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WASTE MANAGEMENT PHOENIX OPEN

February 2, 2019

Rickie Fowler

Scottsdale, Arizona

JOHN BUSH: We would like to welcome Rickie Fowler into the interview room. Leader by four shots. 7-under par 64 today. Another just great round. If we can get your comments, please.

RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, it's been nice to kind of have some things click on the swing this week, we have been working on some things the last few weeks pretty hard and trying to just get into some better positions to make things more efficient and ultimately more consistent, so it's still wouldn't say it's perfect by any means, we still continue to work on stuff but at least being in a good spot where things are starting to feel good, done a good job of kind of everything this week, nothing's standing out as super special, just playing solid golf and when I've gotten into trouble been able to get the ball up-and-down most of the time, been putting well and hitting a lot of good putts as far as the ones that I miss they're more just misreads, if anything. So I'm looking forward to tomorrow. We got 18 holes left, a lot of work, but we're in a good spot.

JOHN BUSH: Four-shot lead but I know you're expecting a good battle there with Kuchar and JT and those guys in the final group.

RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, our final group alone let alone the other guys that are also out there, I mean you can shoot low at this golf course, I feel like if I go out and shoot 64 again tomorrow I like my chances but you never know. I can't control what the other guys do, but we'll stick to our game plan and see if we can piece together another solid round of golf and see where we stand later tomorrow afternoon.

JOHN BUSH: Open it up for questions, please.

Q. When was the last time you felt this good about your game, particularly your ball striking?
RICKIE FOWLER: It would be hard to pinpoint exactly. I did a pretty good job actually at the PGA last year, even when I was injured there, I did a really good job of kind of playing with what I had. To basically be in contention and I wasn't able to play more than a nine hole practice round, so I would say that was probably the one of the best at the time with what I was dealing with. But this is a little different, a little more speed, the ball going further and enjoying it. It's fun. Obviously I love playing this place, love the energy, love the fans, and just need one more good round of golf.

Q. You said you changed the ball. Did you have any, A, reluctance in doing that and, B, any thoughts that you would find success so quickly?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I mean I think the golf ball's one of the probably hardest switches. You want it to work in so many different areas and you don't want to necessarily give up something, you usually don't want to give up something to gain something on the other side, you would like to keep it the same and gain. I've been really pleased with the golf ball, I feel like I haven't given up anything and gained yardage throughout the bag, more so mid irons and up. So it's been fun. I knew it wasn't going to be an easy switch and knowing how good the golf ball is and obviously it's a proven golf ball with guys being successful with it, that wasn't the issue for me personally, so it's been more of a mental adjustment, trying not to think too much about numbers and comitting to what club I have and what shot I'm trying to hit.

Q. You've been close here on several occasions. What would it mean to you to finish this off on Sunday and pull out a victory here?
RICKIE FOWLER: It would be awesome. It's been a long time coming, I obviously want to win here, this is a special place the Thunderbirds have been amazing to me, the fans are awesome and obviously very supportive of me. I always have friends and family in town here, it would be great. Like I said, another good solid 18 holes of golf and we'll be in the right spot.

Q. You have the duck pin on your hat and I know you came on to 16 you saw the little plaque they have for Jarrod and you've spoken about how much he means to you, what does it mean to you to see the course honor him and his ace like that?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well I mean it was a special moment for this tournament, all the aces on 16 are cool and they're very memorable, but Jarrod's with what he had been through and what he was going to be going through, I'm in a position where I want to kind of help continue on his legacy, he's obviously a very memorable guy, but if there's leukemia in that area and helping with the Leuk Duck brand and kind of continuing that in the U.S., it was something that Jarrod wanted to do and to be able to help out familiar less and kids that were dealing with stuff similar to what he went through. So his wife and I stay in touch and we're going to work on some stuff moving forward of what we can do and ultimately keeping Jarrod's name alive. Special guy and it's awesome to see the Thunderbirds and Waste Management go ahead and do that on 16 tee.

Q. Obviously there's been a lot of talk about this new caddie alignment rule and you and JT both had instances yesterday. How happy are you to see the TOUR go back on Denny's penalty and give his two shots back to him and announce that they're going to look into getting a better understanding and addressing this rule?
RICKIE FOWLER: It's probably one of the best moves the TOUR's ever made. The way I understand it on the green is different than on the course, might be one of the stupidest rules I've ever heard. Joe and I are sitting there yesterday on 13 talking about a shot and a lot of times your caddie stands behind the shot and is going to look down the fairway or at the green with you, and I was just grabbing a club to see what I might want to do or what it's going to look like and I'm not going to hit the golf shot at all, I'm just kind of looking at it and Joe is there looking at it with me, that would be the plan, Joe happened to be looking down at his book and when he looked up he immediately had luckily he is smart and has quick reactions. I get the whole lining up part and taking that out, but I had no intent to even hit the golf ball for one. And it's just kind of stupid. We'll see where it goes, but for the fact that where den knee was taking practice swings while someone else was hitting their shot and his caddie was just kind of behind looking at the shot with him and if that's going to be a two-shot penalty, I mean, you're talking about growing the game and making things play faster and whatnot, but that's not growing the game, I mean you're giving someone a two-shot penalty for doing nothing and not getting any sort of advantage. That's not what we are here to do.

Q. Justin was saying he was impressed by your driving out there and I just was wondering if that had stood out, has stood out to you in your game or is it just kind of a little bit of everything? Obviously you're making a lot of putts as well.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, like I said, kind of everything coming together and working well where if I do miss a shot I'm able to get the ball up-and-down, but yeah, the driving, having probably 10 extra yards of carry is never a bad thing, so it's been something for me that's been kind of fun and exciting playing this new golf ball, the TP 5 X, at home through the winter and seeing it work there, but it's different when you go into tournament play and actually you're really posting a number and there's no mulligans, so I've enjoyed it. I'm having a good time and it's fun when you get to impress your buddies.

Q. Could you always just to follow-up on that, could you always just aim over the bunker on 18 and blast it over that thing? Has that always been your strategy? Because it looked like you did that yesterday at least.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, yesterday was good. Today I was trying to stay, I was actually trying to stay right of it, just with where the pin was and I toed it really bad. Yeah, I would say the, you know, last year it was out of play, but maybe not by much. Now it's, I mean the water is completely out of play, I don't have to think about that, but -- I can't go on Cameron Champ's line, but I can get kind of the right half of the bunker. Yesterday was a good one, I think it maybe flew around 325 or 330. And the ball does go further here, but I'm happy about that with -- I'm not very big, so, yeah, I would say right now not necessarily here because like I said the ball goes further, it used to be where the bunker at 290 if I hit one good I didn't have to worry about, now I don't have to worry about carrying it at 300.

Q. Aside from the major championships is this the one that you want to win the most?
RICKIE FOWLER: I mean you would like to have every week, but this is definitely very high up on the list. Another one being Torrey Pines, I haven't played well there in quite awhile, but I've had good finishes, but that being the tournament closest to where I grew up, I would say between here and there, those would be the two highest on the list, other than a Major.

JOHN BUSH: Rickie, best of luck tomorrow, thanks for your time.

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