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January 31, 2019

Rickie Fowler

Scottsdale, Arizona

Q. Great playing today. Obviously it looked like everything was working today.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, it was good. I've been working on some swing stuff the last few weeks and getting used to the new ball and today, yeah, I mean there was a couple little bit off, but for the most part did a good job of managing and kind of comitting and hitting a lot of good shots, made some good putts so happy with the start.

Q. Talk about adjusting to the new ball. Is that a mental thing as much as it is a physical thing?
RICKIE FOWLER: It's more a mental thing because the ball's going a decent ways further, I'm getting five more yards on 8-iron, eight or so on 6-iron through 4-iron and probably carrying driver 10 extra yards. So it's a fun thing to get used to, but, yes, it's more mental and not necessarily thinking about what the really objective of how far we're trying to fly it, just knowing that, comitting to whether it's a full 8-iron, a little bit off, and knowing that it's going to land in that spot.

Q. Did you consider dialing back the irons a little bit to match them up or did you just said we're going to fix the ball or we're just going to go with this?
RICKIE FOWLER: I didn't want to bring too many variables in. I've been with basically the same setup on clubs for quite some time. So that could be something down the road that we look at, but I think the worst thing you can do when you're changing something is bringing in multiple variables. If you know it's just one thing, you know what everything's supposed to do, you can adjust from there and later on down the road, once things kind of fall into place then you can bring in another one.

Q. We have a very important question. The color of the shirt. We talked about spearmint, pistachio, perhaps sea foam. What's Rickie call this shirt?
RICKIE FOWLER: I don't know what they would call this on the label. I can ask for a descriptive word that they're probably using for this but, yeah, mintish, sea foam or something.

Q. I like it. You look good and you played good so keep it going?
RICKIE FOWLER: Will do. Thanks.

Q. Solid round of golf. Your thoughts on how you played today?
RICKIE FOWLER: I enjoyed it. I think the start getting off 10 and 11, hitting two good 3-woods in play, just nice solid ball flights, started where I wanted to, fell a little right. So it was great to get off to kind of a positive start. Obviously then was able to birdie 12, eagle 13. But I think 10 and 11's tough to start on early in the morning, so it was nice to get that out of the way, you kind of get off heading the right direction and really just tried to play within myself, not try to do anything special, still working on some stuff on the swing and the last few weeks and trying not to focus too much of that on the golf course, just go play and still getting used to the golf ball as well. So I'm happy with where we're at and where we're heading.

Q. The birdie putt at 8, usually you go get your mark, pick it up, put it in your pocket and go putt. You went back to that ball on 8 like four times. But you made it.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I hit a great shot in there, I hung it just a fraction right, but I hit my number. And kind of a tough putt, I mean it's not that hard, but I mean it's 12 feet or so, right-to-left, but there's more slope where I was standing and where the ball's at and the slope kind of lessens as you get to the hole. So it feels like it wants to go more than it does. So just I was trying to get it dialed in where I could die it and kind of get comfortable because, like I said, you're feeling a lot more break in your feet, but that's only the first half of the putt. So I was just trying to get it dialed in and it worked out perfect.

Q. What's your comfort level out here? You've had a lot of close calls on this golf course, you usually play well, what is it about this place where you're always at the top of the leaderboard?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well I mean it's a good atmosphere, I feel very comfortable here. The Thunderbirds have been awesome to me, Waste Management's been awesome, it's nice to see them step up and pick up the title sponsor for another, what's it going to be, 11, 12 years from now, 2030. It's fun here. I enjoy the golf course, you kind of, you can play it however you want and I've kind of stuck to my game plan here the last few years and I definitely developed my own game plan over the first say five years or so here, but I enjoy it, I'm looking forward to a rowdy crowd tomorrow afternoon.

Q. Your lowest first round ever here. Thoughts on what it felt like out there today?
RICKIE FOWLER: Just I felt comfortable coming in, felt like we got some good work in earlier this week and we have been working on some swing stuff and obviously still getting adjusted to the new golf ball. So I mean the big thing is I've had a lot of success here, played well here. And I thought a big thing for me starting on 10 this morning and 10 and 11, tough pin on 10 and just getting off to a good start there -- 11's one of the hardest tee shots on the golf course -- so I was very happy with getting through the first two with two pars and then kind of got moving from there.

Q. What was the biggest judgment with the golf ball?
RICKIE FOWLER: It goes a decent amount further.

Q. Every club?
RICKIE FOWLER: Not so much on the wedges, getting a couple yards there, which you're making, you don't have as much speed and you're making kind of a glancing blow with the loft, so you're not getting into the internal parts of the golf ball. 8-iron I'm probably getting five yards more carry or so. Then on through the bag 6-iron's getting about eight more and then eight to 10 on the 4-iron and then driver's carrying further. So it's a good thing to adjust to, definitely enjoying it, but it is more mental at times, not trying not to think too much about the number just knowing that I have the proper club in my hand and making a good swing.

Q. How many hours would you estimate that you've put in not only pretournament but in the off-season trying to dial in that golf ball?
RICKIE FOWLER: I really don't know. Got a decent amount of rounds of golf at home over the small break, and like I said, it's doing what I want it to do and what I think it's going to do. Like I said, it's just more mental and comitting and understanding that it's going to fly there. So, yeah, I've enjoyed getting used to it. Obviously it's a proven golf ball, you have multiple guys in the top-10 in the world playing it. So, yeah, I'm having fun getting to see what the benefits are of it for me.

Q. How do you feel sharing the lead with Justin at the moment?
RICKIE FOWLER: I was really hoping I was going to make that last putt, I hit it perfect and it kind of, I thought it was going to break a little more at the end, it didn't. We're sharing a house this week, so I wanted bragging rights at dinner tonight. But, no, we're going to keep it rolling, it's going to be fun, hopefully we can keep it going into Sunday and put on a little boxing match.

Q. Just you two guys in the house?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah. Just us. Allison is here with me, obviously, and I think his, JT's girlfriend will come in later this week.

Q. Will that get weird tonight?
RICKIE FOWLER: No, we share a lot of houses and we live half a mile down the street at home, so we spend a lot of time together, practice, play together, we enjoy pushing each other. So like I said, that was a little extra motivation, obviously I wanted to make that putt, and hit it perfect, it would just be nice to be able to needle him a little bit tonight.

Q. Even though it's only the first round will you guys talk about the round and just maybe jab each other a little bit about?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, for sure. One of the kind of one of the more fun weeks where we get houses. The last few years over at the British we have had -- last year we had two houses, but we had, there was like seven of us players. And so we all sit around, hang out, watch TV. And I think that's one of the tournaments, between that and the Masters, you actually watch coverage and kind of see what's going on because there's play going all day. So it's fun to feed off each other. You also give each other a hard time, where things went wrong, where things were good, and I definitely enjoy it. I've always loved spending time around my friends and growing up junior golf practicing and kind of pushing each other, I feel like it always helped bring out the best in me.

Q. This is one of those events where you always have a lot of family that come out and make the short drive to watch you. Is that going to be the same plan this weekend too?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, we have a decent amount of friends and family out. My sister's at home, she's due kind of any time in a way, so we're keeping an eye on her. So she's obviously not here, she's just chilling. But, yeah, we got quite a few family members.

Q. (No Microphone.)
RICKIE FOWLER: To be able to have a chance to -- I had multiple chances to win here, it would be a nice monkey off the back, because we have close so many times. The Thunderbirds have been awesome to me, Waste Management has been awesome, being a title sponsor for so long and comitting to 2030. The fans here have been awesome. So definitely good vibes here in Scottsdale and it's about time we need to get one of these.

Q. How much different do you expect the atmosphere to be tomorrow afternoon?
RICKIE FOWLER: Significantly. Yeah, I mean you kind of get a break Thursday or Friday wherever you are on the wave and so today we get our break of kind of relaxing and getting through the front nine early. Tomorrow it will be a little different story.

Q. Is it an actual break? Like do you have to put more focus in tomorrow or change it up in any way?
RICKIE FOWLER: No, I mean you're still going into basically a stadium atmosphere there on 16 and there's still people around, it's just not as many, it's not as loud, you don't really have to think as much. I mean you go in there tomorrow, there's a lot of energy, it's loud, you kind of have to take a second and make sure you don't get too amped up and kind of try to get zoned in a little bit more. But it's fun. For me I enjoy it when it's loud in there. I typically when it gets busy or packed I try and get them loud just because then it's a constant level noise, you can adjust to anything that's constant really, its when they try and quiet them down and then there's people yelling and quiet and shushing. So just yell, it's better.

Q. Great round today. What felt best in your game?
RICKIE FOWLER: I feel like I drove it really well today. Last week that was something that kind of made it hard for me to kind of keep momentum and moving forward, so I did a good job of just hitting the ball to the center of the face and I think really the only bad drive I hit with driver I guess that would be 15 I hit it a little right. No, it felt good, I made a lot of good swings, hit a lot of fairways and see if we can keep that going.

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