more.

It will be nice if we can dodge the weather and the rain at least through these first two days so everyone is on the same playing field. The golf course is really good right now. It's not easy and you got to drive it in the fairway. It was fun. I felt like I did a really good job of managing when I did miss shots and took advantage of some good opportunities when I did hit some good ones.

Q. Is it stress free the way it's playing out there?
RICKIE FOWLER: For the most part. If you look at the majors, this is probably the hardest test we've had this year. That's saying something. Birkdale is a pretty special place. I guess some of those conditions we got there was times it played very tough.

Just as far as golf course standpoint with it firm and the rough up, and the greens drying out and firm, this is -- you can't miss your lines or your numbers by very much and get away with it.

Q. This is not the Quail Hollow that everybody has gotten to know the last ten years. How much more difficult is it?
RICKIE FOWLER: I would say it's maybe two or three shots around roughly. A lot of that, I mean, really the reason is the Bermuda rough and off the fairways and then trying to chip out of Bermuda rough around the greens is no fun. Anyone will tell you that. With the greens being firmer and faster than normal, that adds up and you can't really get too aggressive out there.

The biggest thing is first off getting the ball in the fairway. That way you can have some control going to the greens. If you try and maybe overpower it too much or get too aggressive, it will jump up and get you at some point.

Q. When you see Kisner's number up there, what is your impression?
RICKIE FOWLER: It's there. Like I said, to be able to hit your lines and hit your numbers going into greens, it's there. There's birdies. I made six yesterday. I didn't make as many today. There's opportunities to do it. You have got to minimize the amount of mistakes. Kis has done a great job of that the first two days. We're only halfway. Yeah, you want to get off to a good start and be in a good position which he has done and I have done as well. We'll go battle it out this weekend.

Q. You had the most conservative game plan of the people in your threesome for sure. Was there any point where it was hard for you to adhere to that? You seem resolute about keeping that strategy.
RICKIE FOWLER: I'm not as long as Jon or Rory. Go out and set your game plan in the practice rounds and figure out what you are going to do.

The golf course has changed quite a bit since Monday Tuesday and even Wednesday with how dry it's gotten and how much firmer the greens are, so just thinking how we want to play the golf course. And pars are good. There's going to be a handful of opportunities where you can get aggressive and make some birdies.

The biggest thing is not giving shots back. So there are probably a couple of holes where they can turn the ball right to left better than I can with driver. I play the shorter driver which I predominantly hit a cut with. So with that there's some holes that I may play back with 3-wood. The biggest thing for me, I'm trying to get the ball in the fairway and take kind of trouble out of play and minimize the mistakes.

Like I said, you play aggressive when the time is right.

Q. You're playing well. What do you want to do better next two days?
RICKIE FOWLER: Obviously you like to say a little bit of everything. If I can just drive it a little bit better. I'm not driving it bad by any means. I don't want to be in the rough. It's not fun. If I can go hit some more fairways, that's the big thing. At least you have a chance of hitting in a good spot on the green. Hitting it in the rough, you don't.

Q. You have done a nice job of putting yourself in position at the Masters and the U.S. Open this year. What did you take away from that to put into use this weekend?
RICKIE FOWLER: The big thing is staying patient, not getting ahead of ourselves and not trying to get too much out of it. Just kind of accepting the golf course and working our way around, managing it well. It's different than a normal tournament especially when you come to this venue with how tough it's playing. You can say you played defense a little bit, but it's not exactly like you are playing scared out there. You are playing smart and picking your way around the golf course.

Q. It was a very calm composed focus out there. What is key to maintaining that throughout a round?
RICKIE FOWLER: I mean, with it being hot, tough course, it's going to take a lot out of you mentally. There is no reason to take anything else. No reason to waste any extra energy. It's a long week. It's a major and like I said it's a tough venue. Plenty more stuff out there to drain you. There is no reason -- I'm going to keep it mellow and relaxed like it's been the first two days.

Q. I think you played with Jon at the U.S. Open. Did you notice a difference in his demeanor today when things weren't going his way?
RICKIE FOWLER: I think Jon is doing a great job and I know he said something about how he felt or some of the stuff he had done at the U.S. Open. It's not necessarily what he wants to do or anything like that. Everyone is different. Everyone deals with frustration differently. Some guys need to let it out a little bit and that helps them move on.

For me, I will get upset and hold it in a little bit and in a way, you kind of find your own thing. Everyone swings differently, walks differently. I feel like Jon did a great job these last two days. I also don't want him to try and be someone who he isn't. He's a great player. Everyone is going to get frustrated out here. I think if there is a way that he finds that spot that's his and he's not wasting too much energy and he can continue to move on. He's been just fine and he will continue to be just fine.

Q. How much of your strategy (inaudible)?
RICKIE FOWLER: A little bit. I feel very comfortable. Obviously the holes that are the same, there's only a handful that are different. I feel like I've done a good job of getting used to those other than the triple yesterday. That's fine. We rebounded from that just fine. I feel very good here. The fans have been great here. Everyone the staff, locker room guys, fun to be in there and see them. Familiar faces. To be at a major venue that we have seen a handful of times, that doesn't happen often outside of Augusta and now I guess I'm starting to see St. Andrews for my third time in a couple years. Outside of that it doesn't happen that much.

Q. It's the sentiment that you are the next young guy ready to win a major. When you come to a venue like this where you know you are comfortable and you have won here before, is there an element of managing your expectation? Are you licking your chops?
RICKIE FOWLER: I have to stay patient. I have to go through the process, make sure we're making the right decisions each hole, each shot. With the way I've been playing, how I'm swinging this week and last week going into it, I know I can win this week. That's already set. It's more so in between years making sure I make the right decisions and not get ahead of myself. If we do that, it will be all right.

Q. How much do you daydream?
RICKIE FOWLER: You can only think about it so much. You don't want to get ahead of yourself. This week I'm going to have a good chance. The thing is I have got to manage that properly.

Q. Do you find yourself getting more and more comfortable when you are in this position over time?
RICKIE FOWLER: No, it's been -- I got to that point when I finished Top-5 in all four majors and felt good there. Kind of at a standstill. This year I feel like it's been a new level of how comfortable and how good I felt in the majors. It's been a fun year. Definitely a big improvement from where I was last year in the majors. It's been fun. Nice to be in contention at the first two and back in a good spot here. Have a fun weekend.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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