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May 23, 2017

Ian Poulter

Surrey, England

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Ian, welcome to Wentworth. Cup of tea in hand. Thoughts on returning?

IAN POULTER: It's great to be home. Great to be home. You know, a few weeks ago, I probably wasn't coming, but obviously playing well at THE PLAYERS meant I could talk to The European Tour, and they were kind enough to give me an invitation spot to come back and play golf.

So from a perspective for myself, extremely excited to be here this week. I haven't seen the course as yet; I'll have a look at it tomorrow. But big thanks to The European Tour for holding that spot. And obviously it's going to be a great week, so really, really looking forward to it.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: You said you've not seen the changes, but can you fell the buzz around the tournament? It seems to have increased a bit.

IAN POULTER: Yeah, from everyone that's played the course in the last few weeks; I know Woody played, said it was great, and everyone else that's been around the course, you know, I'm very much looking forward to getting out on the course to have a look, because you know, this tournament deserves a golf course in fantastic condition.

It has been pretty much a Flagship Event for a very long time. It's the home of the Tour. As long as I can remember being a kid, coming around watching Seve and Woosie and Faldo and all the guys, Ollie and everyone play this great golf course, you remember it. Everyone knows Wentworth and it really should be one of the best courses on the rota that we play.

Q. How crucial do you think it was to change the course?
IAN POULTER: It was very crucial. I think, you know, I'm probably not the best person to ask that question to, to be honest with you. ^ my performances around this golf course are not as good as I would have liked them to have been. It's certainly a course -- being a golf fan as a kid and walking around watching the greats play this golf course, it's a tournament where I feel I should have played a lot better. Why I haven't performed as well as I have around this golf course, I'm not really sure.

So I'm absolutely delighted that it's been changed. I think the changes last time, on a number of holes, were too severe. ^ I think obviously that's why the guys have obviously spent a lot of time to try and figure out what's going to make it a great golf course. But I'm personally very pleased that it has been changed, and because of that, I'm extremely excited to go out there and play tomorrow, because I would love to walk out of Wentworth Golf Club and say, I absolutely love it.

Q. Can I ask you, if you've thought anymore about whether you'll do U.S. Open Qualifying?
IAN POULTER: Well, I'm hoping to win this week and then I'm in.

Q. Simple as that.
IAN POULTER: All good things come from winning golf tournaments. So if I play well this week, and I win this week, then it takes care of that.

Open Qualifying is a last resort. Not sure if I'm going to need that resort or -- I still haven't made a decision even if I'm going to go over and try and qualify. But I'd like to take care of that this week. That's the plan.

Q. Just going back on the course, was it more the state of the greens that you didn't particularly like, or was it more the changes Ernie did initially in 2010, changing specifically 18, 17, things like that?
IAN POULTER: I think I've been spoilt through the years of having perfect putting surfaces wherever it is that we go and play golf. And then when you get bumpy greens, you get a little soft, and you start to moan and bitch about missing short putts.

Yeah, the greens were bumpy. I don't think they were as good as what everyone would have liked them to have been. I don't think that's a secret to anybody. You could play an average golf course with perfect greens, and you'll find all the pros turn around and say what a fantastic golf course -- you can have an amazing golf course with terrible greens, and unfortunately you're going to get guys that are going to bitch and moan about how bad the golf course is.

So I think the greens are a huge part of the makeup of a golf course and what people think of it.

Q. And just on your own form, can you just tell us how much of a relief and weight off your shoulders was that performance at THE PLAYERS and what it's done for you going forward?
IAN POULTER: I can't emphasise how big a week it was. You know, from a perspective of a few weeks ago, having to sit down and try and work out some kind of a schedule, which wasn't looking very good, from just a perspective of planning, there wasn't any planning I could really do.

So the change of playing well at THE PLAYERS, to take care of obviously my playing rights over there, to take care of a big move in the World Ranking position, to enable me to travel back across the pond to play this week, to be able to play a string of events in Europe this summer, was something I really, really wanted to do. And obviously a few weeks ago, I couldn't -- I couldn't commit to that.

Now I'm in a position to do so. So from a mind-set perspective, I'm in a really good frame of mind. And when you're in a good frame of mind, generally good things happen.

Q. What is the schedule?
IAN POULTER: Okay. Well, there are a few scenarios.

Q. If you win this week, obviously --
IAN POULTER: Obviously I'm in lots of things I'm not quite in. But I made a big jump in the World Rankings. I'm 81 or 82 in the World Rankings. I think I need to be in the Top 60 to get in the U.S. Open. I think I need to be in the Top-50 to get in The Open Championship.

I will play in Memphis, and hoping obviously to make U.S. Open. I will then come back here and I will play -- I don't know exactly of which order I'm going to play them in. I'm not sure if I can play all of them, but there will be a combination of events that I will play out of the French, the Irish, the Scottish and obviously hopefully The Open before heading back across.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Thanks very much. Good luck this week.

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