MORE INTERVIEWS: Travelers Championship transcript archive
MARK STEVENS: Like to welcome Rickie Fowler. Rickie, just got done playing the course. If you want to make a few comments on the course, and maybe something about last week at the U.S. Open, then we'll have a few questions?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, there is a lot less rough here. No, I'm excited. The course is in really good shape. Excited to be here after I missed the last two years. But it's a little soft from the rain we got yesterday, but it looks healthy and the greens are pretty quick. Should be able to firm up for the week, but excited to be back and ready to play well.
Q. Can you talk about just the difference in your mindset going from a U.S. Open venue to this place where you can make birdies?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, there is definitely still some tough holes out here. There are a couple of par‑4s that are all you want with the long iron in. But other than that, there is definitely a lot more birdie opportunities out here this week, but still approaching each shot as similar as I can. Last week you need to have kind of full focus and full concentration at all times, but that can definitely relate to any other golf course and tournament.
So it's almost good preparation to have to deal with a course that tough and a tournament that tough every once in a while to kind of make sure you're staying on top of each shot. So coming into this week I'm trying to stay in the same frame of mind, making sure I'm ready to hit each shot, commit to it, and see what we can do this week.
Q. Do you think the U.S. Open should go back to Merion?
RICKIE FOWLER: I liked it. As far as for a spectator standpoint, it was terrible. It wasn't very good for people to be able to go out and watch golf very much. It's not a very big place and a lot of the holes are tough to see.
As far as playing, I loved it. It's a fun golf course. It's different, it's got a lot of different options and good variety. Obviously, you can see it was a tough test. Some of it was tricky at times. There are some long and tough holes out there.
3 was a little, maybe over the top on Sunday, but it was long. I mean, luckily it's a big green, but that's a long ways. I think I had to hit 3‑wood as good as I could just to try to get there. I wasn't going to pull driver, because long is no good. But, yeah, it was just a hard test, and that is what the U.S. Open's supposed to be.
Q. What did you like about it other than (Indiscernible)?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I mean, there was a premium on fairways, which that's always the key at a U.S. Open. Even with the greens being fairly receptive, we still needed to be playing out of the short grass because couldn't really make contact out of the rough very much. Then it was second shots were key because there were some pins that were tucked in some tough spots and some that were just over some little knobs or sitting on the edge.
I had a handful of three‑putts just because of where the pins were. I felt like the course defended itself well, and they also did a good job with set‑up with some of the pins. They can put the pins in some spots throughout where it's pretty accessible. But to keep the scores over par and live up to the U.S. Open, I think they did a good job at doing that and I liked it. I'd like to have a chance to have another crack at it there again in the future.
Q. In 2010 you tied for 13th here. What are your goals going into the weekend?
RICKIE FOWLER: Coming off a good finish last week. My main goal, I would say, would be being in contention going into Sunday and giving myself a chance to win my second time on TOUR.
Q. How is it to be a member of the Golf Boys, and when is your next hit single coming out?
RICKIE FOWLER: There are no plans right now for the next single. I think we're letting the second one ride out for a little bit. But, yeah, we're pretty amazing as a band goes. I definitely think that there's not ‑‑ I don't think there are any other four golfers out there that are going to top us right now. We're number 1 when it comes to PGA TOUR bands.
No, it's a lot of fun. It's a great group of guys to be a part of. Obviously, some good players but also good people as well.
Q. What is your definition of mental toughness in sports and life? How is playing in an individual sport for so long help you improve your confidence and resilience?
RICKIE FOWLER: As far as mental toughness goes, I think it's how you rebound from mistakes or rough times. Whether it's in golf or life, it's not always going to be smooth sailing, so the mental toughness is how well you can rebound and come back from those low points.
Definitely playing in an individual sport, you have to be confident, I feel like, to be successful. If you're out there, there is no one else to lean on. It's just you. You have your caddie there to help you out every once in a while. But at the end of the day, I think you have to learn to be confident to make it to the professional level in an individual sport.
I don't think it's something that's easily taught. I think you learn it along the way. It's definitely a learning process, and I'm just fortunate to be where I am right now. I'm confident in what I do, and part of that is being that I've played a lot of individual sports growing up.
Q. This tournament being the week after the U.S. Open, some players don't play here, but it does have a good feel this year. What attracts you and brings you back to TPC River Highlands?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I feel like it is nice to play after a major every once in a while. This is a great event. I like the course. There are usually some good fans here. I have played well here before, so it's, like we talked about earlier, nice to come off of a major week.
Obviously, one of our toughest majors, the U.S. Open, to come to a place where possibly you could get back into the swing of things and get used to the week to week life on the PGA TOUR where there are some more birdies to be made than bogeys.
Q. You spoke a little bit about your mental toughness, and last week you the course seemed to get under the skin of a lot of the players, but even on your worst day you seem to be cool, calm and collected on the course. How did you develop that and was it always like that?
RICKIE FOWLER: The biggest thing, especially at the U.S. Open, is just patience and making sure you fully commit to each shot. There is a lot that can go wrong out there. Even if you hit a shot that you're trying to and it just happens to bounce off line and go a little too far or come up short. Yeah, I guess the second day on Friday, I made a few bogeys, and I brought it in, ended up making the cut and had a good round on Saturday.
But just have learned over the years that sometimes the rounds where things aren't going your way, if you can hang on to them and try to get the most out of those rounds, those are the ones that are most important. It's very unusual that you play four great rounds of golf in a tournament. There is always going to be one tough day, and if you can turn that day from a 75 or 76 to a 71 or 72 with maybe a couple key up‑and‑downs or making a couple putts to save a shot here or there, that is the difference in winning a golf tournament and finishing tenth.