Rickie Fowler claimed a two-shot victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open with a final-round 74 en route to a four-day total of 17-under par 267. It was the 30-year old American’s 5th career PGA Tour title, and first since the 2017 Honda Classic.
Afterwards, Fowler met with the media in the interview room at TPC Scottsdale. Here are a few of the best questions and answers from the press conference.
1. BIG PICTURE
You really kind of put it into perspective that whether you won or lost day there’s much greater things in life to kind of keep you moving forward. If you could just kind of touch on that again and kind of how that kind of keeps you focused and the bigger picture.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, for me, whether people say I’m not someone that gets mad enough or I guess whatever it may be, that they think golfers should be or people that win should be. But at the end of the day out there for me the way I was brought up by my parents, my grandparents and the people I surround myself with is life’s a lot bigger than just the day-to-day stuff.
Trophies are great and all. And this is amazing, this is something we have wanted to, I’ve wanted to win here for 11 years now, since I first came, since the Thunderbirds gave me a spot. But sitting there on 11 with things kind of seeming like they’re definitely not going my way, you just kind of are thinking, you know, if we finish, if we happen to finish, second, third, fourth, the sun’s going to come up tomorrow, going to live another day, we’re going to move forward.
But thinking out as there’s a lot bigger things out there. I always think of Jarrod Lyle, especially with after the Thunderbirds, them putting his bag and a plaque up there yesterday. And I have Leuk the Duck on my hat at all times, so he’s always with me. He’s along for the ride.
So thinking about Griffin Connell, a friend of ours and fan of mine that we lost a little over a year ago. So it’s things like that that kind of help put those times in perspective. Life could be a lot worse. And so then you kind of look at things in a positive light and just say, hey, all right, we’ll go see what we can figure out and make the best of the situation.
It was nice that we were able to play a good final five, six holes and put ourselves in a spot to go get this thing finally going home with us.
Usually you win and you feel confident afterwards moving forward. The way you won today, can you take confidence from this?
FOWLER: Yeah, I mean I had a ball roll in the water, got two penalties there, and I mean other than those two holes, considering the conditions, it was a solid round of golf. Just misjudging when that rain came in and how much that ball was going to skip on 11.
I think the Super Bowl is going. We got some good commercials, I hear. That was a big kind of turn around, I mean at worst I make bogey there with a semi decent chip and I’m still very much in control of the golf tournament.
But with everything that happened there, that was a two, three shot swing pretty quickly. Yeah, it sucked. But it was kind of just trying to put all that behind me, understand that playing well the first three days and giving myself that cushion is what kind of allows for some mistakes, and you don’t have to go out and play a perfect round.
On the flip side, if you’re four shots back you may have to go out and put together a damn near perfect round of golf to win. So luckily I didn’t need a perfect round today.
JT (Justin Thomas) said that he talked to you in scoring and told you that you’re going to get a lot more out of this by showing resiliency and coming back like you did rather than going out and winning by five or six. Do you agree and what do you, what did you learn most about yourself today?
FOWLER: Well, I mean I’ve been in this situation a couple times before and come out on top, but not having that much go wrong. Abu Dhabi a few years back, I think I had a four-shot lead, it was down to one after 7 and kind of battled back and ended up winning.
Honda, a couple years ago, I think it was a four-shot lead as well. It was down to might have got down to one or tied, I can’t remember. And a similar situation. But those were kind of either slow starts or one hole. This was just a kind of combination of things.
I mean two holes that, like I said, other than those it was a solid round of golf given the conditions. Take those two holes out and I’m 2-under par. So, yeah, like JT said, I think there’s more you can get out of this than — I mean, yeah, I wanted to go out and win by five, six, seven shots, it would be awesome coming down 18 knowing that you could putt your way to victory.
But to kind of put ourselves with our back against the wall, knowing a lot, pretty much everything that could go wrong went wrong, and compounded in one situation there on 11. To put that all behind us and keep moving forward and keep digging, that was big. Definitely proud of Joe and myself out there today.