Rickie Fowler

Golf World (UK) - - THE SPIN -

The 28-year-old Cal­i­for­nian looks back on a sea­son of sil­ver­ware and promise, and ahead to an­other run at that maiden ma­jor.

1 You ended 2017 strongly, win­ning the Hero Chal­lenge, fin­ish­ing 2nd in the OHL Clas­sic and T2 in the BMW. Were you al­most dis­ap­pointed to see the back of 2017 and have a break?

Kind of, in the sense I was build­ing good mo­men­tum. But sta­tis­ti­cally, 2017 as a whole was my best year. I put my­self in a lot of po­si­tions to win, getting the win at Honda then com­ing off the five-week break af­ter the Pres­i­dents Cup and go­ing to Mex­ico and fin­ish­ing sec­ond af­ter putting my­self in con­tention there. I wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily in con­tention go­ing into Sun­day but to make some­thing hap­pen, that was a nice way to end the golf sea­son for me and gives me a lot of con­fi­dence for this year.

2 How do you as­sess last year – two vic­to­ries, three run­ner-up fin­ishes and up to 7th in the world rank­ings?

I didn’t win as much as I would have liked to. But that be­ing said, the two events that I’ve played through what I guess is my mini off-sea­son have been pos­i­tive. In Mayakoba I fin­ished sec­ond and put my­self in a po­si­tion to win, and then [in the Ba­hamas] hav­ing not nec­es­sar­ily been in con­tention but go­ing out there and putting my­self in a po­si­tion to win, I ended the sea­son strongly. I think it was a very solid year across the board, and what we’re go­ing to work on go­ing for­ward is just pick­ing up a few of the lit­tle things that could have made that dif­fer­ence to put us in the win­ner’s cir­cle more on a Sun­day, be­cause we gave our­selves a lot of chances.

3 Some of the credit for your strong end to 2017 has to go to Tiger Woods…

Yeah, I played two rounds with him be­fore I went down to Mex­ico, and then we played two or three times be­fore Thanks­giv­ing and then two rounds be­fore The Hero and be­fore the OHL. I think he sharp­ened me up a lit­tle bit. I’ve got­ten a lit­tle scared of how good he was play­ing at home (in Jupiter), I thought I needed to start play­ing a lit­tle bit bet­ter (laughs).

4 Tiger’s talked about how play­ing with you guys helped his re­cov­ery and re­turn to com­pe­ti­tion. Do you de­serve credit for his come­back?

The thing is, liv­ing in Jupiter, be­ing able to play with Tiger now that he’s back play­ing and the other guys who live there, it’s a big ad­van­tage to all of us, just be­ing able to play and to prac­tise with them. It’s the real deal when you’re play­ing against some of the best play­ers in the world and ar­guably one of the best play­ers who’s ever played our game, es­pe­cially when it comes to win­ning, so that can only help all of us guys.

5 And fi­nally, in­evitably, the ma­jors ques­tion. Some of your best friends like Justin, Jor­dan Spi­eth, even Dustin John­son and Ser­gio have landed a ma­jor. How much does that play on your mind?

Yeah, it does. We only get four chances a year, so there’s four big weeks that we al­ways think about it. But I put my­self in po­si­tion to be in con­tention at ma­jors, so we’re just go­ing to keep knock­ing at the door.

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