MORE INTERVIEWS: Arnold Palmer Invitational transcript archive
JOHN BUSH: Rickie, a 69 in the first round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. If we can get your comments on sort of a roller coaster round, I know a little bit disappointing finish for you, but still a good day overall.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, my front nine was nice, two birdies and an eagle, on the back nine here. Got off to a good start and then had a few bumps on the front nine, my back nine. Made two bogeys to finish the round where I hit, I thought really good par putts. They just didn't want to go in.
JOHN BUSH: How far were those putts.
RICKIE FOWLER: I had about eight feet on 8 and, I don't know, four or five feet on the last hole.
JOHN BUSH: Take us through the eagle on 16.
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, it was playing a little bit longer than I remembered from yesterday, and I hit -- I think I had 215 to the hole and I hit a 20-degree hybrid in there to about five or six feet. So I think the hardest part was the hybrid. The putt was pretty easy after that.
Q. How did the course play??
RICKIE FOWLER: I thought the course played really good. It's nice to have fresh greens the first nine holes, and the greens are still soft, so you don't really have to worry about the balls bouncing too much.
You can get after a few pins but there was actually some really tough pins out there that you had to fire away from and felt like I did pretty well with that and staying away from the water out here, which is always a good thing.
Q. How is the game right now? You had a great closing round at Doral, and how do you feel you built on that today, and how you're playing?
RICKIE FOWLER: I feel like -- I felt like today was probably some of the best I've struck it all year, where I was actually hitting some fairways and getting myself on the green. I just had a few putts that slid by and it could have been a really good round versus just a good starting round.
Q. When guys like Gary last week and Jhonattan earlier in the year won tournaments, you're always in that conversation of the best young players, does it make you impatient to get yours, or are you normally a patient person and do you have the confidence that will come, if you keep doing what you're doing??
RICKIE FOWLER: I think to be playing professional golf, you have to be pretty patient. This game is not easy, so I feel like I'm pretty patient.
Obviously I've been in contention a few times, and I feel like my time is coming and I just have to keep putting myself there and keep putting myself in that position.
You know, like I said, the game is starting to come around and I'm starting to feel really good with it. I'm excited, especially with it turning around, with the Masters just a couple of weeks away.
Q. When did the wind become a major factor in the round and what does the wind do to this golf course??
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, the wind was -- it was blowing a little bit all day. I think it was probably blowing maybe ten miles an hour this morning, but enough to where you had to think about it; it started to pick up a bit on like my 12th or 13th hole or so.
Q. You won a junior event here, right? Just talk about how the course sets up for your game.
RICKIE FOWLER: I like the course. You have to drive it well. You have to stay out of the bunkers, because I had one plug today.
So, driving it well, and I mean, being a ball-striker, I feel like I'm a good ball-striker. It's obviously been one of my weak points this year because I have not been in the fairway as much.
But finally found some fairways today, building some confidence, and tee-to-green is where this course was kind of had I think.
So you know, I feel like if I can get things going that way where I have been driving it well last year, and being a good iron player, I feel like I can give myself good looks at birdies and get after it that way.
Q. You mentioned in two weeks from now, the Masters. How much is that in the back, or even kind of inching towards the front of your mind right now, and your excitement level about that??
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I mean, this week I'm not really thinking about it much. I'm here to play this tournament and trying to play well here. I'm going to go up next week and get a couple looks at the course and I'll start worrying about the Masters then.
Obviously I'm excited and looking forward to it; being my first Masters, a dream come true, something I've dreamt about since I was a little kid. But right now these next few days, going to worry about playing here and trying to play as well as I can.
Q. You really have been out here relatively a short time, not even a year and a half-full time as a pro. Have you had to learn anything quickly about adjusting to this, is there anything that's in the first year that you thought to yourself, I have to do differently, whether it be travel or practice or any of those things that you found out to lead this life??
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, there's a couple of things. Obviously time management is key. That involves travel, practice, when to eat, when to sleep, trying to figure out everything like that. I mean, I have a trainer so I'm working out, trying to figure out when to practice, when to work out.
So time management is a big thing, and patience is what I've told a few people that have asked me, whether it be some guys back at school or just junior or amateur golfers. So time management and patience I thought were the two biggest things that helped me through last year and just trying to figure out how to play out here.
Q. (Examples where it got the best of you last year) --
RICKIE FOWLER: I can't remember exact times but there were a couple of tournaments where I tried to push it a little bit, where if I had just stuck to my game plan and played the way I was going into the week and trying to play, I probably would have made more cuts. There certain times where if I didn't have to push it on a few holes; just play boring golf, just slap it out there on the fairway and knock it on the green instead of bringing bogey and double into play.
Q. Tiger and Phil have won seven Masters, and this year, they haven't won, both are a little out of form, and the kids are kind of rising up. Does that make this -- do you think, maybe a more wide-open Masters than we've had in recent years??
RICKIE FOWLER: I definitely think there's a possibility. Like you said a lot of the young guys are playing well right now. A few guys have already won this year. And you know, there's a lot of us that are going to be in the field, so the way I look at it, if I'm in a field, I have a chance to win, so I'm going to go there and try to win. So like I said earlier, I'm going to worry about this week right now, but starting next week, that's all I'm going to be focused on is how to prepare the best I can so I can tee off on Thursday and be ready to go.
Q. Just wondering from there was any sort of good karma rub-off from teaming up with Arnie at Seminole a week or so ago??
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, definitely didn't hurt. I played really well with him. Obviously I wasn't too nervous, but obviously I felt that if I played well, I wanted to impress him a little bit. Went out and made seven birdies and an eagle. I got a little smirk at the end with a handshake, so I was happy about that.
JOHN BUSH: Rickie, thanks for coming by.