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July 11, 2018

Rickie Fowler

Gullane, Scotland

TOM CARLISLE: Like to welcome Rickie Fowler, winner of The Scottish Open in 2015. Back on the course where you won the title, must be nice to come to Scotland.

RICKIE FOWLER: It's great to be in Scotland, I love links golf and I love being here. Great to be back at Gullane. Today will be the first look at the golf course, hopefully a quick and easy re-acquaintance.

We got in Monday morning and went and played North Berwick to stay awake and made a trip over to Carnoustie yesterday since I haven't seen it. It's been a successful trip so far and definitely enjoying the nice Scottish weather.

TOM CARLISLE: What are your memories of that win?

RICKIE FOWLER: I mean, this golf course, I definitely enjoyed it from the first time I played it. It's a fairly straightforward, links golf course. Not many blind shots. It's kind of right in front of you and I feel like we've got a good variety of conditions last year as far as a couple days where it blew pretty good, and you know, definitely remember the stretch I had coming in, I think kind of final four, five holes to get myself back in it and win it with a birdie at the last.

TOM CARLISLE: Must be few better feelings than having a birdie on the last hole to win a tournament.

RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, it's always nice to finish with a birdie but to finish with a birdie -- at that point, it was to have a chance, and then you know, ultimately, that's what sealed it.

So to make birdie at the last to win, yeah, it's hard to beat that feeling. Maybe if you hole out, I guess.

Q. What were your impressions of both North Berwick, and Carnoustie?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, North Berwick on Monday, I think it took me a handful of holes to kind of get moving and settled. I hit it nice on the back nine coming in. It's a fun, old school -- it's not necessarily very long but it would be fun to play it on a windy day. It could create some definite challenges.

We enjoyed the trip over to Carnoustie yesterday. It was nice to see the golf course in somewhat mellow conditions and somewhat of a similar wind direction to what we may see next week but I'm sure it will be a little bit harder as far as wind blowing next week.

It was, like I said, fairly mellow, but it is nice to get a lay of the land and see it without, you know, the wind blowing too hard and you know, maybe skewing your judgment of where the ball may be starting and stuff like that.

The course looks great over there. Very firm and fast, as I'm sure a lot of the courses are up here right now, with it being warm and dry. I feel like The Scottish Open has definitely been a benefit to me the past few years to play here the week before and to get ready.

I think we've seen and had success in The Scottish Open, as well, and I love links golf and it's fun to be over here in Scotland.

Q. How is your game in general shaping up for this week and next?
RICKIE FOWLER: Like I said, other than the first few holes at North Berwick, I'm feeling pretty good. Got the bad ones out of the way.

I love playing links golf. I feel like it tends to bring the best out of me and I feel like I hit a lot more solid golf shots because I'm kind of focused on where I want to start the ball and how I want the ball to flight. I feel like for me, it helps me create a lot better picture of exactly what I'm trying to do with it.

Q. Are you surprised more guys from the PGA TOUR haven't come over?
RICKIE FOWLER: I mean, I feel like a few guys have definitely tried it. It may not be for everyone. But I feel like since Phil has started to come play over here a lot and in The Scottish Open the week prior, I feel like a lot more guys have started to come or at least tried it out.

Like I said, it's not for everyone. I find it beneficial. Some guys may like to stay home, practice, or just get over a few days earlier. Maybe get in Friday, Saturday, get in some looks at Carnoustie.

Like I said, it's kind of different for everyone and I feel like that more guys have at least tried it out but they may not see it the way that I see this event to help me for the next.

Q. And just going back to 2015 after you won, the members named a bar after you over in the clubhouse. Have you been over for a drink yet?
RICKIE FOWLER: I have not. I'm sure that will happen soon or shortly. It's pretty cool to feel as welcome as we do in Scotland. You know, especially at places like this where we've won. To be taken in, felt like a local after we won and now to have the bar named after us, I should just get a place and become semi-part-time resident here in Gullane.

I feel like the Scottish people and culture is very respectful and very welcoming, and they are definitely diehard golfers. They love their golf. We have people following us over at North Berwick, there's just a handful of them, but like I said, they are very respectful. They just follow around and watch. They are not getting in the way or trying to bother you or anything like that. Took a couple pictures afterwards, but they enjoy their golf.

Q. What are the keys to playing a links course fast and dry versus soft and soggy?
RICKIE FOWLER: It's just understanding how far the ball will and can go once it gets on the ground, and then trying to match that up with when it's downwind, into the wind or crosswind, and then how flat the ball may be coming into the ground.

I think it's tough for a lot of guys to adjust in a way as far as just the mental side of it of committing and actually believing what it's going to do or what it can do. I feel like I'm able to adjust fairly quickly. I think just having that creativity and being able to kind of picture, you know, how the ball is going to come in and how I think it's going to react.

It's fun, especially early, the first couple days over here when you actually get it right, because at first you're kind of guessing. I had a pitching wedge from 130 yards at North Berwick the other day and it was a little downwind and I tried to fly it 110 and let it hop and run up, and I hit it up to five feet. Just to feel, I kind of actually pulled it off, it's fun.

But I think early on, it can be tough for guys to adjust that quickly from, you know, going from playing the ball in the air until pretty much drop-and-stop to letting a wedge run 20 yards.

Q. Rather unusually, Phil Mickelson has declined to speak to the media this week. Have you spoken to him much since his moment in the U.S. Open?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I played with him on Sunday. So we had a good laugh about that. But I haven't spoken to him much since then. I saw he had a little incident again at Greenbrier, but I don't know what happened there. I think that was just more of a mental mistake on his side, not necessarily just did something instead of thinking prior.

Phil and I have always been very close, and I know he's excited to be back over here. He also loves playing links golf and especially after getting things done at Muirfield just down the road a few years back.

Q. Were you surprised at what he did, and do you think his reputation has suffered because of it?
RICKIE FOWLER: I don't think so. I think a lot of people, I think a lot of players that were especially there, got a laugh out of it. I don't think it was meant in any bad way, or I wasn't trying to necessarily gain anything on the field, type of thing, because ultimately, he could have let it go and taken an unplayable and saved himself a shot.

So it was definitely funny to see something you don't necessarily see much. Especially in professional golf. I feel like you would see it on your, you know, potentially at maybe local club on the weekend and someone's frustrated. I didn't see it as something negative.

Q. Do you not agree that you deliberately broke a rule to gain an advantage? Is that funny or is that cheating?
RICKIE FOWLER: No, because like I said, he could have taken an unplayable and it actually saved him a shot.

Q. You wouldn't call it cheating?
RICKIE FOWLER: No, because like I said, if he just let's the ball run out -- he cost himself an extra shot by deliberately slapping the ball back. If he would have let the ball go, you can take an unplayable, really at any point other than a hazard. So he --

Q. He knowingly broke a rule, though, didn't he?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I could see if you're looking at that as far as the ball is on its way to go into the water or go out-of-bounds. The ball was rolling on the green and going off the green.

So like I said, he, by doing that, he cost himself more shots.

Q. North Berwick, how did that game come about with your caddie, Joe? And are you aware of the historical importance that venue has had in the game of golf?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, so my caddie, Joe, and my agent, they have played over there a few times in the past years when we were here at Gullane, and also when we were around for The Open at Muirfield.

Yeah, North Berwick has been around for quite a while, and actually, not many people know, but it was -- my coach that I grew up playing or learning the game from, his grandfather was the head pro over there. So there's a little bit of a connection there, and it was nice to finally get over there and go play North Berwick.

Q. Do you have any plans to spend any time away from the golf course, go into Edinburgh or see any of the sights nearby?
RICKIE FOWLER: Right now, have a solid week and finishing up late here on Sunday. What was nice yesterday about playing Carnoustie is it will make Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday next week more relaxed. Will have to try to get a full 18 in any of the other days. Kind of see how it plays out. I'm not sure if I'll be able to get into Edinburgh, but there might be some more relaxed time early in the week next week up near Carnoustie.

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