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January 1, 2020

Rickie Fowler

Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

RACHEL NOBLE: I'd like to welcome Rickie Fowler to the Sentry Tournament of Champions interview room. Rickie, you won the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and you qualified to get here. Thoughts on being back and some comments on the course.

RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, obviously it's always nice to start your year here at Kapalua and Maui. Unfortunately it's really close to New Year's this year, so I don't think anyone really made it to the New Year's of Hawai'i. We probably all celebrated East Coast. But no, it's always good to be back here.

The course is good. It's a little softer than normal. The fairways aren't running a whole lot. Seems like No. 18, the ball doesn't really chase down there a whole lot. And then as far as the greens, I feel like for the most part they just took a lot of the slopes or kind of tiers that were there and defined them a little bit more, so new or better pin placements, areas where the ball will stay a little bit better, so like I said, those areas are a little bit better defined.

But yeah, looking forward to it. I think it's only going to get better. Obviously it's brand new, being that it's the first year to go around it. But yeah, greens are rolling good, so that's always a good thing.

Q. Do you expect it'll be harder, though, with the changes?
RICKIE FOWLER: The way it's playing right now and then with -- the way the wind was the last couple days, today it's pretty light. I think tomorrow is going to be, as well. I do think it'll play a little harder. I think the course is a bit more playable, but with those sections being the way they are and the greens being firm, I think it's going to be hard to get the ball close a lot of times. There will be certain pin placements and certain holes where you'll be able to get it close, but it's not really just point-and-shoot.

Q. Top six every time you've played here. Why is that?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I love playing in the wind. I feel like this golf course also allows you to use your imagination. Obviously with the amount of up and down and side slopes, and in the wind you've got to have some imagination on shot shape and hit your windows and let the wind -- when it's blowing over 10 or 15, you can't really hold it up against the wind, so you kind of have to play with it and let the wind move your ball, so judging that properly is always fun for me.

Yeah, looking forward to it. I mean, top six every time isn't saying a whole lot because typically there's only around 30 or so guys. So hopefully we can keep that going. I'm feeling good about the game, and I think that says something to -- I've played well here in the past and consistent. Looking forward to getting out there tomorrow to get off to a good start.

Q. What are your goals for this year, specifics if you will, if you can give us some of those, both on and off the course?
RICKIE FOWLER: On course, multiple wins, knock off a major. Those would be the primary. Do that, I feel like a lot of other things will fall into place, and that would obviously help me move up the World Rankings and have a chance for the Olympics, get points to be there for the Ryder Cup. Obviously making birdies and playing well answers a lot of questions.

There's multiple things. I obviously want to be there for the Ryder Cup. Love to be back for another Olympics. But yeah, winning takes care of a lot of things. Multiple-win season and knock off a major.

Off course, really want to start doing more with our foundation and getting that going and hopefully having our own event or some sort of event that helps fund the foundation. That way we can push the initiatives that we want to put forth, one being what we've talked about a lot with leukemia. It would be more so here in the States and figuring out how we can cross over with Challenge, and I know Briony has also wanted to do a lot, not just in Australia with Challenge but in the States, as well, to kind of keep Jarrod's name alive. So that would be one of the avenues we want to go outside of sport and education.

Q. Anything fun that you want to do more of, just personally?
RICKIE FOWLER: More fun? Any time we get to just be at home and relax, that's fun enough. You know, with how much we travel and are on the road and then shoots and stuff when we are home, the more time we get free time at home -- yeah, more free time would be good.

Q. I don't think the average fan has any conception of the fine line it is out here between winning and losing. Could you address that a little bit from a player's perspective? I mean, sometimes it's, what, one bounce, one putt?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, it's a very fine line. Yeah, I would say other than -- a lot of you here, people that cover golf on a regular basis and watch kind of tournaments unfold and then players, as well, outside of that it's hard to really explain to people how fine of a line it is. We can all relate and talk to each other about it, but as far as maybe a general fan, unless they're truly at an event and watch every shot, every hole, yeah, a lot of times it can come down to a putt that lips in or lips out, a good kick versus a bad kick, and that can be all the difference of actually being in contention on Sunday with a chance to win or just trying to finish top 10. Sometimes even one good bounce and you happen to make the cut on the number and you play well on Saturday and then you're in contention Sunday.

Yeah, it's a very fine line.

Q. Rickie, wondering if you've looked ahead to how the major schedule rotation sets up for you, if you like Harding Park and Winged Foot and Royal St. George's, obviously the Masters is Augusta.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I mean, I've played all of them. I haven't played Winged Foot competitively. I've done an outing there for Wheels Up, and I think another one. So I have a couple rounds around Winged Foot. We played Match Play at Harding Park, and then Augusta, we don't really have to say a whole lot there. We all love it. And St. George's is -- one of the best rounds in Open golf I've played was the Saturday there. I'm looking forward to getting back there, hopefully get a little better weather. Augusta is always a great place. I mean, I've played well there.

I feel like this year -- I like where I've put myself in the past, but it would be nice to get one. It's hard to pick a favorite. I'd like to get one knocked out of the way quickly with a green jacket and then go to the rest with a major in the back pocket.

Q. I was going to ask you if you had a preference, but --
RICKIE FOWLER: I want to get a major -- at the end of the day, a major is a major on the column, but I mean, I'd like to take that first one, like I said, and go to the next three with one in the pocket.

Q. If you had your choice and you won three or four times in a year and there were no majors and you just won one in the season and it was a major, would you take the one?
RICKIE FOWLER: Oh, yeah, I'd take the major.

Q. I would think so.
RICKIE FOWLER: Since I don't have one yet, I would put --

Q. Well, that's not the point, even if you had one.
RICKIE FOWLER: If I were to take over the -- say next 10 years of my career, if it was one win a year, being a major every year or if it was multiple wins, I may take the multiple wins over the 10-year period and then take the chance that one of those and some of those in there would be a major. Majors are great, but I think the more times you go out and win, the better chance you're going to have at one of those multiple-win seasons being majors along the way.

Brooks has obviously done a great job of showing up and going and winning a major. It's not as easy as that. It's been pretty incredible to see how he's turned up and knocked off some majors like that. And not saying I don't focus on majors any more than the others, but like I said, playing consistently, being in contention and winning multiple tournaments I think will ultimately help me to get over that hump and get a major.

RACHEL NOBLE: Thanks for your time, Rickie. Good luck this week.

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