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July 9, 2014

Ian Poulter


MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Welcome to the Scottish Open.  It's been a while.
IAN POULTER:¬† The last year I played, I think it was at Loch Lomond.¬† You good yeah, good to be back, a very tough golf course.¬† Especially when it's blowing 30‑, 35‑mile‑an‑hour winds.¬† But I think it's decent prep for obviously next week.¬† You're going to have to hit all the shots this week that you're going to require next week, so if ever there was a good week to come back and play The Scottish Open, then this is certainly a very good one.

Q.  Carnoustie had a bit of hooly when they had the scoot issue open there, and I remember Woosie at the end said he totally lost his swing because it was such difficult conditions and was mentally exhausted by the end of it and sent him into the Open a bit knackered.  Can you see that and is there a danger there this week?
IAN POULTER:¬† Yeah, I mean, I can definitely see it because just playing the Pro‑Am today, I got off the golf course feel beaten by the wind.
But as long as you know that you've got two weeks potentially in high winds and know that the wind will affect your golf swing and know how it can affect your golf swing and that you're going to have to try different shots; providing you've done the work leading in to know that certain shots require certain swings, then hopefully you should be okay for the two weeks.
It is going to be a stern test this week with the weather, so it seems, three different winds on this golf course.  So that will drain you mentally I think, trying to figure out, we're not going to play one course, it looks like we are going to play three.
So it will be challenging from that respect and it will be difficult scoring around this golf course.  It's not easy.  You know, it might even be more difficult this week than next week.

Q.  Did what Phil did last year, did that play a part in you playing this week?
IAN POULTER:  No, didn't have any reflection on me playing.  The fact that this is on a good golf course is the reason why I've come to play and there's no better way to prep, like I said earlier, than playing true links golf.  I never played Castle Stuart so I don't know what type of links golf that was.  But I know this golf course has been here a long time and it's a proper test of golf.

Q.  Did something happen at a recent Open where you thought you needed a bit more prep?
IAN POULTER:  No, not at all.  The back end of this whole second half of the season's quite congested with tournaments.  I looked at it at the start of this year and thought I need to have three weeks off leading into the second half of the season.  It's going to be a long one, eight tournaments in the next ten weeks is a lot and then obviously Ryder Cup after that.

Q.¬† G‑Mac said after he won in France that he needed foul weather conditions to convince himself he had not gone soft from playing so often in America.¬† Is it a big culture shock when you come back?
IAN POULTER:¬† I don't know if it's culture shock.¬† I mean, you know what you're going to get when you come over to play any Open Championship.¬† We've had a few nice‑weathered ones and we've had some really bad ones.¬† Nobody likes to play in torrential rain and 35‑mile‑an‑hour wind.¬† But yeah, we do get spoiled for the most part following the sunshine around and if there's a storm 30 miles away we're in having a cup of coffee with you boys (laughter).
We can go very soft.  We do get looked after and pampered quite nicely.  I guess from time to time it is nice to be beaten up every now and then and realize what some of the guys have to put up with when they go out to play golf.  It's a true test of golf.  It's hard, and it should be, and it's a serious test for everybody this week.  It will drain them.

Q.  He used the phrase, he had gone soft.  Can you imagine using that phrase?
IAN POULTER:  Well, I've been soft from day one.  I love playing in shorts and a tee shirt (laughter).

Q.  In terms of the draw, being on the right side, wrong side, how has your luck been in The Open over the years?
IAN POULTER:¬† I've had some good and I've had some bad.¬† I've played my way into bad, which was rather unfortunate.¬† When I played Muirfield when Saturday morning rolled around, I remember walking to the first tee with, what is it, 1.07 or 2.17 tee off time and I think Justin was just walking up the last after posting a couple under par‑‑ was coming right behind us and decided to dump right upon us.¬† Tiger shot 81 I think it was, and I managed to get through 14 gloves and muscle through with a 78.
That day was‑‑ that was my first Open where I found myself in the Top‑10 after two days, and I was about 55th after that.¬† It was pretty miserable, thinking, great, I'm in contention; oh, no, I'm not.
You can get the right side and you can get the wrong side.  We've seen it over the years how only ten guys out of one side of the draw make the cut and a huge percentage of the other side make it.  Yeah, you do have to have a nice draw and when you  do get the nice draw, you enjoy it very nice.

Q.  What's your favourite hole in  The Open Championship?
IAN POULTER:  My favourite hole, I think 17 at St. Andrews.  I think it's a great hole.  Driving over the corner of the hotel, you always want to try and land it on that green.
 When I've got off to a good start, I generally have finished the tournament very well, so I'm always conscious that first round scores are very helpful to a finished position at the end of the week.  I don't normally back pedal too often.

Q.¬† I think you were saying your best finishes in majors have come with a good last round, you haven't quite been‑‑
IAN POULTER:  Yeah, the two majors there, second and third, I've had to come rallying through the pack.  So it would be nice to have your name on the board earlier on in the week rather than chasing someone down.
5 1/2 hours on the golf course today and you're now asking me a question?  Is that because you were in the rubbish today or I was in the rubbish all day?  (Laughter).

Q.  It was you that started with the bacon on the ball today.
IAN POULTER:  Lassie wouldn't find it if it was wrapped in bacon (laughter).

Q.¬† The eight out of ten weeks, I'm sure winning is the goal, do you have some short‑term goals for that period of time?
IAN POULTER:  I'd like to do what Henrik did last year.  He kind of kick started his bang of a season at The Scottish Open.  Did he finish second last year here?  Went on finished second at The Open, and had an incredible FedExCup.
So that would be in my mind, that is possible, because he didn't get off to the best of starts for the season, but then turned his season around into the most amazing back end of the year, won both titles.  It's still possible.  If you play well for the second half of a season, and in a spell of six months, then you can still, with the FedExCup, as volatile as that is, and obviously The Race to Dubai, then you've got a chance obviously to win both of those.  So if I can do that, I'll be very happy.  Think big.

Q.¬† Can you just expand on it‑‑ tell us what it was and how it affected you?
IAN POULTER:¬† I was trying to get stronger at the start of the year and I was doing snatches with 50‑pound kettle bells.¬† So I'm not Bruce Beefcake and I guess 50 pound was a bit too much.¬† I got a grade one tear in the labrum, which wasn't very helpful.
So I had to kind of back off all of the gym works, even though I still worked through it, didn't realise I had a tear until March whether I went for an MRI scan, because the shoulder wasn't settling down.  So it was unhelpful really, playing the early part of the season with an injury not really knowing what it was and then having to back off the gym work completely, it was a bit of a shame.

Q.  How are you now?
IAN POULTER:¬† That injury is totally cleared up.¬† I do still have a little niggle, which I'm going to have to work through.¬† I think I'm not 28‑‑ I'm not getting any niggles and be tablets while I'm playing golf.¬† So take some painkillers and get on with it.

Q.¬† How hard was that ‑‑
IAN POULTER:  Just frustrating.  It's frustrating when you don't feel 100 per cent fit.  Doesn't mean you can't work as hard sometimes as you want to work.  So eight out of ten weeks, I'm going to have to manage that very well.

Q.  Did you start working out again?
IAN POULTER:  I haven't been throwing any weights around, no, but I have been trying to keep up on core work and just a little bit of C.V. just to maintain that.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Ian, many thanks for joining us.

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