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July 15, 2014

Ian Poulter


MIKE WOODCOCK: We're delighted to welcome Ian Poulter into the interview center. Ian, last year you finished tied third at Muirfield in The Open Championship. You had a very good run in the last round there. How much are you looking forward to making another bid for The Open Championship this year?

IAN POULTER: Very much looking forward to it. It's a good golf course. It's different to how we played it in 2006. It's a little softer, a lot greener than it was, and it's links golf. I'm very much looking forward to the links challenge that we get. The wind is not really going to be a huge factor the early part of the tournament. So I hear from the forecast. I would think guys would be fairly aggressive out there on the golf course. So it's going to be an interesting tournament.

Q. You saw the good news about your wrist. Could you fill us in more details how serious it was, how worried you were and the rest of the week.
IAN POULTER: Well, I hit a shot on 14 Friday afternoon last week off an upslope. Had to hit it pretty low. Kind of jarred it, after hitting that shot, and then I had to go out of the rough on 18, which I had to. I needed to make four to make the cut. So I had to have a flash out of the rough, and it didn't help it there. So it was sore on Saturday morning. I went and played with my dad, my caddie and Chad around Trump's place on Saturday and it was still sore. So I came up here, there was no physios up here until Monday. And then Cornell had a look at it for me, and booked an appointment to have an MRI. I just wanted to make sure that it wasn't serious, and obviously what's happened. I've had a ganglion cyst on the wrist in the past, I had three of them. Everyone's been syringed. By jarring it, by taking a force of a whack, some of that fluid has come out of the joint and into the cyst sac there's there. So therefore, it's just touching on the nerve. So I'm just getting a little bit of pain. So I'll be chewing some anti-inflammatories and some painkillers for the week to try and get rid of some of that kind of pain in the area. But it's good news. I mean, there's no tendon damage. And there's no joint damage or bone damage. So at least I can rest assured if I'm in the rough, I can have a go at it a hundred percent and know that I'm not going to do any damage.

Q. Having seen how the last two Opens have gone for you, do you feel you're better prepared to get off to a better start this time around?
IAN POULTER: I'm as prepared as I'm ever going to be to play this Open. I played some links golf last week. And even though I didn't do as well as I wanted to, I still got in some good work. Playing any links golf before coming to The Open Championship is a good thing. So I feel like I'm ready to go.

Q. If it wasn't The Open, given the pain that you're in, would you play this week?
IAN POULTER: I would play. As I said, I've had three cysts before, which I've had to have drained. The pain is bearable. I mean, it's obviously -- it's an acute pain. As it just touches the nerve in certain positions, the pain refers through the wrist. I played a lot of golf with the first cyst, not really knowing what it was until I had a scan. So I'm not worried about it. And I wouldn't withdraw because of it. By going to get a scan at least it tells me the good news that I was thinking, that it probably could be the cyst of old. So I've just got to wait until I get back to America to see my doctor, shove another needle in there. It's amazing, as soon as that sac is burst and the liquid is drained, then instantaneously my wrist kind of -- I don't get the pain.

Q. Can't you get that done here?
IAN POULTER: It's a little too close to Thursday to shove a needle in there. As good as some of the doctors are, I would kind of go with the one that's put a needle in there three times without touching anything on the way in. So I don't want to risk someone else having a go that hasn't done it before. I think I'd rather wait and chew some painkillers until I see him.

Q. A lot of players have come in here saying that the par-5s are crucial to scoring well around here. Would you concur with that?
IAN POULTER: I would do. 18 is one of them. And I probably shouldn't say, it's probably the easiest of them on the course. But that risk and reward. You can open up the par-5s very easily if you can hit driver. And it just depends whether you're prepared to take on gourse bushes down the left-hand side, bunkers down the right-hand side on a couple of the 5s. So they will be a factor to good scoring this week. You just have to have a good game plan and stick with it and don't do anything silly. Obviously 18 you've got out of bounds all down the right. You don't need to hit driver off that tee to be able to score. Yesterday in practice I played and hit 3-iron, 3-iron on the green. So that hole is certainly reachable in the right wind condition without taking any risk on. So it just depends how people see playing those holes and how much risk they want to take.

Q. Just as a follow-up, you missed the cut here obviously in 2006?

Q. Do you feel you know the course better? Are you liking it better now?
IAN POULTER: I like the golf course. I think my golf game has changed a lot in eight years. And I feel more equipped. I've had good results in The Open since then to know that I can really play links golf pretty well. I think my game plan on links golf has been better over the last few years. Trying to stay away from trouble is a good thing. And there's plenty of that around this golf course. So I think it is going to play very different to 2006. There's not as many probably iron shots off the tees. There will be a couple more drivers, but literally only a couple more drivers. So, yeah, I feel that I know the course better than I did in '06. It was new to me in '06 and it's not new to me today. Albeit a few tee boxes have been moved farther back, but it feels familiar.

Q. Does a golfer's performance eight years on have anything to do with what you're going to do now?
IAN POULTER: Not really. I know my golf game has changed in those eight years. I just said I think I'm more equipped. I think I understand links golf better now than I did eight years ago. Albeit that I played in a number of Opens up until then. I'm a more experienced player on links golf now, and with the record I've got in The Open I feel comfortable hitting certain shots, taking certain shots on and being aggressive where I need to. Perhaps I didn't realize that in 2006.

Q. How has the whole game changed?

Q. No, the competition level, the depth of the field.
IAN POULTER: Depth of the field is probably stronger than what it was in 2006. Maybe Tiger is not quite as strong as what he was in 2006, but no one is going to write Tiger off until it's over. There's a lot of good players in good form right now. Justin has just won two tournaments, his last two events. And I'm sure he's coming in here full of confidence. And there's a number of guys right at the top of the leaderboard. Rory played well last week. And then obviously had a slight slip-up. But there's a lot of good players that are going to play this golf course very well with the potential wind conditions that we're going to get. It's going to be benign for a couple of days, so I think you're going to need to play very well.

Q. Another question on 2006, what were your abiding memories from your --
IAN POULTER: I've erased all of them. I really don't pay any attention to missed cuts. I get rid of them. I don't like them. I detest them, and I erase them. Sorry to cut that one really short. But honestly, there's no good coming out of 2006. So I really don't need to waste any of my brain cells thinking back to a bad week. It's a totally different golf course. It played real firm and fast. It's not quite as firm and fast this year as '06. So I treat this week as a new week, albeit a course that I've played, that I know what I need to do, I'm not pulling on anything from 2006 because there was nothing to pull from.

Q. You said quite rightly there's some terrific players in Great Britain. You've proved that in the Ryder Cup and various events around the world. And yet we're still waiting, I think 1992 was it and Sir Nick Faldo was the last time a Brit won The Open. Is there any explanation for that?
IAN POULTER: Nope. There's some good players that play this game, and it's tough to win them. There's a lot of players in form that have definitely got a chance this week, I think to get over that hurdle.

Q. Sorry to return to missed cuts, but is there any parts of you that was actually pleased to miss last week, because it gives you a bit more time for this one?
IAN POULTER: Not really. I couldn't get here till Saturday night anyway. If I'd have been able to have been here and actually done a lot of good work -- I mean, I didn't play the course Sunday even though I was here. I walked the entire course. I putted on every green from off the green and on the green. So I'd done my mapping of the greens for about four hours Sunday. My wrist was sore. I didn't want to take a chance until really I could, one, have it strapped, and, two, get a scan on it to see what was wrong. So, no, I'd have rather played last weekend, to be honest. I'd rather have been there to have been competitive for another couple of days, and coming into this week feeling good.

Q. You mentioned the greens, doing research on them. And you came up with some pretty memorable description of some of them last year. Can we expect anymore windmills?
IAN POULTER: No, they're relatively flat. I think most guys will be spending quite a bit of time on the putting green practicing putts, moving from kind of just outside the edges of the hole. There really isn't much slope in them. I think once you found the putting surface, you've got a fairly flat part from pretty much anywhere, apart from a couple of holes. So there's no windmills.

MIKE WOODCOCK: Ian, thank you very much for joining us, and best of luck this week.

IAN POULTER: Thank you.
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