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September 25, 2014

Ian Poulter


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Ian, welcome, thanks for joining us. Is there even any point in asking if you're ready to go?

IAN POULTER: I'm ready. I've been ready for a few weeks now, so looking forward to it. I think it's set up very nicely. The golf course is in fantastic shape, and I think the team are full of confidence and ready to go.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: And how is your own game?

IAN POULTER: I feel the game is coming on nicely the last couple of weeks and I feel confident that we are going to go out there and play very well.

Q. As far as Ryder Cups are concerned, you're now in the same mention as Seve and Monty. How does that make you feel? How proud are you that people talk about you in the same light?
IAN POULTER: Well, extremely proud. I think how I've performed in the last number of Ryder Cups is -- if I really have to sit back and think about it -- I'm very proud of that. I'm very proud of my record and proud that I've put a lot of blue on the board. I'm passionate as a team player, and yeah, to be mentioned with the likes of Seve and Monty and those players is an absolute honour.

Q. Tom Watson, whatever he meant, said that you were the player that the Americans were going to target. Just wonder what your reaction to those comments is?
IAN POULTER: Well, as I just said, I've put a lot of blue on the board for Team Europe, and I guess when you've done that, you've kept a lot of red off of their board. And by doing that, I think -- I take that as a compliment, being able to deliver for my team and help get us over the line, I'm very proud of. And I guess I take Tom Watson's comment as a huge compliment; to me as a player, as someone that has loved The Ryder Cup and for like Tom, who as accomplished as he is, to pay me that compliment is amazing.

Q. You're so consistent and reliable and effective as a Ryder Cup player. Do you ever worry about what it would be like if you had a bad Ryder Cup? Does your success put extra pressure on you?
IAN POULTER: No. I put enough pressure on myself leading in, and I work hard to be able to deliver in Ryder Cups. From all the previous Ryder Cups that I've witnessed, being there from '93, and the shots and all the replays that we've seen through the years, I don't think negatively. I think positively that we are going to go out there and deliver. I never feel that I'm going to go out there and think, what if something doesn't happen. It's more to the point of, let's go out there and do the job.

Q. When you're in a match, what kind of a read do you get off the other player? Can you tell when an opponent is intimidated by you?
IAN POULTER: I'm not sure whether I've ever looked at them to find out whether they are intimidated. It's more to the point, I'm more focused on my own job, and making sure my partner and I are out there performing. I don't try too much to look into the other players. Obviously they are there and obviously they are close by. But providing you're holing your putts and doing your job, there's no reason to really look over to try and read into what they are thinking. I know what they will think when I hole that putt. That I do know.

Q. As well as you've played in the previous Ryder Cups, I think what you did at Medinah probably really elevated the attention you get, kind of your symbolism with The Ryder Cup. Is it different when your expectations are suddenly joined by thousands of others' expectations, if not millions, or billions, not to exaggerate?
IAN POULTER: I think I put more pressure on myself than the millions or billions or however many people are out there wanting me to hole putts. I'm very demanding of what it is I have to go out there and deliver upon, and I feel that I can manage that level within myself because that's what I expect to do.

Q. Could you take us through the emotions that flow through your body when you enter the first tee in a Ryder Cup?
IAN POULTER: Just the pride of what it means to put the shirt on, to walk over the bridge and through the tunnel and soak up the electricity that you get from the crowd is something which is the biggest adrenaline rush you could ever possibly have. It only happens every two years. It's been a long time to wait between those weeks. It's something that keeps you going. You want to play more and more of them, because they are very fulfilling and you don't get that experience in any other form of golf. Week-in and week-out, when we perform in majors, it's just not the same, and that's why you see so many great moments in The Ryder Cup.

Q. Is that the point where you say you would transform into this --
IAN POULTER: I'm not sure whether I transform -- I'm not quite a transformer. But I love it, and I enjoy what it's stands for and I embrace that.

Q. Martin Kaymer just said when you see Ian Poulter at The Ryder Cup, he's different. Do you understand what he means by that, and if you do understand it, different how exactly?
IAN POULTER: Well, I'm part of a team. And I guess they don't get to see that for long periods of time between Ryder Cups. But I want to help out. I'm someone that's proud to put an arm around someone and to pump someone up and get someone going, even if it's a Martin Kaymer or even if it's a Westy. There are players on the team that get very pumped up. I'm obviously one of those guys, and I'm happy to help. I loved my football as a kid, and I'm kind of reliving those football moments as a golfer now. I think I played football back in the day like I play golf right now.

Q. I'm sure you've heard or seen Phil Mickelson's comments yesterday about, "At least we don't litigate against each other." Just wondering what you made of them, and do you relish seeing someone spice things up a bit?
IAN POULTER: You know, I did see them. But you need to see how Rory and G-Mac are in the team room. They are very comfortable. There's no -- there's no animosity in there whatsoever. The guys are good. So I just -- I just have to laugh at the comment.

Q. When the others are saying that they have seen various sort of flashbacks to the other matches, when you see yourself on tele doing what you do, do you find yourself scarry at all?
IAN POULTER: Yes, very scary (laughter).

Q. Can you see how you might frighten people?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I guess I can. I showed my emotion, but I'm showing my emotion like Seve, like Ollie, like Monty, like Woosie, like Torrance, like all the guys through the years that have ever played Ryder Cup. I'm showing the emotion because it means so much, and however you want to show that, it just comes out naturally and that's what you've seen in Ryder Cups through the years.

Q. And are your children amazed when they see you?
IAN POULTER: No, I think they're scared (laughter).

Q. You sort of alluded to this a little earlier, but is it almost impossible to take sort of the emotion and the passion that you have in The Ryder Cup into your individual career, into just regular stroke-play events throughout the year? And if so, have you ever struggled with that, trying to do that?
IAN POULTER: Well, quite clearly, my record in The Ryder Cup is exceptional, and my stroke play record, isn't. So quite clearly I've struggled to take what I have in Ryder Cup and put that out for 103 other weeks in between them. So I've thought about it. It's hard, but to realise that what every putt means in The Ryder Cup is the equivalent of winning a tournament, so whether that be on the first hole, to win that hole is the equivalent, and the emotion that goes through your body is the same as the putt that you experience on a Sunday in big tournament. So potentially, you're holing lots of winning tournament putts throughout a three-day spell, and sometimes that all adds up to more wins than what you would ever win in your professional lifetime. So that's why players enjoy The Ryder Cup so much and that's why it's mentally and physically draining by the end of the week because you go through that emotion so often and you don't get that in your week-in, week-out playing record.

Q. Do you think that's ever hurt you in your career, trying to carry that over knowing that that's not that easy to do?
IAN POULTER: It's never hurt me, no. Just still trying to fathom out a way to internally psych myself up the way I do in Ryder Cups to bring that out of me week-in, week-out.

Q. In light of Phil's comments yesterday and have read some of your pin picks on the American Team this morning, is there room for an element of mind games in The Ryder Cup and do you think they actually work?
IAN POULTER: I don't know, I mean, look, both teams want to win this trophy. We've had the upper hand in the last decade, but you know, personally, you have to look at that board since The Ryder Cup started and realise that there's more red, white and blue on it than there is European blue. I don't think there's mind games that gets put out there. I think there's obviously bigger media coverage nowadays than there was back in the day. So we're more aware of it, but I don't think it's a big factor. I think we're all aware and we all want to win this trophy, so I don't really think the mind games come into play.

Q. Just to follow up to that, does it ever get -- do you ever let it get personal? I don't expect you to make it personal externally, but do you ever develop these personal -- not grudges, as such, but to help motivate yourself?
IAN POULTER: For 103 weeks, we're all friends on the golf course and there's no personal vendettas. There's no grudges against anybody out there. The fact is, it's healthy for us to be able to go out there as two teams that actually want to win this trophy. I see it as great for golf. I see it that we need to bring this thing back to all-square, and they have had the upper hand for so long that we are starting to try and work hard to get that back on an even keel.

Q. As the most passionate Ryder Cup man an the planet, what will it mean to Stephen Gallacher to stand on that first tee in his home country?
IAN POULTER: It will be mind blowing. I think for Stevie G to get the ovation he got last night at the gala reception was incredible and I think what he's going to get on the first tee tomorrow is going to be absolutely phenomenal. It will be good; it will be good for him; it will be good for the team. I think he's going to have a fantastic Ryder Cup.

Q. You talked about the extra adrenaline that you will feel on the first tee. Can you give us a feel for how much thought you have to give to controlling that and whether it's a greater challenge this week than any other week?
IAN POULTER: You don't need to control it. You've been waiting for it for a long time, so you just need to grab hold of it and let it go, and that's what you see -- that's what you see when I play in this format. I love what it stands for and I don't think you need to calm that down. I think you need to just grab hold of it and use every bit you get.

Q. Jim Furyk, who has an extremely poor Ryder Cup record, claims that many of your celebrations are over the top, that you don't say congratulations to the host. What's your reaction to that?
IAN POULTER: Well, I guess -- well, in the time that I've witnessed watching Ryder Cups, I've seen everybody fist pump. Obviously everybody fist pumps differently, but there's always a lot of emotion to come out. I don't think I've fist pumped any different from 2004 to what I have in 2012. I've seen the highlights and they are exactly the same. So everybody's got their own DNA and everybody fist pumps in their own way. It's not disrespectful in any way, shape or form. I feel that I've done it in a way that is natural to me, and I've been very respectful of that.

Q. Can we be assured there will be more fist pumping this week?
IAN POULTER: We're on home soil. I'm sure it will be seen, once or twice (laughter).

Q. Question came up this week, who would be the Ian Poulter of the American squad. Your thoughts, please?
IAN POULTER: Keegan Bradley.

Q. Why?
IAN POULTER: Because it was his first Ryder Cup in Medinah, and for a day and a half, I think he was fist pumping like I was fist pumping. You saw the adrenaline in his body. He loved playing with Phil, and they were on an incredible run. So I think, yeah, I think from that standpoint, it has to be Keegan. He's embraced it. He absolutely loved it.

Q. I got the impression when you were a footballer as a kid, you enjoyed the physicality of that sport. You obviously don't get a chance to express that in golf unless you're Anthony Kim. Do you set out to intimidate an opponent in The Ryder Cup in the same way that in football, intimidating a player can sometimes be part of the game?
IAN POULTER: I think the intimidation factor comes in from delivering, holing putts. I think I'm one of those players which obviously stands tall. I'm very proud to put the shirt on, and when I do that and when I hole putts and when I'm visibly -- when I'm visibly seen holing those putts and showing the emotion, I guess that can be the intimidation factor that they may feel. So I've been able to do that an awful lot since playing in The Ryder Cup, and you know, I feel if that can continue, that's how I'll try and intimidate.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Ian, as always, many thanks
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