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January 29, 2004

Ian Poulter


GORDON SIMPSON: Good start to the tournament. Just what you wanted to get things moving.

IAN POULTER: Last week I thought about resting into the start of the little bit and choose my tournaments wisely. I think I've done that. Last week, having a rest.

I played very nice in South Africa, and I never holed a putt and that was really strange for me because normally my putting is normally -- it's always one of the strengths of my game to help my scoring. To go out and have 35 putts around, no different today, just went out and played the same way as I did two weeks ago and I'm starting to hole a few putts.

So that's very encouraging to know my game is in shape; and if I start rolling putts in, then the scores are there.

GORDON SIMPSON: What's your assessment of the season ahead, how do you view what's coming?

IAN POULTER: Pretty exciting, really, to be in all the majors this year. Obviously be in the Match Play for the first time this year and give myself the opportunity to really give those, the majors and the WGCs a really good go and get myself in the Ryder Cup side early.

Q. Have you played here before?

IAN POULTER: I played the last time it was the Alpine Golf Course, so the second time.

GORDON SIMPSON: How did you perform the last time here?

IAN POULTER: I can't remember. I think I enjoyed the golf course but I don't think I did too well.

Q. Get this over with; are you between colors with the hair?

IAN POULTER: Between styles, as well, right now. Who knows, I might chop it all off for next week.

Q. How did you feel when you opened the tournament with a bogey?

IAN POULTER: Not too comfortable because I was on the massage table for 40 minutes before I started this morning and I didn't actually think I was going to be able to play.

I've had a chest infection for a couple of weeks now and struggled to get rid of that. I was coughing a lot last night, and whether I dislodged a rib or pulled a muscle in my back, I don't know. And Cam, my physio, was helping me for 40 minutes and took some strong painkillers. Hit a few bad shots on the range, but we managed to struggle through the first few holes and the pain has gone away.

Hopefully it will stay away for the rest of the week and hopefully it not going to reoccur.

Q. Where did you feel it is specifically?

IAN POULTER: In the middle left portion of my back. I was in agony on the table for a little while, but I'm just hoping that it's going to be able to take it away.

Q. Who was helping you?

IAN POULTER: My physio, Cam.

Q. When did it come on?

IAN POULTER: I didn't really feel it at any time or night. I've had a cough and a nasally chest; it wasn't a cough, and I felt it go. It was just this morning I woke up and felt very uncomfortable. So I think possibly in the way I was sleeping or possibly in a funny position, but, you know it was just very painful. Painkillers have managed to take it away with Cam's help.

Q. What time was this?


Q. (Inaudible.)

IAN POULTER: Well, Cam flies around with us. He's going to be at 24 tournaments. So he's basically at every single tournament for us. He was up. He was coming to the course with me.

Q. What's his name?

IAN POULTER: Cam Bhabra.

Q. You said you wanted to get off to a good start and that's the key, does this give you confidence?

IAN POULTER: I'm really ready to go. I tried really hard yesterday in the Pro-Am just to focus on my putting because that's the only thing that let me down two weeks ago. I shot 7-under yesterday, didn't make a bogey, putted very nicely.

So last night when I talked to my manager, I was full of confidence and the stroke feels good. That's the only thing that sort of let me down in the first week. I had four 3-putts and without those 3-putts, I would have finished fourth, and that's without holing any other putts. That was the only part of my game which was letting me down.

Q. You practiced a bit with Nick last year, I seem to remember. Did you see a game there that you still thought was up there with the best?

IAN POULTER: Yeah, I played with him in the Open and we had a great day on Saturday. I think he finished with three straight birdies to get himself aligned in the Top-10.

Yeah, Nick's game is still in shape. When it's a tough golf course like this, he's a gutsy character. If he plays well, then he's going to score well.

GORDON SIMPSON: Well done, Ian.

End of FastScripts.

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