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March 23, 2010

Rickie Fowler


MARK STEVENS: Like to welcome Rickie Fowler to the media center. Rickie is the leading rookie in the FedExCup points. He's currently in 20th. He has actually played Bay Hill in the past as a junior.
Maybe if you can start off just kind of talking a little bit about your experience here and then we'll take some questions.
RICKIE FOWLER: I've had a lot of good experiences here. I've played two times in the HP Boys, which is an AJGA event, and the last time I was here, I won. So trying to pull off that win and have a good week.
MARK STEVENS: Have you been on the course this week? And talk a little bit about what you remember there, and then the recent renovations to the course, if there's anything that caught your eye.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I played this morning. The course looks really good. I like all of the run-offs that were added instead of just greens with rough around them. Adds a bit of character. The greens were in a way flattened out a bit.
Some of the -- kind of I guess drastic slopes and little bumps that were on the greens were smoothed out, and the bunkers I think look awesome. They are a little bit more visible to the eye, and definitely changes the course visually, and maybe pushes you as they would, off the tee at certain times.
Like I said, the course looks great. GOOD condition. Looking forward to it.

Q. I saw you went off real early with Ryo Ishikawa this morning. Just wonder how that went. Did you have a good conversation with him going around?
RICKIE FOWLER: He actually played behind me.

Q. Oh, I thought you went off with him.
RICKIE FOWLER: No, I went off on my own. I think he wanted to do his own practice round by myself, so I went out solo and played the first few holes by myself. Then joined up with Matt Every, Garrett Willis and Sam Saunders.

Q. What did you shoot when you won the AJGA event?
RICKIE FOWLER: I can't remember exactly. I know the last two rounds I played well. I think I shot 67-68 on the weekend.

Q. Obviously the lay-up in Phoenix got a lot of attention; did it get more than you expected to get, or is that a shot that you think you might get second-guessed? Just your reaction to the whole thing.
RICKIE FOWLER: No, I never thought they would get on me about it and I didn't think it was going to get as much, I guess, publicity as it did. You know, I felt I would get more of a hard time going for it hitting into the water at that point. Not that that made any difference in my decision. I told my caddie walking off the tee, if I didn't have iron in my hand, I wasn't going for it.
We talked about that in the Pro-Am. Played a four-hole Pro-Am thing on Tuesday afternoon. It was four guys walking along with some people from -- I can't remember, what was it, Samsung I think, one of the phone companies or something.
So we were walking down and I was in a similar -- not a similar position, but I went for it with a 3-wood. It doesn't matter at that point. They were asking kind of what would you do in situations on Sunday. And I said if I'm one shot back, I'm going to I lay-up. But if I'm two to three shots back, I'm going for it. Because 16, I have played all week, it's a short par 3. 17 is a short par 4 and 18, usually get a short iron to possibly a wedge in your hand. So there's three birdie chances, and if you're one shot back, I mean, you have plenty of opportunity.
So I felt with giving myself a wedge on 15 to an easy front pin was almost not guaranteed birdie, but more than half the time I'm going to make birdie. And you know, not to look at the downside of things, but I wasn't -- I mean, the tournament can't be won on 15, but it can be lost. So I felt like with giving myself a wedge on 15 from a good yardage and then going onto some possible birdie holes after that was the best opportunity.

Q. Chip Beck laid up at Augusta in '93 and recently he told me that if he had to do it over again, he would hit 3-wood and go for it. Would you, if you had a mulligan right now, would you go for the green or lay-up?
RICKIE FOWLER: I would love to have the wedge back personally. Just the way I just caught it a groove low and it came out a little low.
Seeing how everything played out, yeah, obviously I would like to go back and go for it, but it's a completely different situation. At the time I played my wedges really well that week. And so I felt like giving myself a wedge there and with the birdie holes that were in front of me. I felt like it was the best way to play.
But yeah, sure, if you're going to put me back in the situation, I'll go for it right now and give myself a different shot at it.

Q. You talked in Phoenix about your putting just had not been it's normal self. What's the state of your putter? Gotten awake yet? Have you got it rolling like you expect to putt, or what's the state of your putting?
RICKIE FOWLER: It's getting there. I think we had made maybe, one, two, three putts outside of 20 feet all year, maybe outside 15 feet. And I've been hitting good putts all year. A lot of putts, taking a look and just missing low or missing high.
I actually rolled in two putts in a row, I think one I saw on the highlights was like 39 feet and the other one was like 44 or something last week, and they were back-to-back.
So there's a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

Q. Did you make any changes or are you just riding it out figuring it's going to turn?
RICKIE FOWLER: Just doing the same things. Trying to hit solid putts, control the speed. Obviously if you don't hit the putts solid, it's tough to control your speed, and speed is half -- part of the battle of trying to make the putt, speed and line. So trying to just get where I'm controlling my speed really well, and go from there.

Q. Could you talk a little about just now that you're sort of into the flow of the professional tour and so forth, how you've adjusted to that and playing this much golf, and sort of -- whereas before, you still had college courses and things like that, and now -- I'm sure it's not all golf, but just the general flow of getting into this?
RICKIE FOWLER: I love it out here. Definitely beats sitting in class and writing papers.
It's been a lot of fun. The travel and the golf hasn't been too much. If I was at school or back home, I basically played or practiced every day. So that's nothing different.
Playing every week in a tournament is a little bit more, so making sure that I don't play too many in a row or get enough rest; so getting into my own routine with workouts. And at times I'm just taking Mondays off, just taking a break from the week prior so I can catch back up on some rest so I feel a bit more fresh for the week.
Everything has been going really well. Adjusted pretty quickly.

Q. As the latest in a long line of top young players coming out here, how do you frame expectation?
RICKIE FOWLER: I know there's a lot of expectations outside the ropes from media and different stuff. But I feel like I have higher expectations for myself, and I kind of let the expectations from elsewhere kind of go in one ear and out the other. I definitely like to read articles and stuff like that written or me or other rookies and stuff and see what's going on, but for the most part, I just focus on what I want to do and go out and play.

Q. Any idea whether the Cobra/PUMA deal, will that affect your deal in the long run?
RICKIE FOWLER: No, right now, Titleist guy and that's what it's been. So we'll see what happens. But no, nothing's affecting right now.
MARK STEVENS: Thanks a lot, Rickie and good luck this week.

End of FastScripts

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