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February 28, 2019

Rickie Fowler

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Q. The word I keep coming to when I think about this round today for you is professional. I thought the way that you handled what happened at 6, to come back and then really down the stretch, everything was pretty tidy from that point on.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, it was -- three straight tournaments with a triple, not too happy about it, but one of them being that we got a win at Phoenix, and nice to actually get it out of the way early here this week. I'm definitely happy with how I started, 2-under through 4, and gave me some cushion for the triple. I was only 1-over after that. To birdie 9, turn even, knew I was in a good spot, just had to get things going the right direction, and didn't drive it particularly well early on. The drive on 6 really wasn't that far off, but it ends up in the water.

Really from, I think, 13 on, I started playing nice. Hit some good drives, got myself some looks at birdies, and then the iron shot on 17 was awesome. To get myself up there in two on 18, make birdie at the final to post 3-under, I'm happy with that, especially like I mentioned, after having the triple on the card early.

Q. I thought your entire group really had some good putting momentum today. It looked like it was rolling pretty nice out there today.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, you know, you get back on Bermuda greens, and the greens hold up a lot better throughout the day, and especially into the later afternoon versus poa which we've been on for the first part of the year. And it also helps that you're able to kind of fix spike marks and obviously the ball marks out there. The new greens here, they're firm. It's tough. I had one get away from me, how far the ball released on 16 and had to make a good two-putt.

But yeah, I had a couple that were -- I had one that wiggled a little bit. I thought it made it on 14. I hit some good putts out there, but for late in the day, the greens held up great, and that's always nice when you don't see kind of a big separation between putts made in the morning and afternoon.

Q. Talk about after 6, recovering pretty good.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I got off to a nice start, birdieing 3 and 4, and triples are never fun, but obviously I know I've played well around here. I just had to kind of get things going. It was nice to make a birdie on 9 to turn at even. I knew I was in a good spot. Even par, just needed to go play a good back nine, and really from 13 on, played some nice golf.

Q. Is knowing that this is the kind of golf course where you can make a triple and then rattle off four birdies, is that thought kind of in your attitude, the way you approach a bad run?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, the hard part is there's so many holes out here where big numbers can happen. There's a lot of water. Not that you're playing defensively, but you've got to play smart around here. You can't try and get too aggressive. So not that I tried to get too aggressive or anything, I just hit two shots, missed my lines. Wasn't trying to do anything crazy. It just happens. It's nice to have it out of the way early. Now we'll just go play some golf and nice to come back after that happening.

It's almost just a matter of time. It's going to happen out here at this golf course. It's hard to go clean around here for 72 holes.

Q. Is it comfortable knowing that the Florida stretch here, kind of home stretch, so to speak, is the one that's leading into the big tournaments like THE PLAYERS, the Masters, the big tournaments, so to speak?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, we're on a really good stretch right now with PLAYERS here in a few weeks, being here, and Bay Hill, I think it's good preparation going in. I've played well in Florida. I've played well here. Obviously I've played well at PLAYERS being a past champion. I'm definitely excited to be back on Bermuda greens after being on some bouncy poa.

Q. How are the new greens?
RICKIE FOWLER: They're good. They're new, so they're going to be firm in a different way. Not kind of the settled-in firm. I think the greens, they'll settle a little bit. I had a couple putts wiggle, but that's the afternoon, too. I thought they rolled great this afternoon. But it's nice. Obviously it was time for them to be redone after them being a bit sandy last year. The course here, it's a little soft out there right now, fairways and stuff, but it's in great shape.

Q. New rules are coming into effect every week, like the shaft when Justin hit that shot. What was he asking you to -- he wanted you to look at it, right? What did he want you to do in that situation?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I know he was trying to bend it back a little bit on the following hole. I saw it a couple holes later. It was just a little bent down at the bottom. But with the new rules, if he would have broke that club, he wouldn't have been able to replace it. If you're telling a baseball player that he's up to bat and his bat breaks during that at bat, he's out? Or a hockey player, his stick breaks during the course of play, you're done? So that's kind of funny.

But it'll be interesting to see what goes on with the rules coming up.

Q. There was a green reading issue with Alex Cejka getting DQ'd for wrong green reading material. Any other oddities out there today?
RICKIE FOWLER: I don't think there was any oddities. I think I'm still kind of making fun of the fact that we have to drop from our knee.

Q. Do you have to practice that drop technique?
RICKIE FOWLER: You don't have to practice it. I still don't think anyone has found out a way to make it look cool, athletic or good.

Q. How many different versions did you go through before you settled on one?
RICKIE FOWLER: I mean, hey, it's just at knee height. You can think of as many versions as you want. I definitely try not to go to the side. It feels a little awkward. No, it's interesting. I'm not a big fan of it. Obviously you've seen the last couple weeks, so we'll see what happens.

Q. Did you have fun with your drop out there?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I may have played with a couple randoms. I didn't actually drop it from those areas. I dropped it up front from knee height or somewhere in there.

Q. What hole was that on?
RICKIE FOWLER: That was on -- I had a plugged lie in the fairway.

Q. Is it an advantage to play in the morning? Do you look forward to catching up a little bit that way?
RICKIE FOWLER: Typically it is an advantage in the morning, fresh greens. Then in the afternoon the greens start to get beat up a little bit. It's nice, like I said, being back on Bermuda greens. They hold up a lot better through the day, and now being able to tap down spike marks, there's less of a change throughout the day. That's one rule I do agree with. I think it's a great thing that they did with that because typically you see a big change throughout the day, and especially on greens where maybe a bowled area where you get a lot of traffic in one area, you might end up with a three, four-footer and have absolutely no chance because there's a big spike mark in your way. No, I thought the greens held up great, but it'll be nice to be on some fresh greens in the morning.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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