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August 5, 2011

Rickie Fowler


MARK STEVENS: I'd like to welcome Rickie Fowler. Great round today of 64. If you want to kind of talk about your highlights. I know you had 21 putts today.
RICKIE FOWLER: I hadn't counted up putts yet, but that's pretty good. Other than that, really just had the putter going, gave myself a lot of confidence with that, hit a couple in there close, which I didn't really have to worry too much about.
When I went the made, went and played the front nine, my back nine, went and made some good putts for birdies. Other than that, my four bogeys, I just had a couple mistakes, hit it in some spots that made it tough on me to get up-and-down for par.
Other than that, a lot of good came out of the day. Making that many birdies, I mean, you've got to be doing something right. I got some confidence going into the weekend.
MARK STEVENS: You didn't have any putts on No. 3. You eagled that with I think it was a gap wedge.
MARK STEVENS: That was the only the second eagle since 1983 on that hole. If you want to go through that hole and explain that to us.
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I hit two perfect shots. I hit a great drive down there, really couldn't have hit it any straighter where I was aiming, and then had 110 yards. Having a wedge in our hand, we're trying to hit it close and obviously give ourselves a look at birdie. It was going right at it, landed just past the hole, came back, and from my angle knew it was going right down the stick so knew it had a chance, and fell right in the back door.

Q. You addressed this along the way. You've had some good events obviously. Winning the first one, I know we've talked to you about it before, do you have to kind of forget about that breaking the ice kind of thing? I know you're only halfway through now, but you're playing very well, you've been showing well. What's your mindset when it comes to that to try to break through and where it goes from there?
RICKIE FOWLER: For the most part, just focus on my game and focus on playing well. It's not something you can put in the back of your head. I won in junior and amateur golf, but it's a well known fact and not exactly something you can put to the side that I haven't won yet as a pro. For the most part, I'm going to be focusing on my game.
Obviously I have been playing well lately and have been in contention, so if I put myself in contention after tomorrow going into Sunday, it'll be familiar territory from the last month, and we'll be ready to go play. For the most part, getting the ball in play for me, and go from there. If I hit some fairways, it definitely gives me -- you know, putting irons in my hands and get the ball on the green. My putter has been good, so take it from there. The focus is going to be on playing well and let the other things fall into place.

Q. As well as you're playing, do you kind of feel like it's just a matter of time for you? Is that kind of the way you're feeling? It's going to fall into place at some point?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I can't go out and force it or try too hard to win. It's something that's just got to happen. It's a bit of a learning process, learning how to win on the TOUR. Some guys do it quicker than others. I've only been pro for -- I'll be pro for two years coming September 14th, I think, so haven't been a pro too long yet. But yeah, it's something that's just got to happen. I'm not going to try and force it, and I don't think it's something really that you can force the issue on.

Q. You seem to enjoy a special connection with your fans. Can you talk about that and why that is, why you think that is?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I mean, the fans are a big part of the reason why we get to play the game for a living and get to play on the PGA TOUR and around the world. I guess it's my job, but it doesn't really feel like that. They're a big part of the reason why we get to play. You know, it's the least I can do to give back to them, signing autographs when I can. I feel like I have a good connection with the younger crowd, and it's cool to see young boys and girls out there following me around and calling out my name. You know, to have a chance to have impacts on little kids like that, maybe I guide them in the right way, and that's something I want to do, and definitely you want to be a positive role model.

Q. Going back to the earlier topic, I've actually been talking this week to a lot of players and you about that process of winning, and so many players will turn around and say they've had some other experience or something has happened that's helped them win, like Darren talking about nothing compared with coming back after the death of his wife or Keegan Bradley said the weather was so bad when he won he didn't have a chance to think because he was just trying to play golf. Do you think it's just a life experience or a golf experience that will help you learn that it's not the biggest deal in your life, and that will be what gets you over the final little hurdle?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, it could be. I guess I haven't had really a big struggle like some guys have had prior to winning. Like I talked about earlier, it's more something I feel like has to fall into place, you know, not something where I can go out and try and force the issue on. I can't go out there and push myself to win. I have to do this. It's something where I just focus on playing well, something I've been doing lately, and if it's my time to win, it's my time.

Q. A follow-up on the same question. Did you notice at some point an uptick in the following and do you think it might be tied to success or your apparel and such?
RICKIE FOWLER: It's been kind of just a gradual increase of fans and seeing Puma product out there on the course. There's definitely a lot more hats and Puma clothing on the course than there was last year. It's been probably -- after my first year on TOUR and playing on the Ryder Cup team and then going into 2011 season, the difference between 2010 and 2011 has been pretty significant.

Q. You didn't really do much this year up until summertime or so. When you look back, what do you pin that on, do you think?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I struggled off the tee. I cracked my driver last year in November, the driver that I used for about two and a half years, which I was a pretty good driver of the ball. I had some distance, hit a lot of fairways, and struggled to get one back into play that I had confidence with and drove it as well with.
I finally found one about March or April, and I'm a big believer in, you know, confidence in a club and trusting it, and sometimes it takes me a little bit of time with that. It finally started to come around, and I've been driving the ball really well lately, the past month or two. And as a result, I am playing better and in contention a bit.

Q. Where and when did you crack it, and how?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I didn't notice it until right after Disney, a day or two after. I was actually down at the ADT skills challenge when I noticed it. So luckily it was basically post-season. My season was done, and I had some time to work on some stuff.
But I think that was kind of the main issue. I was struggling off the tee early, really struggling with just confidence and trusting a new driver, and finally got some playing time with one, and it's starting to come around.

Q. Have you seen Ryo at all this week?

Q. And has he inspired you at all?
RICKIE FOWLER: Inspired me in what way?

Q. What do you think?
RICKIE FOWLER: You like his haircut?

Q. I do.
RICKIE FOWLER: Did you see his hair at the Open Championship?

Q. I don't know that I did.
RICKIE FOWLER: He had some curly-Qs going or something. He's had a couple of different hair styles in the last month or so. No, he hasn't inspired me on the haircut. I don't know when I'm going to get a haircut. I can't remember the last time I did. We'll keep it going.

Q. When was it do you think, '09, '10?
RICKIE FOWLER: It was a couple months ago.

Q. I was out at a couple of junior tournaments in China earlier this year, and I noticed the first Chinese kids are getting into Fowler fashion. How strange is it going to be seeing young Chinese kids with your look?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, it's just cool to see that I have somewhat of an impact on the younger fans, the younger golfers. And it's what I talked about earlier a little bit. It's cool to actually have a chance to have an impact on other people's lives. Hopefully, like I said, I can guide them in the right way and be a good role model for some of them.

Q. What will the color be for Saturday, and how is that decided?
RICKIE FOWLER: Tomorrow I think I -- well, since we're playing early, it won't be as hot, which is good. But I actually laid some stuff out earlier in the week. I'm not sure if I should tell anyone what I'm wearing tomorrow or not. Like at majors, Puma and I plan it out a few months ahead of time so they know what I'm wearing at the majors, but normal events, WGCs, I get to pick what I want to wear. Tomorrow is good. I finally got all the colored shoes in for this season's line, so I've been able to put some good outfits together. We'll put a good one together tomorrow. It's not getting any brighter than this.

Q. What was the second coolest shot you hit today? I assume holing out the eagle was the highlight. What was the second best?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, that was definitely the highlight.
I made a couple good putts from outside 15, 20 feet that were pretty good there. I don't know, I think the one that kind of got me back going -- I made bogey on 4 after driving it in the fairway. But I made a good putt on 5. It was not an easy putt; it was kind of up and over a little false front, so made a good putt there and that kind of led me on to making a few more good putts down the stretch.

Q. Was Memorial kind of the weekend where you started making all the birdies? Was that where your run kind of started?
RICKIE FOWLER: A little bit. I pulled on some past experience there from last year, so it was nice to go to a place where I had played well. It's probably -- I'm trying to think of the exact times. But I definitely drove it -- that's about the time I started to drive it better, you know, kind of May-ish. So it's been mid-May, so two, two and a half months where I finally had the driver coming around. Prior to that it took about two months to really get some trust and confidence into the new driver that I put in at Honda.

Q. Did you see the front of the newspaper this morning?

Q. Sports section?
RICKIE FOWLER: I forgot to grab it at the hotel.
MARK STEVENS: Thanks for your time, Rickie. Good luck this weekend.

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