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September 30, 2016

Rickie Fowler

Zach Johnson

Jimmy Walker

Phil Mickelson

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

JOHN DEVER: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to the 41st Ryder Cup. Pleased to be joined on my right by Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler. Congratulations on your play this morning.

We have ten good minutes with these team members and we have to get them on their way, so I'm going to ask each of them to offer a brief comment about their match, and then we will open up the floor for questions.

Zach, could you start, please.

ZACH JOHNSON: Sure. Well, it was a match that I think being patient is probably the operative word. We didn't get off to a great start. And then right in the middle of the round, I felt a couple putts were pretty crucial. Quite frankly, a good halve on 7, and then Jimmy's par putt on 9, to me, was kind of the boost we needed, really, to keep it going.

After that, we didn't miss many shots, one; and two, we capitalized when we had opportunities. So we put the pressure on those last four or five holes in particular and just had great opportunities. That was just our goal was to create opportunities and fortunately we did that.

JIMMY WALKER: Yeah, slow start for Zach and I. And then Sergio had one of The Ryder Cup moments where he holes from off the green, looking like they are going to make bogey and they make par; we push the hole.

Then it was just about us continuing to -- we started hitting good shots and the momentum just kept building and building and building, and we both rode it. I think we could feel it coming. It was a great middle of the round, all the way to the end. Just kept hitting quality golf shots and putting a lot of pressure on them.

PHIL MICKELSON: We had a fun match. We had a really fun match. A lot of big swings, and it was fun for me to play with Rickie. We've had a number of years where we've wanted to do this again. We tried it in 2010 and this was a great opportunity for us to get back at it.

When I was a little bit tight and not swinging the best, he said just the right things and we ended up winning some holes. And to win three of the last four holes to win our match feels really good.

RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, it was an up-and-down match. We were down early. Got it back at the turn, which I felt like 7, 8, 9, were huge for us, after being 2-down through 6. We were both able to step up, hit some clutch shots. And you know, we ended up down after bogeying a couple -- making some good putts, Rory and Sully.

The way we stepped up again on the closing of the back nine, just like we did on the front nine, hitting some shots when we needed to; it was a lot of fun.

Nice to finally get my first point.

Q. Phil, as the most experienced guy up there, the foursomes format as a whole has been a real problem for the U.S. Team in recent Ryder Cups, Gleneagles probably a really good example of that. Can you think of an explanation as to why that changed so spectacularly this morning; that you've turned it around completely?
PHIL MICKELSON: What's interesting about that statement is, although it's accurate, in The Presidents Cup, that's our best format. We dominate the foursomes. And so there's no real great explanation because we've had such success in The Presidents Cup with that format, and haven't had it here in The Ryder Cup.

But I think we all kind of sensed and had a good feeling heading into today that the morning was going to go well. We didn't know it would go that well, but we knew we were going to have a good morning. And gosh, the guys just played some incredible golf. If you look at all the teams that were out there, there was some really spectacular shots hit this morning. It was fun to be a part of that.

Q. Can I just have all four of you comment on the importance of the fast start? I mean, obviously having lost three in a row and eight of the last ten and being tired of hearing about that; was there any kind of talk in the team room about the importance of trying to jump off and get that morning start?
ZACH JOHNSON: Well, yeah, I think there was probably discussion as far as a good start; that goes without saying.

But I mean, once you see some red up there and you see positives outside of your own group, I mean, I've always felt in this event, even though you're not in their matches, there's a confidence that comes from that and I think confidence breeds momentum. I think that's just what we witnessed this morning.

All that being said, I'm pretty certain these guys would say the same thing; I think we're not shocked by the morning outcome. However, if it didn't end up like that, trust wouldn't have wavered. Faith wouldn't have wavered. You know, we would have got back out and fought.

But like I said, that momentum is big in golf, and it's substantial in team events.

RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I mean, like Zach said, it kind of goes without saying that getting off to a good start is what we all wanted, and Captain obviously put the eight of us out there to do that.

When I saw the matchups and pairings, I knew it was going to be tough. I knew that Phil and I were going to have a tough match and I knew the rest of the boys were not going to have an easy go. It was hard to say which side was going to have the better chance.

Having Jordan and Patrick out there in front going and getting the red up on the board early, I think definitely gave the rest of the groups a little bit of that confidence; and like Zach talked about, confidence breeds momentum. It was nice that we were kind of able to join the group at the end, Phil and I, getting the match turned around and adding that fourth point up there.

Q. Since you guys were in the closest of the morning matches, it seemed that the fans were rooting for you rather than against the Europeans. I was wondering if you got sort of a sense that they were, in Arnold's memory, trying to show the sportsmanship that he embodied more than in the ten other times you've been in this.
PHIL MICKELSON: I think that you're right in that the fans here were very supportive of the United States and not antagonistic against our opponent, and it really had the spirit of what The Ryder Cup is about.

Although it could very well be in Arnold's memory and it is very consistent with the way he conducted his life, the people here in Minnesota have been like that every year that we've played here going back to the PGA in 2009, '02, and I even remember playing the '91 U.S. Open here. So all of the majors that have been played here over the years, the people have been so supportive of the golf and so great to the players. They were just consistent with the way they've always been.

Q. Can you talk about your chip-in on No. 9? And Phil, was that the turning point for you guys?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I talked about, we were 2-down going through 6 and I knew going into 7, me getting the ball in the fairway, that's a big swing. It's not an easy drive, so that kind of got it started. I had told Phil at that point with where we were, it's one hole at a time. Let's just get one hole and go from there.

9 was just to cap off that little run there. 9, obviously playing as probably one of the toughest holes out there today. Phil hit a great shot to put me in that position. Even though it was off the green, it was a perfect leave. And just I guess trickled it right in the middle. It was a nice way to make the turn.

Unfortunately we ended up going down after that, but that little stretch helped us when we were coming down those last four holes.

Q. Phil, you spent a number of years in your career establishing a routine of preparation for the majors that you thought gave you the best chance to win. Obviously this week with all the team-building activities, you're not following that same routine, I suppose. Can you compare where you were with your game, teeing off at green with your normal preparations, as compared to teeing off today with so much attention on the team-building?
PHIL MICKELSON: The preparation, we were all put in a position to prepare the same way that we would for a normal major championship, and I've done very similar stuff that I've done over the majors. I played nine holes the day before the first round and so forth.

But the variables were removed, which allowed me and other players to practice and prepare properly heading into the matches. I mean, I knew who we were going to play with, and we had been working on this for a couple of weeks. And so these last few days leading up to the matches, we were able to get our feel down.

Yesterday I was out doing lag drills. So I come to the last hole, I've got a 40-footer, I go back to the reference of my preparation yesterday on my 40-foot lag drill to try to get that one close and I was able to hit it to a tap-in distance. Those little things allowed us to play some of our best golf.

Q. After all that's gone on the last two years, did this opening session feel any different to you?
PHIL MICKELSON: Certainly I felt more pressure heading into today's matches. Given the buildup over the last couple years, the criticism, the comments, what have you; the pressure was certainly as great or greater than I've ever felt. I could have copped out and asked to sit, that would have been a total weak move, and I wanted to get out there. Put me out there. I enjoy that pressure.

Certainly I played tight. This guy loosened me up. That's why I wanted him as my partner. He knows what to say and when to say it. He got some of my best golf out there in the end. Some of the iron shots down the stretch, a lot of it was due to things that he said to get me in the right frame of mind.

JOHN DEVER: Gentlemen, thank you for your time. Have a great afternoon.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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