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June 2, 2011

Rickie Fowler


MARK STEVENS: We'd like to welcome Rickie Fowler. You got to 4-under, great birdie at the end there. If you want to talk about that and then we'll take a few questions.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, birdie on 18 is always a nice way to finish, especially here. It's a tough driving hole, tough second shot and had a tough putt, but nailed all three of them. Had it to 5-under after I holed out for an eagle, which was nice, and actually played 16 pretty well, I thought. I just missed a little putt for par there.
17, I made a bad swing, but we won't talk about that. Swinging it well, and it was nice to play 12 through 15 the way I did, and that definitely made the round.

Q. Talk about 16 again. Jack said he changed it kind of thinking about Presidents Cup and match play wanting to have tougher holes. Is that a hole that can stop momentum a little bit?
RICKIE FOWLER: It's definitely a tough hole. Right now the green is different than the other ones condition-wise. It's a bit firmer, rolls a little bit differently, so you have to play, I guess, a little bit of a different shot than you normally would if the green was similar to the others. With it being firmer you have to bring the ball in a little bit higher to stop it.
It's a great hole. It's tough. If that was the plan, to make the closing stretch a bit tougher, 16 is a good hole.

Q. So right now it's the green more than the addition of the water that's an issue?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, to hold the green you've got to hit a good shot. You've got to hit a ball that's going to be able to stop, and you've got to hit your number distance-wise pretty well, and obviously with the water in front, you can't miss short. So the water definitely makes it tougher with the bunker there before you could at least get up-and-down and you're not going to get up-and-down out of the water.

Q. You said playing 12 to 15 well was nice. Is that because -- I can't remember, is that sort of the stretch last year where you had a little trouble?
RICKIE FOWLER: 12 I did, yeah. 12 I made a bit of a rough swing on Sunday to a back right pin.

Q. Yeah, I remember that.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I ended up kind of coming out of a 5-iron, missed it, went in the water, made double. So obviously nice to rebound after that, after last year, make a birdie there, and got on to a little stretch, chipped in on the next hole, hit a wedge close on 14 and then holed out with a 9-iron on 15.

Q. How much does your fuse burn inside when you make a mistake or make a bogey or a double or whatever? What's your temper like?
RICKIE FOWLER: Externally you're not going to see a whole lot. Obviously I may -- I might not be smiling walking to the next tee. Internally I hate it, whether it be a bogey -- I mean, obviously the higher the number the worse it is. I hate making mistakes. Obviously I'm trying not to show it. I don't want to show a whole lot of anger or anything like that.
But I hate making mistakes, and that's what's kind of held me back this year. I think I've made more mistakes in places that I shouldn't be making mistakes, a little bit easier situations. So obviously inside what you can't see, I hate making mistakes, and that's what I'm working on right now probably most is really committing to shots and making sure I'm staying away from making -- making the fewest mistakes possible.

Q. But when you do make one, how soon are you over it?
RICKIE FOWLER: I'm over it pretty quickly. I try and -- that's one of the things, working on from making mistakes, obviously I don't want to be making mistakes, but I don't want it to have it affect as many shots as possible.
There have been times in the past where I rattle off a couple bogeys and it affects me, but I feel like I get over things pretty well. But like I said, I don't like screwing up, especially in an easy situation.

Q. Not just here but just about every tournament when you have a little blunder along the way there always seems to be a patch of birdies that follows, a lot.
RICKIE FOWLER: I definitely -- I feel like after I make a bogey or two, whatever it be, it kind of pushes me to kind of step on the gas, and whether it be make birdies or make a good par save, it kind of helps calm me down in a way.
So I definitely -- obviously it feels good to make a birdie after whether it be a bogey streak or something like that, but that's something I take pride in with the comebacks.

Q. Do you find yourself pressing at all this year, whether it be to get the first win or just to be in contention more, and if so, how do you fight that?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, obviously I have some high goals for myself. One of my main goals this year was to work on getting my first win. I haven't been in contention a whole lot. I've had a few looks, but it's been -- I've been a lot more consistent this year playing-wise and making cuts and stuff like that, but overall my ball-striking has been a little bit weaker than it was last year, so that's what's kind of held me back. So I don't think I am putting a whole lot of pressure on myself, it's just I've struggled a little bit off the tee getting the ball in the fairway.
I had a driver crack at the end of last year which I had played for two and a half years, so I had a lot of confidence in that and just working on getting some more confidence in the new driver, and the only way I can do that is just more playing time.

Q. Is it just the ebbs and flows of being a TOUR pro or are you surprised by that?
RICKIE FOWLER: It comes with golf. Same thing happened in college golf. I had a great freshman year and second year I just got off to a bit of a slow start, played well towards the middle and the end.
That's just golf. You can't always play good and there's going to be ups and downs. That's kind of what makes you -- how you fight back from the lows.

Q. Do you spend much time thinking about that first win? Do you obsess over it? Is it like every week you think this could be the week or do you try to put that out of your mind?
RICKIE FOWLER: I mean, I show up to every event playing to win. Obviously I don't want to come out here and try and finish 7th or anything like that. So any time I'm at a tournament or I'm in the field, that's my goal is to win the tournament. Obviously I haven't won one yet, but that's what I'm working on. I don't think I'm putting too much pressure on myself or anything like that.
I do think about it at times. Obviously I want to be ready for the occasion being in contention down the stretch. I've had a few opportunities for that and felt the nerves down the stretch. I felt like I've handled them pretty well. Just got to keep putting myself in that situation and wait for that door to open.

Q. More this year than last year I think I've seen you wear your hat backwards, and I'm wondering if that's gone from a thing that guys your age just normally do to kind of like an identity that you have out here on TOUR with the young kids especially?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, definitely here in the media room, especially for Augusta. I respect the rules there. (Laughter.)
No, I think it's easier for me to kind of interact. You guys can actually see my face instead of me hiding right here, and then when I'm out signing autographs people are able to see my face. I think it's a better way for me to interact and you can actually see my facial expressions. I don't want to hide from you guys or fans or anything like that.
It's become, I guess, a little thing of mine. I don't want to blend in with everyone else. My clothes don't match with everyone else's clothes. I'm my own person. I want to be my own person. I guess the hat backwards every once in a while, as long as it's okay and inside the rules, then I'll be myself.

Q. Jesper used to have advertising underneath his bill. Is it also a sponsorship thing, too?
RICKIE FOWLER: This is my website. Yeah, no, I mean, everything is still here. I've got Puma and my website and then Pro V1 on the side. Either way it works. Big Puma on the front and there's a Puma in the middle.

Q. Your caddie from last year was apparently unavailable. I think I know why. Can you talk a little bit about that?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, Coach Darr is down in Stillwater. I think they played this morning possibly. They're playing today in the final round of stroke play. I believe they were somewhere around 7th or 8th going into the final day. Yeah, if they went and played well they have a chance to make match play, which is huge for that program.
Coach Darr, if you don't know, he was the assistant at Oklahoma State when I played there for two years and caddied for me last year here. To see what he's doing with the program there is pretty cool. And obviously I'm a Cowboy, so I've got to pull for the Cowboys over the Buckeyes.

Q. Are you the only person in the world that can get those green shoes?
RICKIE FOWLER: Right now, yes. These are actually a new model of shoe that Puma is making. I think this style should be out later this summer. I'm not sure.
The color waves of how many different colors they're going to release in the shoes, just because they're somewhat of a small company, they've struggled to expand in the colors in the pants and shoes because not enough buyers yet. But I'm working on them.

Q. I presume orange is in the works, right?
RICKIE FOWLER: Orange is in. I believe there's orange pants coming out. They had orange shorts come out this spring, and then they have the pants coming out this summer. And they have some of the orange shoes. We've definitely brought orange into their line.

Q. You mentioned the driver cracking. Is that a mental thing? You talked about that confidence in the driver. Did that surprise you, that you maybe had a little bit of that issue with confidence without that driver?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I mean, I played it for two and a half years, so I had a lot of game time with it, a lot of trust and confidence with it. I'm not a guy that changes clubs a lot, so playing time is how I build confidence and trust with clubs.
So having to work into a new driver is just a transition period. I feel like I've got a good one in the bag right now. I've been playing it since Doral, or actually since Honda the week before that. It's just trying to get as much playing time with it and building up as much trust and confidence with it.

Q. Where did that crack last year?
RICKIE FOWLER: I cracked it -- I saw it basically right after Disney last year, so it was late in the year.

Q. There was a lot of rain here coming into the tournament. It's been a nice week so far. How does the course this year compare to the way it played last year?
RICKIE FOWLER: It's a lot firmer so far in the fairway. The greens were receptive today, definitely really good scoring conditions, but the fairways are a lot firmer than they were last year. Last year it was basically fly the ball and pick it up, clean it, and I'm pretty sure we played lift, clean -- did we play lift, clean and place at some point? The ball was basically plugging in the fairways last year. No. 1, No. 2, I think I hit drivers last year and right now I'm hitting 3-woods basically to or just past where I hit driver last year because the fairways are rolling a little bit.

Q. Because of all the international guys winning, do you get a sense that you're like America's best hope? Do you know what I mean? Kind of like everybody out there is rooting you on?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I mean, it's pretty cool to be one of the, I guess, kind of young guns or top players from the U.S. There's a lot of great American players right now, but it's definitely pretty cool to be talked about or mentioned amongst those guys.
You know, I'm trying to step up. I need to start playing a little better and get the ball-striking back to where it was last year. Ultimately that's where I want to be. I want to be the best player in the world at some point, and we just have a little bit of work to do. Like I said, there's a lot of great American players right now, and we'll see, we'll try and beat them out so we can be No. 1, but some work to do.

Q. Do you ever draw on that finish at the Ryder Cup, or is it too far removed now?
RICKIE FOWLER: I think I'll be able to draw on that for a long time. You know, the putts and the shots I hit under the pressure, I mean, obviously the Ryder Cup coming down the stretch, winning your match really means something. The final day is possibly one of the biggest stages you can be on. And to hit the ball the way I did and to put myself in the position that I needed to be at, basically I knew I needed to make birdies because of where I had been playing well all week and played well that day. To make the putts on 17 and 18 when I really needed to is something I'll be able to draw on for a long time.

Q. How did that pressure compare to anything else you've felt? Was it the tops of anything that you've dealt with or anything else compare?
RICKIE FOWLER: I think I was prepared for it better than I have been on different occasions. Some of the most pressure I've actually felt was probably the first tee of '07 Walker Cup. I was a pick on the team. I just kind of rose up to the top in the amateur level, and I was a little kid on the team. And then it was a similar situation for the Ryder Cup, but since I had been in that situation before since the Walker Cup is basically the highest level of amateur golf, playing in the Ryder Cup, it was a similar situation, like I said.
Really the last few holes I didn't have a whole lot of time to think about being nervous, I was so focused on what I was trying to do.
MARK STEVENS: Thanks a lot, Rickie. Good luck this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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