|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
February 22, 2017
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
DOUG MILNE: . Ian Poulter, thanks for joining us for a few minutes, making your sixth start, I believe, here at The Honda Classic. Third place finish in 2015.
With that said, just a few comments on how you're feeling as you're about to start the week here in 2017.
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I feel good. Obviously had a start over in The European Tour, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Took a week off in between those events. Stayed in Dubai, practiced, and felt pretty good going into Sunday. Got myself in the last group. Didn't perform probably how I would have liked to have performed. But my game is in shape. I've had two weeks off. So I feel pretty good.
DOUG MILNE: You mentioned a big stretch coming up. Would you just touch on what you have coming up?
IAN POULTER: I have about six events left on my medical exemption. So I'll be playing Tampa, play Bay Hill, probably go over to Puerto Rico. I'm not sure what I'm playing after that.
So I've got a little run of events right now where obviously I need to make a push and lock things up and then continue the back half of this year as we have done in the past.
Q. Dufner was saying earlier in the year, I think he had a shoulder injury a couple years ago, that whatever time you're out with the injury, it's actually much longer in terms of getting back to where you were. Have you found that to be the case?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I think it's taken awhile. I took 5 1/2 months off before coming back, and then I only played a few, took obviously Christmas off. Feels like the 5 1/2 months feels longer than that because it was only a couple of spells of tournaments.
I feel my game's -- I feel my game's as good as it was previous to taking time off for the injury, and I felt my game at the time was actually pretty good, as well.
I was runner-up; I got myself in position at Puerto Rico last year, and I had spells of good tournaments. And I would just -- I'm pain-free. I'm not taking as many pills as I was, and you know, I feel like I'm about ready to play had some good golf.
But it takes time. I mean, you can't just take 5 1/2 months off and come straight back in and expect to be in position.
Q. Following up on the same question a little bit. Is coming back like that, is the main problem the pain, or recovering from the injury, or is it that you haven't been playing?
IAN POULTER: I think it's probably rusty. I think it's rustiness. I think 5 1/2 months off was -- it was nice many in some respects to take a big chunk of time off. But not hitting a ball for at least three months, was difficult.
It just takes awhile to get back in. I didn't feel comfortable on the golf course the first couple of weeks back out, and there's still certain shots that I've been hitting, which are -- which have crept in just because I haven't played a lot of tournament golf. And that's difficult. We are trying to iron them out. But they take time. And trying to get a good stretch of events right now to shake all of those out, should be a good thing.
Q. Dustin said he would open up the World Ranking probably for the first time in his life to see that his name was next to No. 1. When you're in your position, and you get the World Ranking, do you even bother? Is it hard to look?
IAN POULTER: Not anymore. I used to do it every week. I used to have a look.
Q. Do they still text it to you?
IAN POULTER: No. I've never had it text, ever. I always used to look.
Q. When did you stop?
IAN POULTER: I stopped -- I think I stopped last year or year before last when I dropped to 51 in the World Rankings, and I fell out of the HSBC, and I had to jump on a plane and leave my kids at home while I was looking after them for the week.
Yeah, fly halfway around the world, and leave my kids to play an event because I was going to fall afoul of my numbers, and yeah, so that was it for me. I stopped looking at the rankings then.
Q. If you knew you were going to 51 in a couple weeks, would you open up and look now?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I think it might be quite nice to go from 200 to 51 (laughter). I would obviously have done something pretty special to make that kind of a leap.
So I haven't even calculated where a win would move me to. I know it would be back inside the top hundred but I just don't know how far. Yeah, I'd have a look.
Q. Does that motivate you?
IAN POULTER: I've stop looking, just because it's not a very nice number to look at. It was good when it was No. 5. It was great. I used to look at it all the time (laughter) but 200 doesn't sound very good, does it.
So I stopped. You have to scroll down a bit. It's really annoying when you click on the page and it's like 1 to 50, 50 to 100,100 to 150. I hate going four pages down. It's miserable.
Q. You mentioned that when you were No. 5, the question is: Did you feel at the time that you were the No. 5 player in the world, and vice versa, do you now feel like you're the 200th player in the world?
IAN POULTER: I don't know if I ever felt like I was No. 5. Rankings are rankings, I guess, and you know, people -- some people like the World Rankings and some people dislike them.
The rankings don't lie. They are there for a reason. You know, your two-year accumulative points has you in the position that you are. So I'm not sure -- I'm not sure you can answer, did I feel like the fifth-best player in the world. I'm not sure I can answer whether I feel like I'm actually the 200th-plus best player in the world.
It's difficult. I think, obviously, being five at one stage and being 200 is not a nice position to be in. But I feel I can make the jump back up. It's going to take a little bit of time and some good play, but you can do it. Look at the guys that play consistently well over a period of time: You know, DJ has moved himself to No. 1 with consistent golf, and other players have done exactly the same thing.
Q. Two years ago, you had a great chance to win this tournament and then of course, we all remember the troubles you had on that Monday. When all that happens, and you come back to it, do you approach the course differently? Do you look at it differently? Do you play shots that maybe you didn't play before?
IAN POULTER: Well, I wouldn't aim 70 yards left on the fifth hole and try and shank it in the middle of the green, no. (Laughter).
You know, when you stand on those holes, obviously it's hard not to know what happened, because it did. So I guess -- I like the golf course. There are a couple of holes on the course which were pretty nasty that Monday, and I'd like to forget about them. Thanks for bringing them up.
But you know, I like the golf course. I like how it suits my game. I like how it suits my eye. I've had a shank every -- the first -- I had one today (laughter) but I had one in Dubai and I had one in Abu Dhabi. So I'm sure there play be one creep out this week somewhere, but hopefully it's not on a hole where there's a little hazard to the right-hand side.
Q. Do you have any changes coming back?
IAN POULTER: Do I have any changes?
IAN POULTER: What have I changed? I've put a putter in the bag which I used in 2010. Pretty good use. I used it in The Ryder Cup and I think I used it in the WGC. It was in the bag for awhile.
I was organizing my office while I had a bit of time off and I picked it out of the bag, put it down. It looked pretty good. Took it on the putting green and it's back in the bag. So hopefully that's a good -- hopefully that's a good switch.
Q. During the time that you were down, you've just mentioned the rankings obviously. How helpless of a feeling is that? Is there a feeling like things are passing you by as you see all these young guys winning? Describe that feeling.
IAN POULTER: It pretty miserable, when you've got 5 1/2 months out and you can't compete, you can't do anything, and you're kind of paralyzed in a way from working how you've normally worked for 20 years. You know, that's the longest time I've ever taken off between hitting balls. Three months off was a very long time.
Q. Do doubts creep in at all, about, when I get back, am I going to be able to pick up what I was doing before?
IAN POULTER: I'd be lying if I said no. So, yeah, there's always doubts in there. You never know how you're going to come back and play. The injury wasn't severe enough where it was an operation and there was question marks.
I felt like with practice and a bit of time, I'd be able to get it back. And we'll have to wait and see. It's that time where I need to step it up.
Q. You had a lot of ties with Arnold with MasterCard, two of your kids born in the hospital?
IAN POULTER: Yes, Lily and Josh.
Q. And the tournament, living there in town. Any part of you concerned about what might happen with that tournament going forward as far as star power and him not being around to sort of ride shotgun over the whole enterprise?
IAN POULTER: I'm not concerned about it. I think the players will certainly embrace it this year, and they should. It's obviously going to be an emotional week. But I think not just for the family, but for the players, for the fans, and for you guys; I mean, he's been there through so many, and we really should celebrate that week how he would want us to.
I think the tournament's going to be in good shape. I think it's going to have a very strong field, and you know, the prize money I think has been boosted this year. I'm not sure what it's been boosted to --
Q. Two more million plus, I believe it is.
IAN POULTER: Not that that's going to be a big factor. We play for enough week-in, week-out. But even with that, three-year exemption, I think it's going to be; that also helps, as well. It's going to have the same power as a WGC event. So I think the event's going to be a strong field.
Q. Do you have a personal story, memory, you shared with him that kind of sticks with you?
IAN POULTER: Well, there's so many. Being a fan, being a golf fan as a boy, and obviously growing up and getting to know Arnie, one, through MasterCard. And b, obviously playing the event so many times. I popped in the office and I had a chat with Arnie and he was at his desk.
You know, everybody in this room has probably spent some time with Arnie, and he's got time for everybody. And that was the bit that really amazed me, whether it was another player or a press or whether it be a fan. He always took a little bit of time out in his day to give his time to those people, and what he's done for the community with the Winnie Palmer Hospital is amazing.
Q. Any note, anything he's ever sent you?
IAN POULTER: I've got a wonderful picture. Well, he signed $100 bill which my wife actually spent one time; I had to get another one done (laughter). It was in the safe. She didn't realize it was actually signed by Arnie, so it's out there somewhere. But I had to go to the office to get another one done, because there's a lovely picture of Jack and Arnie, I don't know who is paying who, but there's a black and white photograph of them swapping some notes. So I took the two $100 bills, one from Jack, one from Arnie, and I put it in a frame. So that's sitting in my room.
Q. When you cleaned out your office, did you find anything else that sort of brought a smile to your face?
IAN POULTER: Lots. Score reports, all sorts of weird, wonderful stuff. I'm a hoarder. Yes, I collect lots of stuff. But it's organized. It's not a mess.
Q. On the other side of the coin, was there something you found that you probably thought you didn't have, something that may have gone missing?
IAN POULTER: Not really. I kind of knew it was all there.
Q. How does a guy who is known for your putting prowess ever leave putters in the first place?
IAN POULTER: It's a funny question, because Terry asked the same thing, when I called him and said, "Listen, I'm going to putt the Rife back in the bag."
He's like, "Really? You've been away from it so long."
But through -- we was trying to work that out on the putting green the other day. Because through time, I've used probably seven or eight putters in a 17-, 18-year span. You know, why do they go cold? I don't know. I mean, I really have no idea.
The putter I used at Medinah, the Odyssey No. 7, there's no reason why you should take that out of the bag, but it obviously come out for a reason, because I felt it had gone cold.
And now, reverting back to one that I've used seven years ago, and I find myself in the last group in Dubai, putting exceptionally well on the first three days, and it's like, why did this putter ever come out of the bag. I don't know. Players do that.
Q. Has a golfer ever went cold and not the putter?
IAN POULTER: Well, it's obviously us, isn't it, but we have to blame somebody, and you might as well blame your putter. Because there's enough on the putting green on a Wednesday that you can go and pick up and try and like. There's a reason why those putting greens are full of about 300 putters on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.
Q. What did your wife spend that hundred dollars on?
IAN POULTER: I have no idea. Not a clue. It was probably in Publix to be honest. She probably went to get some groceries. But it was shock horror when I actually did go in there to put it in the frame. You can imagine what I said: "Where has the $10 bill gone?"
"What hundred?" So I go in there, and it's not in there. She says, "I don't know. I must have spent it."
Q. What did Arnie say when you had to go back?
IAN POULTER: I phoned up and I said, "I'm really sorry, but is there any chance I could pop in and get Arnie to sign another hundred."
"Of course. Of course, Ian." Drove to his office and he signed another hundred.
Q. Did you tell him that it was spent at a Publix?
IAN POULTER: No, I didn't actually. I did tell him it was lost. But I didn't sell it.
DOUG MILNE: Ian, we always appreciate your time and best of luck this week.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports