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March 3, 2019

Rickie Fowler

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Q. Did you think that was enough to probably get in a playoff?
RICKIE FOWLER: I thought it was going to take 9 or -- where it ended up. I thought 9 was good. I thought 8 might have a chance. Double digits would be almost a for-sure thing. 9 and 10 were two big holes for me. Headed in the wrong direction, I had a really good look on 9, hit a good putt, and had one bump on me from short range on 10 so ended up making bogey. So I felt like those were two shots that were kind of given away that didn't really need to be. I'm proud of the way I kind of fought through things. I didn't drive it quite that well today but hit some quality golf shots when I needed to, and nice to finish with three birdies in the last four.

Q. You're one of the best sportsmen I've ever met, waiting around for Keith Mitchell at the end. That was pretty cool. That's something important to you, isn't it?
RICKIE FOWLER: It is. I mean, I've signed my card, I've done everything I can do. I love competing, I love going up against the best in the world. I love beating all them, and I think that shows up in some of the best players in the world that step up down the stretch or can finish when needed. But once the card is signed, I mean, I kind of become a spectator. I knew what Keith was going through on the last, having been there, and it's not easy, winning out here, especially your first. So seeing him make that putt, it's cool. I know the feeling. All you can do is sit back, smile, congratulate him. I'm sure he's pretty pumped. He'll enjoy that.

Q. You gave it a run.
RICKIE FOWLER: That's all you can do.

Q. You knew it was going to be tight going down the stretch; you had to turn it on, try to find a new gear?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, it was nice to get some stuff to go. I felt like I hit a lot of good putts out there today. A few that didn't go in. 9 and 10 was a big turn in the wrong direction. I had a great look for birdie on 9, hit a good putt and it didn't move as much as I thought. 10 I had one kind of bump on me from short range, so tee shot that got away from me there that kind of put me behind the 8-ball and had to dig a bit and figure out how I was going to get back into it. Obviously with a jam packed leaderboard you knew it was going to come down to the last hole with five or six guys or so up there. Two or three are going to find a way to kind of be out front. It's hard to separate yourself here on such a tough golf course, especially in the conditions. You can't really run away. It's tough to do that. So it's really easy to go backwards. So it's just a grind, especially with the conditions today, just made it that much tougher. You know, congrats to Keith. He went out and earned it. Great birdie there at the last. But it was fun. I'm happy with the way I finished, and at least I gave myself a chance.

Q. The 17th, the long birdie, did you think this could be it? Did you think this could be the thing that gets me over the hump or did you think you needed that just to stay in the hunt?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I needed that just to give myself a shot really. I made a lot of good swings coming down the last few holes. That one just didn't hurt as much. But yeah, 2 there helps a lot. It makes it a lot easier going to the last knowing I don't necessarily have to make 3, but I was playing the last two holes and I was thinking, it's possible to go 2, 3. We kept our foot on the gas, and that's it.

Q. At 30, could you imagine at 56 still doing this, still being here?
RICKIE FOWLER: I'd love to be healthy and swinging and being able to compete with guys that are half my age at that point. That's awesome to see Vijay play well this week and get himself in contention. Yeah, it's impressive stuff.

Q. You live here and you've seen that this tournament this year took a little bit of a hit because of the people in the field, obviously, but to come down the way it came down with two of the bigger names in it, the ending was a lot better than what everybody thought it might be at the start. How good is that for these guys, and how good do you feel for these guys for this to have turned out the way it did?
RICKIE FOWLER: I've always loved this tournament. I love the golf course. It's a true test of golf, especially on days like this. You can't fake it around here. If you're a little off, it's going to tear you apart. And yeah, it's unfortunate schedule-wise this being in between LA, the WGC Mexico City and then we've got Arnie's event next week, an invitational, and then THE PLAYERS. I would say probably you would see this one and I don't know how Valspar Tampa event will be, as well. Just all part of the schedule. But as I said, I've always loved playing here, I love the test, and it's always nice being a past champ.

Q. Do you know Keith?
RICKIE FOWLER: I don't know him that well. I know he's close to some of the guys that I know, been around a little bit, and awesome guy. Obviously good enough player to win. I've always heard a lot of good things about him. I haven't played with him or seen him play much. But like I said earlier, you can't fake it around this golf course, and you have to go out there and earn it.

Q. What do you remember about the nerves of your first win or how difficult it was just to get over that hurdle?
RICKIE FOWLER: I mean, at times -- nothing is given to you. It's never easy. You'd rather see guys run away with tournaments and walk in with a comfortable lead. It's usually coming down to the last couple holes. With my first win being in Charlotte, going into a playoff, the shootouts are fun. The tournament is done, it's down to one, two, three guys, however many are in the playoff. So that's a different feeling than when you're on the last and have a putt to win outright. It was pretty cool. So obviously, yeah, happy for Keith. You can't fake it around this place, so he went out and got the job done, and he earned it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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