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September 20, 2018

Rickie Fowler

Atlanta, Georgia

Q. How would you sum up that 65 today?
RICKIE FOWLER: It was a good day. I didn't get off to necessarily a great start on my swing. Managed to kick my way around the first few holes and making a couple birdies on the 5th and 6th and then bogeyed the 7th and birdied 8. Started swinging better. Once I got to No. 8, it's a hole where you have to make a really good swing off the tee to not make bogey really. Stepped up and kind of had a few things I knew I needed to focus on on the driver swing, and from there on in, we swung well. I think from there, pretty much I think I missed one fairway, which the ball was in the first cut, and I think I hit every green from there on in. Made it very stress-free.

Q. You sat out the first couple of playoff events. When you reflect back on that, how do you feel -- do you think it freed you up for the TOUR climax, if you will?
RICKIE FOWLER: I mean, I needed the two and a half weeks or so of just sitting around really not doing a whole lot other than -- I could still work out, take care of that, and doing some chores around the house, but I really couldn't swing at all just because I was trying to rest my right oblique as much as possible, and it was definitely the right call. If I would have played through the first or second playoff event, there was really no benefit, especially looking at, you know, ultimate goal being ready, obviously, for the Ryder Cup, to have a chance to be here at East Lake. I think it's worked out perfectly that I was ready for Philly, played well there, and made sure I had a spot for this week. I'm healthy and playing well here, and looking forward to getting over to Paris.

Q. Where you were health-wise after the PGA to now? How would you put numbers on that?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I mean, I wasn't ready to swing a golf club for two and a half weeks, so it was -- it took some time. I wasn't in a good spot. I mean, I managed my way around the weekend at Akron, and then the week of the PGA, I had to nurse it a bit. There was a lot of therapy post-round and taping up before the round. I was happy with how we were able to play through that. It's not easy playing with really any kind of injury that is kind of around the golf swing. So no, it's nice to be back swinging pain-free because I wouldn't have wanted to deal with how it felt the PGA week for a continued amount of time.

Q. Is there any hesitation or maintenance you still have to do to kind of --
RICKIE FOWLER: No, not really. I took care of all the therapy and making sure I was good to go for Philly and felt really good that week. I don't think I iced it at all that week or did any laser treatment. I didn't do any last week. It was more just listening to the body. I haven't been on any type of painkillers like just standard Advil. And the big thing and reason why, I didn't want to mask anything, just because if something did come up, I wanted to get the real response from my body. So everything has been great. Yeah, without taking any supplements. This is raw.

Q. Your thoughts hearing the big roar knowing you've got some company atop the leaderboard?
RICKIE FOWLER: I don't know who it was. I just heard the roar.

Q. You have no clue?
RICKIE FOWLER: No. (Laughter.)

Q. It was a Tiger roar.
RICKIE FOWLER: No. I was being -- I couldn't see anything. It could have been him.

Q. What does go through your head as you start seeing Tiger on the leaderboard more often now?
RICKIE FOWLER: It's awesome. I got to play a decent amount with him last fall and watch him kind of get back to where he was healthy and able to go play for fun. I remember there was a day we were up at Medalist and we played 18, and I was going to go home and work out, and he went out to go play another nine. It's been a while since we've been able to see him just go play for fun. He wanted to keep playing, so he kept playing.

I think the biggest -- in my eyes, looking at it, the biggest win for him is just staying healthy and being out here all year consistently. Definitely happy for him. It's obviously great for our sport. It's great to have him as part of the team next week. We hope he continues to play well. I just want to play a little bit better and beat him.

Q. Will you relish the chance to play with him in a last group?
RICKIE FOWLER: Oh, definitely. I've had the opportunity before, and I definitely am in a lot better position now than I was in the early part of my career. I would say some -- there is a little bit of a comfort level that you have to get used to playing alongside him, especially in a big situation, in a final group. No, I look forward to it now. Like I said, I hope he continues to play well, and he's someone that we're going to want to see play well next week, obviously. And it's only better for all of us out here, media, fans, TV, to have him playing well and on the top of the board.

Q. Do you have any tape on the oblique now?
RICKIE FOWLER: No. Do you want to see?

No, everything is clean. Like I said, not taking Advil or anything because I didn't want to -- anything to mask any kind of pain. If there was something that were to come up, I'd want to feel it. So it's great to be in a position that I'm not feeling anything. I don't feel -- and in a way it's helping me stay in a good position in the swing. I can't get -- I've got to keep myself from getting into extension in the backswing, which is kind of like one of my bad habits of getting a little long. So staying in posture and staying on top of the ball, it's kind of helping me do that. So kind of a blessing in disguise.

Q. Any tips on how to play with Tiger?
RICKIE FOWLER: Not necessarily. Obviously it's -- all you can do is really focus on yourself and stick to what you're trying to do and not try and let everything bother you. It's something I feel like with the big crowds following him -- I've gotten to play with him and other top guys where there's big crowds around and in big situations. You learn as you go for sure. But I don't think -- there's nothing now that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Q. Did he show you the ropes at all your first Ryder Cup in 2010?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, both Tiger and Phil -- I don't think people really understood as well as they do now how much the Ryder Cup means to both Tiger and Phil, and especially with kind of how the task force was set up, and me personally seeing how involved they were. But to be playing my singles match in between -- Tiger in front of me, Phil behind me, and I was down a bit. Phil was up, Tiger was up, and I get Phil fist-pumping me from across the lake on -- I think it's 10 and 11 there at Celtic. Tiger is in front fist-pumping. So it was cool to kind of, I guess, ride off of them a little bit, ride that wave. They've both been very helpful, and some of it is not necessarily from them talking, it's more just being the leaders and showing what the Ryder Cup means to them.

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