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September 27, 2014

Ian Poulter

Henrik Stenson


PAUL SYMES: Many thanks for joining us. Start with you, Henrik. It was a record-breaking morning for you and Justin in the fourballs, 12-under par has never been done before by a European pairing. So that must make you a very proud man.

HENRIK STENSON: Absolutely, considering that, of course we would have birdied 17 and 18, as well, if we had a chance (laughter). No, it was great to be a part of that match. Someone said we made 21 birdies between the four players in 16 holes, so it was a lot of birdies and a lot of red figures, and I think we only halved the fourth hole on a par, other than that, it was either halved or won by birdies back and forth the whole the way around. We made ten in a row from 7 onwards. Us being 2-down, it was pretty sweet from there on. Justin has played fantastic for the first three games, and I played my best game in the foursomes yesterday. And today, again I was there to back him up on a few occasions and made some good birdies myself. But he was playing fantastic, and it was a great match.

PAUL SYMES: And you stayed out afterwards to watch the man next to you and Rory deliver what could be a crucial half point.

HENRIK STENSON: Absolutely. Come Sunday afternoon, every halve point or every point is worth so much. It was very important that they were managed to get a halve in that match, being 1-down after 14 holes and Rickie Fowler, about five feet away. I just showed up, and you showed up (turning to Ian with amused smile), and chipped in, and then a great birdie on the next, and a good halve up the last. Yeah, it was a great finish to the match and very important.

PAUL SYMES: Moving on to you, Ian, how important was it for you from a personal point of view to get off the mark and from a team point of view to stay ahead?

IAN POULTER: More so from a team perspective. Any of the matches that are looking like they are going to favour one way and then all of a sudden they can sway back and someone can grab half a point is crucial coming into the week. You know, that happened to us yesterday morning. When you look at the board, most of the way through that first stint, you looked at it and said it was going to be 3-1. But then obviously they come back and turned a couple of matches around, and that half-point today might be crucial. Whenever you've got that opportunity and whenever you can just sow the seed of doubt, then it makes a big difference.

PAUL SYMES: It was more like the Ian Poulter of old today, especially that chip-in on 15.

IAN POULTER: The first and second was in the chipping and, yeah, I kind of fell asleep in the middle. It was nice to get the juices flowing. Not much has gone in the hole yet so far this week. Obviously only played twice, but it was great to do be able to do that and have Rory there, as backup, as well, to hole that shot at the last was real sweet.

Q. How is your back, and is there any chance it could have an impact on you tomorrow?
HENRIK STENSON: No, I'll be fine to play tomorrow. It was a bit stiff this morning. It was a long day yesterday and that kind of took its toll. All in all a couple different factors made me sit out in the afternoon here and try to get as fresh and ready for tomorrow as possible.

Q. Your Ryder Cup beast finally been released? A lot of emotion out there.
IAN POULTER: There was a lot of emotion. It's been waiting to come out. It took way too long for it to do so, but it was nice to be able to do it in that fashion. 15th hole was very much looking like the U.S. Team were going to go 2-up with three to play. And it's a funny game sometimes. You know, chip-ins, holed bunker shots; Rickie done it to us on 10. They are both in the trap to the left and Rory and I are looking pretty good on ten feet and kind of 12 feet away, and he holes and we miss, and that hole switches around. It was crucial. It was nice to be able to get something out of that match.

Q. Do you feel you want to go again now?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I'm going to go tomorrow.

Q. You'd like to have carried on this afternoon with that momentum?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, but there's also lots of other guys that want to go this afternoon, as well. Only eight can get out on the golf course, we have 12 great players. There's no egos on this team. This is 12 great players that all want to play golf and you have respect the captain's decision, and he's sent Martin out there to play with Justin and I think they will do a great job.

Q. Can you try to remember the last time you had an experience like the one you had this morning on a golf course in a golf tournament?
HENRIK STENSON: The only thing that comes in terms of making birdies and shooting a low number, I guess when I shot the course record in Abu Dhabi, I shot 10-under I think in 2006. That's probably the last time I remember making lots of birdies and shooting low numbers like that. But yeah, I don't have anything to compare it with. It was something very special; to make ten birdies in a row, that doesn't come around very often. Hopefully it will come around once more at some point. But it was definitely an experience of a lifetime and it's been two great days for me in terms of Ryder Cup and being partnered up with Justin and getting three out of three points.

Q. As the battle has unfolded, how has Paul McGinley come across to you guys as a captain?
IAN POULTER: He's been very solid. You know, every decision he's made, he's been very good. He's been very thoughtful in the evenings. He understands how the players are thinking, and I think we've got a lot of experience in the back room, as well. So everybody has worked very, very hard, thought about the matches. We've discussed them, and I think so far, so good.

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I couldn't agree more. He's done a great job. He's prepared two years almost for this week and put so much time and hard effort into getting this as good as he can, and together with his team around him and all the vice captains and everything. So I'm hugely impressed with that.

Q. You had a memorable Saturday with Rory at Medinah obviously. How would you describe him as a partner?
IAN POULTER: How would I describe Rory as a partner? Well, when he hits it 350 down the middle, he's kind of useful (laughter). He's a great guy. He's full of energy. He's extremely fit and energetic. I thought I walked fast, but he was trying to walk past me today, which never normally happens. It was nice to have someone striding right by my side. I mean, I'm always past my caddie, so I'm kind of normally walking on my own. But in this format, it's great to have someone like Rory standing right next to you. He's world No. 1. The golf he's played through this summer has been incredibly impressive. What more can you say when you've got world No. 1 playing with you? It's a huge help.

Q. You said outside right after your match that you could have played better, but you still had I think five birdies. How important was that birdie on No. 7 to change the momentum?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, it was crucial. We were 2-down at the time, given that Justin had made a couple of great birdies already and we were still 2-down. He just lipped-out for his birdie from about eight feet, so of course it was very important for me to make that 7-footer down the hill to get one back, and that kind of started our run. We were hoping to get back to kind of all-square late in the back nine to have a chance coming in the last couple holes, but it only took us two holes to be back to all-square. Then we didn't give them a chance. We went ten birdies in a row so that never gave them a chance to come back. 14 was important because we were 2-up with five to go, and they were in for birdie. Me and Justin had probably about 7-, 8-footers for birdie, and I managed to knock mine in and we stayed 2-up and we managed to close out the match on 16.

Q. Did you use psychology to spark a change of form like that? You were playing like a drone and suddenly --
IAN POULTER: Thank you. That's nice (laughter).

Q. Suddenly you chip-in, and it's the only Ian Poulter again.
IAN POULTER: No, it's in there. Obviously I haven't played my best golf. So you know, you just have to get something going. You have to stay positive. You have to keep telling yourself the good stuff's coming. But it took quite a while. So I don't use a psychologist. I don't need a psychologist. I understand what it takes to get me going. I've got a big heart and I love this Ryder Cup.

Q. Was it visualization? Did you see the ball actually dropping?
IAN POULTER: I was trying to chip it in. I mean, Rickie Fowler's stiff. Rickie is probably going to hole that putt. It's black and white. I said it yesterday. There's no grey areas in this game, and certainly when your opponent is sitting there with a 5-foot putt to go 2-up potentially, Rory was just off the green, so I mean, you're just focused on trying to hole your chip shot. It was nice that it went in.

Q. Thank you.
IAN POULTER: Pleasure.

Q. Paul was saying this morning, he was talking about how difficult it is to play with a rookie and he thought, maybe you'd struggled a bit with that yesterday, taking on that role. Do you agree with that? And would you expand on what he said?
IAN POULTER: You know, it was a big day for Stevie G yesterday, obviously playing at home. I felt at times on the golf course I would try and put my arm around him and try and settle him down. I think he was nervous over the first number of holes, and it was unfortunate that nothing got going. I think that he wanted it so bad, and we wanted it so bad. And sometimes when you play golf like that, it just doesn't happen. And that's what happened yesterday. He obviously wanted to please the home fans that he has right here, and it didn't happen. But I said to him, you know, listen -- I said, I played my first match with Darren Clarke and got well and truly stuffed. Don't take this too hard. I know you'll be hard on yourself about it, but you have to pick yourself back up, and when you get back out on the golf course, make amends.

Q. In the past you've said, Captain, I can guarantee you a point on Sunday. The way you finished today, are you going to say that to Paul McGinley tonight?
IAN POULTER: I'm not telling you.

HENRIK STENSON: That means he can guarantee a halve or better.

Q. To follow up talking about Stevie G there, he would be desperately disappointed, I would imagine, by not trying to make amends for that by being out there this afternoon. How can the team rally around him or get him up for obviously what's going to be a crucial match for him tomorrow?
IAN POULTER: It's not really about rallying around. I said it earlier and Martin said it yesterday in his press conference. There's 12 great players on this team and it's difficult sometimes, because for the first two days, you can only put eight guys out on the golf course. You have to rest players. And he will be disappointed, I'm sure, that he wasn't out there on the golf course. But he understands, and he's such a great, great guy and a great player, that when he gets his opportunity tomorrow, he'll go out there and I'm sure he'll deliver. You know, he knows this golf course better than anybody else in both teams, and I would fully expect Stevie G to practise today. He'll be fresh for tomorrow, and I would expect him to go out there and have a fantastic day.

Q. Were the greens behaving a bit differently today compared to yesterday considering the number of birdies, long-range birdie putts that you could roll in, especially your group?
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, they were kinder. The hole was bigger.

IAN POULTER: (Laughing).

HENRIK STENSON: The difference in preparation was they were double-cut and rolled today, so there was a bit more speed to them, for sure. Yeah, other than that -- it was one of those days and one of those matches where people are making putts from left, right and centre, and especially my partner, Justin, he was really in the zone on the greens and making so many good putts. So what it comes down to, I can't really tell you. Just one of them days.

PAUL SYMES: Thanks very much.
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