August 19, 2003
SCOTT CROCKETT: Many thanks for coming in. We were speaking a couple years ago when you were finished tied for 13th. Are you looking forward to this week?
IAN POULTER: Yes, it's really good to come back and play this golf course again. I really enjoyed it last time, and I'll be playing it this year with come confidence than probably what I did last time. I come off last time missing the cut for the U.S. PGA, which was pretty disappointing and this year playing very nicely coming into last week and making the cut, playing great for 68 holes and going into this week with a lot of confidence.
Q. You played four rounds last week, does that continue to boost the confidence after winning in Denmark?
IAN POULTER: Yes, I played four rounds last week. I did play very well. I dropped a few shots at the end. It was nice to have a day off yesterday and get myself nicely refreshed for this week.
Q. What happened on the last hole round?
IAN POULTER: I four-putted 15, which is rare, rare, rare. I can't remember the last time I ever four-putted. I tried to get rid of it walking to the next tee and diffuse myself, and I managed to hit my tee shot 340 down the middle, hit it to 20-foot on 16 and managed to hit it 15 foot by, so I wasn't able to diffuse it totally, and I proceeded to three-putt 16 and 17. I bogeyed the last for good measure, so I dropped six shots on the last four, but that's all gone.
Q. What did you take out of last week as a learning experience?
IAN POULTER: How well I managed to hit pretty much most of the fairways that I needed to hit, and I probably hit more fairways last week than I thought I would being how tough the course was set up. It was really just key to try and keep it in the fairways and keep it on the greens. I managed to drop so many shots on par 3s last week, when par 3s has been my strong point over the last four years, and that was just a little disappointing to do that.
All the par 4s, I played them very, very nicely and struck to my game plan of just hitting Rescue off the tee, just put it in play and make sure you've got a decent shot to the green. I was pretty pleased on that side of things. I think that will serve me well around here this week.
Q. What do you like about this golf course?
IAN POULTER: Just the way it's set up. It's fair, and also it's in fantastic condition. The greens are probably one of the best greens we'll putt on all year, so that makes for pretty good scoring no matter what course you play. Generally, in Germany, the scoring is a few shots better and I love to putt on great greens, so that's one of the reasons this is a great golf course.
Q. Ian, you've come off a great one in Denmark. You did perform very well last week despite the frustrations at the end, but since the certain degree of irritation with the interest in your hair style rather than your golf, would you rather more attention was paid to how you played rather than how you look?
IAN POULTER: I think that golf has done the talking two weeks ago, and since I've changed the hair style, yeah, there's been loads of different kinds of interest in it, but I think I've played well enough over the last ten weeks since I've changed the hair to outweigh the comments on the hair. If the hair is taking it, then so be it, but I personally feel the golf is doing more of the talking. It's getting a lot of attention, and sometimes by the end of the day when you've been asked 465 times about the hair it becomes a little bit tedious, but I think the first questions are all to do with the golf.
Q. You seem to have matching shoes. Is that deliberate?
IAN POULTER: I'm having some more made up for next week actually, red, green and blue.
Q. Is it deliberate?
IAN POULTER: What, the shoes?
IAN POULTER: No, they're standard shoes, beige and white.
Q. And the rough last week, did you feel that that was always fair or is it getting a bit out of hand?
IAN POULTER: I thought it was one of the fairest courses we've played. It rewarded good shots, and if you did hit a bad shot you were punished for it. You couldn't attack the golf course like some of the golf courses we play. You just can't hit driver everywhere, and if you did that you were going to have a high score, there's no question about it, because you're just chipping back out. If you hit fairways, which if you hit the right club off the tee, you could, it just left you a longer shot in, you could actually make a score out there. I thought it was pretty fair. It was very, very, very tough. Generally looking at it, I thought it was a fair golf course.
Q. Was there one of the par 3s last week that you had a particular problem with or was it all four?
IAN POULTER: I just generally dropped shots on all of them. I only made one birdie on a par 3, which is not normal, and obviously the four-putt was a double. I had another double on the sixth, so I just kept dropping shots on par 3s, which was frustrating. It was hard because some of the par 3s are playing 218 yards or 220 yards and you've got to hit 3-iron and you've got five feet to land it on, otherwise it will go through the back of the green and it will leave you no chip shot, so it was always just in between a 3 or a 4-iron and a Rescue to hit the perfect golf shot, so it was a tough week on the 3s.
Q. How much better a player do you think you are than when you nearly made the Ryder Cup?
IAN POULTER: I think I'm much better. I think mentally I'm a lot better. Of course it didn't show last week, but mentally I'm more consistent and my golf over the last 12 weeks has shown that. There's a bit more consistency there with the work I've been doing on my swing and the hard work I'm putting in has started to pay off in the middle to the end of this season, so if I can just continue that form all the way through, then I think my position should show that I'm a more consistent player.
Q. You and Justin Roberts seem to be good friends and help each other along when one is playing badly. What are you saying to Justin at the moment?
IAN POULTER: I don't think there's anything wrong with his game. I think he's a little frustrated with four winning last year playing fantastic golf. It's like anything, you come out the year after and you're expecting to win again very quickly. Although he has been playing some great golf, finishing -- did he finish 4th at the U.S. Open? 5th? That's one hell of a week to have, so obviously his golf is in shape. I think he might be putting a little bit too much pressure on himself to force a win out of it. The week he had was just typical of not expecting to win a golf tournament. It was the fact of trying to get through tonsillitis. I played great and Justin has been putting too much pressure on himself to force it. I've just told him try and relax and just go out there and try and enjoy it a bit more because I just think he's just a little stressed on the course.
Q. 17 majors have now gone by since the last European victory. What's your opinion as to why that is?
IAN POULTER: Good question. I don't know. There's quite a few. It's hard to say. I think I've gone out there with a chance, but there's no reason why the European guys shouldn't have nicked one or two more in amongst those. I don't know really.
Q. Is there a psychological part of it, that they have gotten close? Is there a psychological barrier as it goes on?
IAN POULTER: I haven't really thought about it because I haven't been in a situation to contend in one yet, so it's not really at the front of my mind to be thinking about why these guys haven't or why I haven't won one. I'll finish 2nd in the next one and I'll let you know.
Q. Can you tell us what it's like to go through a spell such as what Justin is going through now?
IAN POULTER: Frustrating. Very frustrating. You know, thankfully I've won every year and Justin seemed to have won all his in one year last year. It does play on your mind. You start thinking why am I not winning. I feel as if my game is exactly the same as it was when I won, so you just start questioning yourself, and that becomes a psychological thing, I think, and it starts playing on your mind more than anything else, and this game is all mind games. If your mind set is right at the beginning of the week and your golf game is somewhat in shape, then you're good enough to win the golf tournament. I just think it's mind set and it does play funny games.
Q. All your friends say to you and you said you would say to Justin relax and enjoy it a bit more, that in a way must increase your frustration, to keep hearing it from other people, you keep hearing try and relax and you're getting more and more frustrated?
IAN POULTER: Possibly. It's just a snowball effect. The more weeks go by when you don't win you do think about it. I think Justin is a great player. I don't see it being too long before he wins again. It's amazing when you start rolling in a couple putts on the first round how it all changes for you. For me obviously just coming off a win a couple weeks ago it's not too much of a problem, but I can see for some guys it can play on your mind.
IAN POULTER: I've had a start this year, changing my swing, I didn't expect to come out and play fantastic straight away and didn't. I went through six missed cuts and then all of a sudden it all kicked into place, why I didn't expect it to kick in quite that soon, but it was very handy that it did.
Q. Did you get depressed?
IAN POULTER: No, I don't generally get too down with my golf. I don't tend to let it worry me too much. I don't go home and sit down and think, oh, my God, I can't play and I'm not going to pay the bills and stuff. I forget about it. The last four holes last week, it's all gone, so I don't generally sit down and try and think back on stuff and actually dwell on it too much. I just look forward to the days coming. I try and always do that; I think that's the best way, forward.
Q. Have you always been like that, where you wouldn't let last week's four holes get you down?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I mean, ten minutes after I come off the golf course I'm pretty frustrated myself, but I wake up the next morning and it's all history, it's all gone. You can't change it. There's nothing you can do to rectify what you've just done, so on to the next tournament and look forward to playing good golf again. I've always drawn out that mindset and I think that's something to be proud of the last four years.
Q. You're playing again with Nick Faldo this morning. Are you learning things playing with him that you're practicing?
IAN POULTER: I always learn. He was number one and he's a major multi champion so it's good to see how he plots his way around the golf course and he's still one of the best in the game. It's nice to see what clubs he's going to be hitting off these holes. I can take some notes and see what he's thinking out there on the golf course to what I'm thinking. I've played a few practice rounds with him this year and I think it's been quite helpful really.
Q. Is what he's thinking quite often different from what you're thinking?
IAN POULTER: Not drastically. I think when there's -- I think I'm pretty conscious on some of the par 5s. If I can't reach I won't have a go. I think Nick is like that, too. He doesn't lay off to a perfect yardage and give himself a chance where at worst he's going to walk off with a 5, where in years past I might have had a lash at a 3-wood and hit it in the drink and made a 6.
Q. What does he think about your game?
IAN POULTER: I think he thinks it's quite fun. He likes it.
Q. What's the best --
IAN POULTER: Greg Norman said something to me last week. He said, "Ian, don't you ever change." It was quite nice.
Q. What's the best piece of advice you've had from Faldo?
IAN POULTER: Advice? There's no one thing that he said to me which would -- swing-wise which would stick in my mind to say I need to be thinking about. It's just general things really, the way he gets around the course, talking to him about it. It's just very helpful. There's no one thing that I can think of which stuck in my mind.
Q. Your focus going into majors, there was some discussion about Europeans not having won majors in a while. Some players are completely focused on majors and other tournaments are really secondary to them. What's your focus during the year? Are majors your primary focus?
IAN POULTER: They haven't been up until now because I haven't been in a situation to play all four of them. Now my world ranking is getting closer and closer to top 50, that's going to put me in more position to play all four majors. I look at European tournaments and look at our major tournaments back over there and look to play those tournaments the best I can. Obviously you're going to try and win every tournament and that's not possible, so I look at our biggest tournaments back home and see them as my target to play, and then obviously the majors with getting in the Open early this year, yeah, that is a goal, to try and get my game fully in shape for those weeks, and then obviously last week it was nice to play another major, but next year, yes, I'm going to want to try and get my game in shape for playing all four. If I can get myself in the top 50 in the world then it's going to look like I'll be playing all of them. Right now there hasn't been in a part of my mind to try and get my game in shape for all of them because I just haven't been in them. From now on, yeah, I think I will be.
Q. Would you like to play more in America next year?
IAN POULTER: Possibly. I'm going to try to, I think. I'll probably be doing some practice the last part of this year, and we'll see what invites I can possibly get over here. I'll play a few tournaments and then go back and play in Europe after.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Ian, thank you very much.
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