PGA Tour professional Rickie Fowler speaks to the media prior to attempting to defend the title at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
PGA Tour: Rickie Fowler speaks to the media prior to Waste Management Phoenix Open
THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome our defending champion, Rickie Fowler, into the interview room. He’s making his 12th career start at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Four Top-5S at this event. The first, Rickie, if we can get you to take us back to your win here last year. I know it was a special victory for you. Just talk about that win.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, there’s definitely some spots that I would like to be a little different, but at the end of Sunday we were holding the trophy on the 18th green, so I was happy about that. I mean, this tournament, with the relationships I have here with the Thunderbirds and Waste Management, yeah, it was nice to finally get the win here. It was just a matter of time, how many times we have been in contention and had a chance. So yeah, nice to be back. Looks like good weather week and nice to be back as defending champion.
THE MODERATOR: Couple top-10s in three starts this season on TOUR. Just talk a little bit about your form coming into this week.
RICKIE FOWLER: I feel good. It was nice to get the calendar year started at Kapalua. That’s always a good thing, coming off of a season with a win. Really good start in the desert. American Express. Didn’t really get anything going on the weekend on the Stadium Course. It would have been nice if we were playing La Quinta and Nicklaus Course. I had those dialed in.
But, yeah, last week really couldn’t get anything to go in, so. That’s usually one of the stronger points of my game. And obviously, I’ve had a lot of good weeks of putting here, so it’s nice to be back in the desert and see some balls going in the hole and not lipping out or missing and bouncing around. So I’m looking forward to this week. But game feels good. I was able to get a lot of good work in. Got over in town on Saturday. A lot of work on Sunday, spent all yesterday with JT, John Tillery, up at Whisper Rock. And yeah, I feel like we’re in a really good spot, ready to go tee it up tomorrow afternoon.
THE MODERATOR: Let’s open it up to questions.
Q. Curious, what was the conversation like with Larry Fitzgerald today?
RICKIE FOWLER: We were just going back and forth talking some golf. And he’s a member down at Seminole, which is close to where I live in Florida. He hasn’t been out to see MJ’s new course yet, Grove 23, so we were talking little bit about that and him getting out there soon. We just talked a lot about golf. He loves to play anytime he gets. Sounds like he was heading to Florida in the next couple days, going to play some more, and then I think he’s playing next week in Pebble. But he’s impressive to watch. He’s gotten a lot better as a golfer in the last few years. He’s putting a lot of work in. And he’s just, he’s a fun guy to be around. First time I’ve really gotten to play with him, but I’ve been around him multiple times. And, no, he’s impressive both as an athlete and as a person.
Q. I wanted to talk about the message that you posted on Instagram about Kobe, his passing, and how it’s affecting you and how is it going to affect you going into this next tournament and beyond?
RICKIE FOWLER: I mean, obviously, when freak things happen like that it makes you realize how precious life is, and I think that was kind of what I was talking about with Kobe. I really wish I would have had the opportunity to meet him and just be around him. I’m never someone that really asks a whole lot of questions. I just like to be around people and see how they go about things or how they treat other people, how they go about their business. But from all the stories I had heard and watching stuff, it just seemed like he was someone that lived every day like it was his last, never left anything out — he left everything on the court, whether it was practice, whether it was game. So someone that has had, obviously, a very impressive impact not just on one generation, but mine, kids still growing up now, a generation ahead of me. So to see someone like that, I mean, he’s a world icon. To have that kind of notoriety around the world, there’s very few people that really have that, especially in sports. So, no, I think he’s someone that everyone has either learned something from or can take from. I think another one was, I saw Timberlake posted a good one. He touched so many different walks of life, not just in sports. So I was bummed that I didn’t have the chance to spend any time around him. It’s just unfortunate.
Q. Along those lines, do you have any tributes planned for 16 or anything like that?
RICKIE FOWLER: Not necessarily. I mean, I think between all the players there’s going to be plenty. I don’t think Kobe needs any help as far as tributes go. I’m sure I’ll add some stuff here and there. I know Puma had asked about adding some stuff to hats or shoes or something like that, and I may just scribble something on there. We’ll kind of go with what it feels like at that moment, what to do. But, yeah, I don’t think Kobe’s going to struggle with support from fans and people around the world. He did his job. He’s pretty accomplished and very well respected.
Q. Secondly, I was looking back to last year and the win here, I guess what would be a successful year for you this year? How would you define it?
RICKIE FOWLER: For me, a multiple-win year. That’s really where my goals start. It’s not necessarily cuts made or top-10s, Top-5s. I want wins. So that’s what would define a successful year. So got to start with the first one and go from there. But a multiple-win season would be nice. Obviously, make one of those a major and it’s a really good year.
Q. You’ve been making some swing adjustments recently. Can you talk a little bit about the biggest change or the change that’s made the most impact on your game so far?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I mean, it’s been a lot of work. I’ve been at it for a few months now. It’s just kind of getting back to maybe some old sequencing or getting the body to work properly. It’s been pretty simple, just because it’s more so focusing on how the lower body’s working a little bit more, when it’s firing, when it’s not, and how it’s stabilizing throughout the swing. So I think more — the hardest part has just been getting the, which feel or kind of cue for me gets what we want the lower body to do or not to do. So it’s a little, I mean, I could go into a lot more detail. I don’t want to be here that long. I get to go sign for some kids here shortly, and we have had a decent amount of time at the course today. But no, it’s a lot more body-related versus just trying to get the club in certain positions. If I do the stuff properly with the body, especially the lower body, it then basically puts the club into the position that the body’s telling it to be.
Q. It is less timing-based? And how are those changes coming along and what are you currently focused on?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yes, it’s less timing-based, but at the same time, it’s kind of all around timing. Maybe less timing as far as hands and trying to time up when the hands and the club head are meeting the ball and what the hands are doing through impact. But a lot of it is trying to make it very symmetrical as far as if you saw me a little bit maybe hands hip high on takeaway versus just past impact hands at hip height, you wouldn’t really be able to — they should look very similar. So the timing of when I’m hitting the ball and when I’m taking the club away should be matching up pretty much on point, if you were to set a metronome. So, yeah, a different way of talking about timing. But, yes, taking the hands out of it to where it’s much more body-driven.
Q. I think Gary Woodland has been asked more about Amy than about winning the U.S. Open in the past year. Just wondering how many times have you seen that video of her and have you met Amy or had any conversations with her?
RICKIE FOWLER: I haven’t. She seems like a fun, special person. I think that was, I mean that might be the video of the decade last year or was that two years ago?
Q. Last year.
RICKIE FOWLER: Last year, sorry. I feel like — I mean, I watched it so many times it feels like two years ago. When you see the highlights of it and when the video first came out it made — I mean, it was just so cool. And to have someone like Gary in that moment with her, it was awesome. I mean, he’s a good friend, great guy, and to see how like genuine it was between the two of them, his reactions, Amy just going crazy there on 16. No, I think it was one of the coolest moments with a player and a fan of golf really that has ever been kind of put together.
Q. I liked the way she waved him off, “I got this.”
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah.
Q. “You need me to help you with this? No, I got this.”
RICKIE FOWLER: She has plenty of confidence from what I’ve seen.
THE MODERATOR: All right, Rickie Fowler, best of luck this week.
RICKIE FOWLER: Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
January 29, 2020