Media Center Interviews

April 5, 2019

Second Round Interview with Rickie Fowler

Q. On 18 an up-and-down relieving par save on the par 5 to finish things off. Overall, how would you assess your round?

RICKIE FOWLER: It was nice. I'm happy with it. Hit some good shots out there, made a few putts. Yeah, 15, 16, kind of a little unforced errors. 15 was putting back into the wind and kind of forgot that it was back down the hill a decent amount, so I had one get away from me there. 16, I actually hit a great shot. I was just expecting the wind to hold it a bit better and obviously it didn't. That happens.

Nice to birdie 17 and make a good up-and-down. Feel like hit a good drive there on 18 and tried to take advantage of the last hole and just caught one a little bit thin, so it came up short and popped in the creek.

Q. Yeah, the wind did play around, especially in the afternoon wave. You made a couple of long clutch putts. But I want to ask you about changing your shafts. That's something you decided to do this week. For high handicap golfers, how would you explain it in layman's terms exactly what you're looking for?

RICKIE FOWLER: For me, obviously I switched over to the TP5x with TaylorMade and I love the ball and I didn't want to have more than one variable starting out. Obviously I know the ball works. I know my equipment works obviously to win at Phoenix earlier this year. So I was just trying to see if I can just make anything just a little bit better.

So went to a little softer shaft. Did some shaft testing on Tuesday probably with about eight or so different shafts from, other KBS shafts, True Temper, Oban, Nippon, and everyone's making great shafts these days. So it was funny because for the most part, six of them or so were all very similar. It's all just a little different feel in your hands and how the club's delivered. Going in the S400 from where I was with KBS and C-taper, I was in the S+ 125. For me it was just a little softer shaft and I was just seeing if I could just get a little more spin in the mid irons.

The S400 is what I play in my wedges, so it's a great feeling shaft, it's just a little softer. Like I said, I just wanted to see if I could get a little more spin with still having the same control and a similar flight. So far it's been good. For me it was a perfect week to try and test it. This is a new place for me and obviously we know we have something that works. I'm just seeing if I can find something that's even better.

Q. I'm here with Rickie, another 68. A little adventurous today, included an eagle and five birdies, Rickie. Talk a little bit about your round and how you felt the conditions were a factor out there today.

RICKIE FOWLER: It was a good day. The front nine was definitely scorable. This morning you could see the wind was pretty mellow and that's the way it was supposed to be. The wind was actually supposed to pick up around noon. It was nice to see that it was going to hold off a little bit for us, so it really started to get going kind of right around when we were making the turn.

The back nine was a bit tougher. You had to hit some shots out there and either use the wind or try and work it against it, so I enjoyed that. I think I did a great job of it. 15, I was putting back into the wind but back downhill and I had one kind of get away from me. I forgot that it was a little more downhill than I was expecting. And 16, I thought the wind would hold it better. I actually hit a great shot there.

Happy with the round. We're in a good spot going into the weekend, so all good.

Q. Talk a little bit about the shaft change in the irons this week. Unusual for someone not to have played at least a whole practice round with them. Talk about that.

RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah. Well, the best way you can get feedback on how equipment works or what's going on is in competitive golf. You can test and do stuff on the range or at home or play some golf, but until you tee it up under a real live tournament, you don't get the complete feedback.

I thought it was a good time to do it. We did some pretty thorough testing on Tuesday and we went through probably eight or so shafts from various different companies. All very good. It all comes down to what you're looking for. Some feel just a little bit different. Some are going to be a little bit more rigid, some are going to be a little bit softer. Ultimately, obviously we have a great setup. I've been loving the new ball with TaylorMade. We got the win earlier this year in Phoenix, so everything works. You're always trying to get better, you're always trying to see if there's any spots in the equipment world where things could be better.

So I just wanted to see if I could get a little more spin but similar flight, and that's why we ended up with the S400, which is the same shaft I play in my wedges. It's not a big stretch. It's been a shaft that's been around for a long time. Yeah, so far it's been good, I'm happy with how it's going. Not saying there won't be more testing down the road, but I'm happy with how it's worked the first two days.

Q. Rickie, it was an adventurous round of golf. I would imagine, though, the positives far outweigh the negatives for you?

RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, no, it was good. It wasn't too adventurous other than, I guess, 15, 16. Kind of two unforced errors there. 15, putting back down the hill, just had some wind that was in our face and it's a little tough to judge speed, and forgot how much it was kind of back down the hill when you have that wind in your face. So that one got away from me a little bit.

Hit a great shot into 16 actually and thought the wind would hold it better. TaylorMade's ball, it's very strong in the wind, it just kept working against it. I thought it was going to kind of hold it up for a second there, but I'm happy with how we played. Finished it off, it would be nice to get a birdie on the last two going forward on 18, just caught it a little thin. You can't play to lay up all the time.

Q. A lot of great shots out there that I think you can build off of, the drive at 5, a lot of things about, the shot you hit into 10 really just showed how in control of the golf ball you were.

RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, that was a fun shot. With the back pin I had a couple specks of mud on the left side of the ball, so I just thought I can go ahead and take this out the left side of the green with the wind off the left, ball below the feet, just swing left and work a little cut in there. Yeah, really came out nearly perfect. Landed a little left of where I wanted to, but it still fed back there and set up a nice 3.

It was fun. I definitely enjoy playing in the wind. It brings out some creativity. I think this golf course allows you to do that and kind of makes you do that with some of the approach shots that you have out here.

Q. Can you talk about the drive on 5? Did you hit that ball exactly how you wanted to?

RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I hit it perfect. I was really just aiming at the right side of the green. The wind was down off the right, just tried to hit a high straight ball. Started right there and stayed straight for a while and just drifted left as it was falling. Yeah, couldn't really have drawn it up any better.

Q. When you hit those two bogeys towards the end, is it easy to regroup and come back with a birdie, or what does it take to do that?

RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I mean, I was in a good spot on 15, just had a putt get away from me. Putting downhill back into the wind, sometimes it's easy to misjudge the speed and I just kind of got too caught up with the wind in my face.

16, made a great swing. I thought the ball was going to get stood up a little more by the wind and it just kind of kept cutting into it. Yeah, I knew 17, 18 I could go out and have looks for birdies. 17, I got it, and 18, just caught it a little thin coming in, going for it in two, but happy with the swings I made. Kind of bouncing back, like you said, after 15, 16. Obviously in a good spot going into the weekend.

Q. (Question about Si Woo Kim.)

RICKIE FOWLER: I didn't know it was for him. Did he make 1? Okay. It was loud. The fans out here, they've been great. I wouldn't say -- it's not a tournament where you get the biggest turnout, but they make sure they're heard. They're some of the loudest fans I've been around. We got a good roar on, I believe it's the second hole, par 5. I hit a good chip from out of the crowd and felt like a major roar. There wasn't that many people around us, but they're loud and fun out here, so I've had a great time in San Antonio. Pretty cool for Si Woo.