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April 11, 2013

Rickie Fowler


THE MODERATOR:¬† Ladies and gentlemen, we are pleased to welcome Rickie Fowler to the interview room.¬† Looked like you battled through an up‑and‑down round there for a while and then really kick started things with an eagle on 15; how did that feel?
RICKIE FOWLER:  It was definitely a speed bump out of the gate, bogeying 1, I hit it in a spot that you just can't, to the back left pin, hit it long right, poor chip, tried to make 5, ended up with 6.
10, just bad swing and actually made a really good 6, if there is such a thing.
Other than that, played 16 holes really well.  Definitely challenged my short game today and got a lot out of that, kind of showed me that that's here and working correctly.  So chipping and putting is a good thing to have around this place, and going to go get a few swings in on the range after this, get it straightened out and try to keep the ball a little bit more in front of us tomorrow.

Q.  You birdied after each of the doubles; is that an example of how you normally channel your emotions in those times?
RICKIE FOWLER:¬† I'm usually pretty good with bounce‑backs.¬† Like I said, I made a lot of good swings today.¬† Just so happened that the par5 on 2, if you don't birdie it, you're a little upset.
And 11 was probably one of my better birdies of the day.  I hit a good drive, a great shot, and a good putt.  Just kind of happened at the right time.  It was nice to kind of turn around after making a double and making birdie to calm myself down.

Q.  Take us through why 10 was a good double, and then how far was the putt at 11?
RICKIE FOWLER:¬† 10, I hung driver off to the right just a little bit.¬† I was on the higher part of the fairway, and it's actually pretty steep, downhill lie, ball is above your feet, back right pin.¬† I was just trying to kind of hold a 5‑iron in there in the middle of the green.¬† Just never really felt that comfortable over it.
Hit it thin, peeled it with a nice cut out to the right and ended up in a bush, so I had to take an unplayable, dropped it, knew that the bunker short was an okay leave.  Just carried into the lip and came back.
Hit a bunker shot which I thought was a little better than where it ended up and made about a 12‑ to 15‑footer for double.¬† So jump started the birdie on 11.

Q.  What did you hit on 11 and how far?
RICKIE FOWLER:¬† I hit a 5‑iron in there.

Q.  From?
RICKIE FOWLER:¬† I want to say it was close to 215 or something.¬† One of‑‑ probably my best swing of the day, and the putt was probably 15, 18 feet.

Q.  When you finish up today, how much time do you spend, at all, looking at who is up there, who is around you?  You've been in contention here before; do you pay attention or what do you say to yourself?
RICKIE FOWLER:¬† It was actually funny to see them put my name and scores up on the leaderboard when I was on 16 green.¬† I was like, oh, this is going to be interesting, seeing 2‑1‑0, seeing all the numbers back and forth.¬† Probably some people laughing at that.
I'll look around.  I noticed that Marc was playing well today.  I enjoy it, just being here and being around, getting to play Augusta, being here for the Masters.  I mean, for the most part, you can look around and see what guys are doing, but I've got to focus on my game the first three days and get ourselves into the position that we want to be going into Sunday.

Q.  Talk a little about the scenario on 18 with you and Paddy hitting at the same time; what did you guys talk about afterwards?
RICKIE FOWLER:  It was kind of funny.  I don't know if that's ever really happened here.  Well, he told me, he thought that my ball was on the green, because originally, when my ball hit, it was on the green and came back off the false front.  So he may not have watched it come to rest and thought it was just on the bottom shelf.
He was going through a dropping process over there on the left of the green.  My caddie was cruising back up from raking the bunker and my back's to him when I'm about to hit the shot.  So I can't see what he's about to do.  I was away, so I was okay (laughter).
No, my caddie wasn't really looking over to Pádraig, and it was just funny.  I thought I heard something or someone hit.  But I was kind of already in motion.  I've seen my ball flying up to the top tier and there's a ball cruising across the back of the green (laughter).  I didn't know what was going on.
Worked out well, made 4, and just a funny situation here at Augusta.

Q.  Brandel Chamblee said last week that as a smaller guy with the length here, you really have to red line your shots.  Do you feel challenged by the length here?  Do you feel like it's within your reach?
RICKIE FOWLER:¬† No, I definitely feel like it's definitely within reach.¬† I can still get to all the par 5s.¬† I may not have‑‑ I think Jason hit a 6‑iron today into 15; I hit hybrid.¬† So I mean, there's going to be some guys hitting shorter clubs than I will be.
But no, I feel like I'm above average on the length. ¬†I can still get at some par 5s, but I also feel like I'm a good long iron player.¬† Just have to deal with it.¬† I'm not going to get any longer and have to hit the shots and try to get my 4‑iron inside of guys hitting 6‑iron.¬† Make more putts like them.

Q.¬† Seems like days like this started to build at Bay Hill; is this stretch a by‑product of you being healthy and doing the things you need to do?
RICKIE FOWLER:¬† Yeah, my back is definitely starting to feel a lot better.¬† Bay Hill was the first 72‑hole event I was able to play without any medication.¬† So I'm definitely on the upswing on the health side of things with my back.¬† It's nice to not have to worry about it as much.
The swing is feeling good.  I made a couple swirly swings today, but it's nice to play with less pain than last year.  That was not a fun eight months from June on, and you know, excited about where my game is and where I was coming in this week and definitely makes me feel comfortable and confident coming in here.

Q.  You kind of kept it quiet that you were seemingly hurt that bad.
RICKIE FOWLER:  Yeah, I didn't want to make a big deal of it.  I was never really a person to make excuses for anything happening.
My main goal last year through the summer was to try to make The Ryder Cup Team, and I was in a good position and just needed to keep playing well, and unfortunately wasn't able to do that.  It was a bit of a disappointment.
But spent the off‑season, was supposed to go to Asia for two events, and stayed back, was working on my back and the swing.¬† And health‑wise, things are starting to come together now.¬† So I'm excited.

Q.  I think Bubba told us the other day that you came out to watch him in the playoff last year?  Having seen that, how does that affect the way you look at the Masters, like this is attainable, or just being in the environment, what does it make you feel about this event?
RICKIE FOWLER:  Well, I mean, probably one of the things that shocked me most or was a cool event was hearing how quiet it is here Sunday afternoon when the final group is coming up 18; and during the playoff, it's pretty crazy.  There's nothing going on, it's just still.
Seeing him do what he did, being there with him and being able to share that moment and on through the night, through dinner and stuff, it was definitely special and gave me a little bit of a kick in the butt to go win a golf tournament and ended up winning at Quail Hollow not too long after.  Made me, I guess, appreciate the Masters a little bit more.

Q.  Do you approach a Thursday around here any differently than you might a weekend round?  Is there a bit of a feeling out?  Are you more conservative on a Thursday than you might be later in the tournament?
RICKIE FOWLER:  It definitely depends.  If you're in contention, if you're behind trying to make something happen, Thursday, Friday, you're just trying to go out, stay consistent, which I didn't really do today, but figured it out.
Just try to keep moving forward, not take yourself out of the tournament.  You know you can't win it on Thursday, but you definitely can lose it.  So yeah, just trying to stick to the game plan, not take too many risks.  Unlike if you're in contention on Sunday, you may try and hit it in there a little closer and make a few things happen.

Q.¬† Jason said you hit an all‑world shot on 17; can you describe that?¬† And then what is your first Masters memory as a kid, and was it that important to you to watch when you were a kid?
RICKIE FOWLER:¬† 17, I got a little lucky.¬† I hit one left.¬† And what's usually fun around Augusta is a lot of times you'll have some sort of shot, unless you hit it in the bush like I did on 10.¬† I had a bit of an opening.¬† It was an uphill lie, so it wasn't hard to get the ball up in the air.¬† I had a slot between two trees and just had to let it cut a little bit.¬† I ended up hitting 6‑iron, knocked it in there.¬† Couldn't really place it in a better spot whether you're in the fairway or wherever and then hit a great putt and made birdie.
My first major memory probably would have been Tiger in'97.¬† I re‑watched that a few times.¬† Obviously that was a pretty special year with him and the Masters.¬† Fun to watch that and see how different he played then versus now with some of the changes and conditions of the course.

Q.  How wide was the slot on 17?
RICKIE FOWLER:  I tried not to look at it too much.  It was big enough.  I was actually looking a little higher and the ball came out a little lower, and I was thinking it was, I don't know, maybe five, six feet wide.

Q.  Talking about watching Bubba last year, did you try that shot this week that he hit last year on 10?
RICKIE FOWLER:  No.  I told him to never hit it, either.  He's hit it once and that's all he's going to hit it.  So I'm never going to try and do that one unless I'm actually down there.
But he was in the perfect spot‑‑ well, not the perfect spot; he was in the wrong spot at the right time.¬† Definitely a lot harder for a right‑handed player to pull that one off.

Q.¬† This ought to be good to wrap it up, in Motocross parlance, how do you describe the round today?¬† A couple of spin‑outs, but you didn't break the bike?
RICKIE FOWLER:  No, I mean, I would have went down pretty hard on the first corner and probably been out of the race.  (Laughter).
Yeah, could have been a pile‑up in the first corner, so I would have been heading back to the pits.¬† (Smiling).
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you for your time today.  Good luck the rest of the week.

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