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August 8, 2005

Ian Poulter


JULIUS MASON: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, Ian Poulter joining us this morning at the 87th PGA Championship.

Ian, welcome to Baltusrol.

IAN POULTER: Thank you.

JULIUS MASON: Some opening comments and we'll go to Q&A, please. Opening comments on playing the season's final major.

IAN POULTER: Yeah, I've had a couple of good weeks off. I haven't done too much work. I've come off a slight injury back home after a couple of days' practice this week, but things have got better over the last couple of days and I'm looking forward to getting out there and playing the last major of the year.

JULIUS MASON: Have you ever played Baltusrol before.

IAN POULTER: I never have.

JULIUS MASON: First trip here.

IAN POULTER: First time.

Q. Injury? What's the injury?

IAN POULTER: I was doing a practice routine the other day, my legs were getting a little bit too wide so I was using a little training aid to hold my legs closer together, and just sort of had a strain at the top of my thigh, the muscle which joins there and the stomach muscles, and it seemed to be pretty painful for sort of two or three days. So that was on my first day of practice. I didn't practice the week before last, I had a whole week off, tried to relax, come back, and to hit sort of 20, 30 balls and tore some ligaments I think. It set me back a couple of days, but the swing is looking good. I've done some good practice the last couple of days.

Q. When?

IAN POULTER: That was on Tuesday of this week, Tuesday of last week.

Q. Six days ago?

IAN POULTER: Six days ago.

I was practicing with like a very big rubber band.

Q. It's getting better and better.

IAN POULTER: It's just a training aid which Leadbetter uses. It's like an enormous rubber band, you hold it around your knees. It keeps your knees from moving in, so you have to you basically have to just put some tension and press your knees slightly out. And that obviously puts a bit of strain. Hard to explain that one. You'd have to see it. I won't be doing it again this week.

Q. Could you please address the challenges this course presents, particularly the 17th hole?

IAN POULTER: I don't know too much about this golf course to be perfectly honest with you. I flew in last night. This is going to be my first practice round this morning. I've read some reports that the golf course is in fantastic shape. The rough is up and the fairways are 25 yards wide.

So, when you've got a par 5 at 650 yards and you've got a 25 yard wide target, don't miss the fairway because you're going to be struggling. I'll be in a lot better position come Wednesday to make some more reports on how tough the golf course is.

Q. Can you talk about the difference of playing in America as opposed to in Europe? It seems as though the Europeans have not won too many majors lately, and meanwhile, you guys keep winning the Ryder Cup. What seems to be the difference between playing Ryder Cup and individual majors?

IAN POULTER: I haven't found that many differences in playing in America as opposed to playing in Europe. In my eyes, there's slightly bigger crowds in America. I feel comfortable playing in the company, there's a different field every week, as opposed to the European guys. I think there's I think the depth of players is slightly stronger in America, and that really is about it. I'm pretty comfortable playing here and I don't see it as too much of a difference.

Q. Handicapping the field somewhat, are there certain European players, Tour players, that you would expect to come up strong this week and possibly contend?

IAN POULTER: I think there will be a strong European presence this week on the leaderboard. You know, you've just got to look at guys who have been playing well of late. You know, Luke Donald, I think Darren Clarke is going to be up there. I think you're going to see more and more European guys being in contention to win one of these majors, which there's obviously been a drought over the last few years.

Q. Is the specter of Tiger now, looking like he's back on top of his game and playing so well in the majors, does that loom over the proceedings at all?

IAN POULTER: I guess a little bit. I mean, when you've got guys like Tiger and Vijay, Ernie, Retief, Phil Mickelson, winning majors, I guess it doesn't leave a lot of room for the other guys to be winning some. So when they have won 60, 70 percent, 80 percent of the last half a dozen, 10, 12 majors, you know, it does make it pretty difficult, but I'm sure one of the European guys is going to come through soon.

Q. Any special wardrobe in the works for this week?

IAN POULTER: As always. As always.

Q. Any advance tips?

IAN POULTER: No (laughing).

Q. You said you flew in last night. Did you get to see the cricket before you left?

IAN POULTER: I turned it back over, I think Australia needed 54 runs to catch up, and I turned it off. I went to pack my suitcase and came back and we had won by two runs.

Q. Do you know Freddie Flintoff through the Chevy connection?

IAN POULTER: I don't really know him to be honest with you, no, I don't.

Q. Did you get to see Chelsea Arsenal?

IAN POULTER: That's a sore point, isn't it? I watched the first half an hour, so we were 1 0 down after in that first half hour. That's all I saw the night I boarded the airplane and then the captain told me we lost 2 1. Is that right? Excellent.

Q. I have a question about fatherhood. How have you been able to strike a balance of being a dad of two small children and being on the Tour? And secondly, each of the two times that your children were born, were you on TOUR or where were you?

IAN POULTER: Yeah, Aimee Leigh was born the week of the Deutsche Bank golf tournament, three and a bit years ago no, sorry, sorry. I'd better get this right, hadn't I? (Laughter).

Aimee Leigh was born 3 1/2 years ago. I actually took I think eight weeks off at the time with Aimee. She was due the week she was two weeks late. She was due late January, so I just decided to start my whole season late that year. I took a nice break and spent some good time at home.

Then Luke was due pretty much through part of the Ryder Cup qualification period, and that was the week of the Deutsche Bank tournament. I made the cut on the number, had a phone call at 3 o'clock in the morning and decided to get home on Saturday morning, I missed the birth, but I pulled out of the tournament and went home.

Q. Do you carry a beeper with you in case?

IAN POULTER: No. Telephone is good enough. I was called at 2:30 in the morning I think, and that was a nice early morning call. Just went home from there.

I mean, it's been a wonderful few years. I haven't found it a problem coping with being a father and balancing the two. I find it nice and relaxing to be able to go home and do have a week off. When I'm having a week off, sometimes I like to putt the clubs away for a week and spend great time at home with Katie and the kids. It's a great way to go back and relax and get away from golf.

Q. You said you made the cut and you left?

IAN POULTER: Yes. I mean, that was that was quite a big tournament. I took the decision to go there and play knowing the possibility that I might have to withdraw.

But, you know, things panned out and I went home. I still made the Ryder Cup, so, it was great.

Q. I remember at the start of the year, you said that you I think you put it that you would not be surprised if a European won a major this year, and here we are, it's glory's last shot for the thing in front of you. The longer it goes on, does it sort of make it more difficult?

IAN POULTER: I don't think so. I don't think so. It will happen. I mean, there will be a European winner at some stage and put that question to bed. It comes up at every major. It's obviously going to come up at every major until it happens.

So, I mean, I'm pretty confident that I can go out there and if I play good for the four days, then I'm going to win this golf tournament, and that's all I'm worried about right now and that's all I'm going to be concentrating on. If I practice right the next three days and give myself a decent chance, then I'm going to try and take it.

Q. The fact that you have probably not fulfilled your potential in the majors so far; is it fair enough to say that?

IAN POULTER: Yeah, my best finish is 11th at St. Andrews. I walked off that green absolutely devastated. I played the front nine very poorly that week. I think I dropped at least six, seven or eight shots on that front nine for the week. Played the back nine very well. You know, I finished 11th. I bogeyed 17; 3 putt the last. If I don't drop the shot on 17 and 2 putt the last, I finish third. Now, how can I finish third in a major with dropping six or seven shots on the front nine? I mean, that's ridiculous.

So I've walked off finishing 11th not satisfied, and I thought that was a great chance for me finishing fourth the week before at Loch Lomond to go on and give Tiger a run for his money, and unfortunately that didn't happen.

Q. How much do you want to be in contention, because your record shows that when you're in contention

IAN POULTER: I want to be in contention, because I know when I'm in contention, I'm going to take it down to the wire. I'm trying to get myself in contention which I haven't been, so far.

JULIUS MASON: Questions? Questions twice? Thank you very much for coming down, Ian.

IAN POULTER: Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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