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June 4, 2010

Rickie Fowler


DOUG MILNE: Rickie Fowler, thanks for joining us. First round 65 here at the Memorial Tournament. Second round 66. Tied the 36-hole record of 131 with Scott Hoch. You're flat out making it look easier out there. Any comments on your nerves, how you're holding up at the halfway point?
RICKIE FOWLER: Just being in contention the few times I have over the last eight months or so since I turned pro, this is by far the best that I've felt.
Game feels good. Putter's working a bit. So we're having some fun. Both Donnie and I are looking forward to the next two days.
DOUG MILNE: We'll go ahead and open it up for questions.

Q. Why is it the best you felt?
RICKIE FOWLER: I just feel really comfortable getting out and seeing my name on top of the leaderboard. It's not making me feel much nerves at all.
Like I said, I'm feeling really comfortable. Almost out there trying to put as much space as I could between me and, I think, Petrovic got to 8. So it was basically just going out and having some fun.

Q. So when you do look back at Phoenix or -- the other one, a little bit jarring at times to be in that position? Just the newness of it?
RICKIE FOWLER: A little bit. I mean, it's all about learning. And being in contention as much as possible can only help.
I can definitely see it these last two days.

Q. Rickie, when you came out of college, did you feel that you were going to be pretty much an instant success? And how has it gone compared to what you thought it would be? Is it just the same winning college tournaments, winning on Tour in terms of it's still winning? Winning is winning?
RICKIE FOWLER: Golf is golf. I show up at tournaments to win. I didn't exactly expect myself -- I guess I had high expectations for myself, but I didn't -- you know, I wasn't sure how everything was going to play out, especially with having to go to Q School and play through the fall series.
You don't know if you're going to get your card. You're not sure if you're going to have status. Nothing was set in stone. So I had no clue what was going to happen when I turned pro in September. I just knew I had a couple starts, and I was going to get to play a few times and go to Q School from there.
So having a great time. I love playing golf, and I've always dreamt of playing on the PGA Tour. So it's pretty cool.

Q. Has it been as you sort of thought it would? I mean, did you feel like you needed a year or two to get used to being out here or did you think it could be quicker?
RICKIE FOWLER: With getting some of the starts I did at the Amateur and some Tour events, I felt that I could play and compete with these guys.
So I didn't really see myself not being in contention. I felt that I could go out and win if I played well, and it's definitely showed the few times I've been in contention, I've been able to hang around.
Hopefully, the "W" will come soon.

Q. Being out there and watching you play and put some distance between yourself and everybody else, I was reminded of McIlroy a little bit at Quail Hollow. I was just wondering, did you watch that? What your reaction was to when he shot 62 in the final day and whether that kind of spurred you on a little bit?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, definitely. With Rory doing that and Ryo shooting, I think, 58 over in Japan the same day, I was kind of on the backseat around 67 at Quail Hollow on Sunday, which is a pretty good round.
But, no, I love to see guys like Rory and Ryo and the other young guys playing well. I think we can push each other to be the best that we can be, and hopefully we can keep doing that.

Q. There is a big difference between being a good player out here and being that same good player who becomes a personality. It seems obvious that you do enjoy the stage and attention, i.e., the wardrobe. Is that true? And what goes behind the thoughts of the wardrobe and your comfortableness in the spotlight?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I mean, I've always dressed different. I come from a different background. I didn't grow up at a country club, so I was always wearing kind of whatever I wanted. I grew up riding racing dirt bikes. So kind of edgy in a way.
I just kind of -- I pick out what I want to wear. Every once in a while, put a little something in for bigger tournaments. What you see is what you get. It's me. I just love being out here. I don't mind the spotlight.
Some people would think it would put pressure on me, but I've dealt with expectations through junior golf, amateur golf, and college golf. So far, so good.

Q. Do you get good-natured needling from other players?
RICKIE FOWLER: They give me -- you know, I get some comments every once in a while, but, I mean, it's more -- they say, "Nice outfit." And then they talk about how they would never wear something like that or be able to pull it off.

Q. Were you reluctant at all to do that when you got on Tour? Did you think about trying to conform more to what everybody -- I mean, look more like what everybody else looks like. Did that cross your mind?
RICKIE FOWLER: Not really. I wanted to -- being my own person, I didn't want to just fit in. I never -- I mean, I wore big belt buckles through college with OSU on them or white belt in high school, which the white belt really hadn't come back yet.
I was always wearing some different stuff that not everyone else was wearing.

Q. Rickie, Donnie was saying that -- you know, we were asking him about the before and after since he's got a longer view of you than most. He said if there's been any change for you from Okie State to now. He said, he thought you were a little more patient and picked your spots and weren't as flag happy maybe. Would you go along with that? Is that fair to say you've made that adjustment?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I definitely think I'm a smarter player. The pins are a little bit more tucked out here than you find in college golf.
Every once in a while, you have some tournaments where they don't want you to shoot very low, so they'll tuck some. But for the most part in college, it was hit it at the fairway, go at the pin, try to make as many birdies as possible.
Out here, you've got to position yourself around play golf and hit golf shots.

Q. Do you like playing safe when you have to? I mean, it seems like you're out there on a dirt bike challenging the course.
RICKIE FOWLER: I do hit a lot of drivers off the tees, and I go at a lot of pins. But I'm definitely playing -- I'm taking more time and making sure I'm committed to shots. Whether it's a safe play or the grove play, I'm fully committing and sticking to what I want to do on that and not having any second thoughts.
I think that's a big part of it as well.

Q. Where are you with the U.S. Open? Do you have to do 36 on Monday?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah. I'm not sure what my tee time is.

Q. No matter what happens here, right?
RICKIE FOWLER: I'm just playing. I'm not sure.

Q. If you win, it doesn't change anything. There's no 11th hour reprieve or Masters type stipulation?
RICKIE FOWLER: No. I'm playing Monday.

Q. What's it like playing with Donnie? Does it feel like college again? Does it make you -- is there a comfort level there? Does that help?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah. No, I mean, it's really similar to what Joe and I, my normal caddie and I have.
I grew up playing with Joe. He's a little bit older than me. Donnie obviously walked with me quite a bit in college. So I mean, really, we're out there just kind of playing some golf and not really trying to worry about what's going on outside of what we're doing.

Q. What's Joe doing?
RICKIE FOWLER: He's taking the week off. The opportunity came that Donnie had the week off. He lives here now, being with Ohio State, and always wanted the opportunity to have him or the other two coaches to get on the bag. So Joe's -- he has a week off.

Q. What's Joe's last name?

Q. You talked about being comfortable in the outfits and what not. And having the coach on your bag. Do you feel like you've created a little bit of a buzz with the galleries here in Columbus?
RICKIE FOWLER: I think, if I hadn't have played well, I don't think there would have been much spotlight at all. I don't think there would have been much story with me and Donnie. I think the play has definitely helped. With good play, that brings spotlight. So definitely don't mind it.
DOUG MILNE: Rickie, keep it up. Thanks for your time. I always appreciate it.

End of FastScripts

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