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April 14, 2018

Ian Poulter

Hilton Head, South Carolina

DOUG MILNE: Thanks for joining us. 4-under, 67 today. Gets you to 13-under, 54-hole lead by a stroke. A lot obviously has been made lately of just how incredible you're playing. 45 holes this week without a bogey and counting. With all that said, just a few thoughts on your position after 54 holes this week.

IAN POULTER: Yeah, I mean not that I'm counting the bogey-free holes, it's just nice to play good golf, continued form from Houston. Kind of mustered up a bit more energy to go again tomorrow. And see if we can have a last bit of plaid to put in the closet.

It's been a long six weeks. I don't normally play six in a row. But the way the schedule panned out, I pushed to get into Augusta, doing that just it was meant to be.

So this is a good golf course. It's a good test. And so far I'm doing a pretty good job.

DOUG MILNE: I don't know why I thought about this, this morning, but a few years ago, your near miss at the Honda Classic, after all was said and done, I asked you what now. You said it's going to be a long ride back to Orlando. I've got to talk to my kids and give them a lesson in humility. How much has that led resolve of years to adopt to all different conditions, the highs and lows, how much has that played a part of getting your game back to where it is now?

IAN POULTER: There's been quite a lot of lows in the last 18 months, to be honest. Not sure whether I got the PGA Tour card. Yeah, it's been tough. So if you ride the waves and you trust yourself and you believe in your ability, then hopefully it's still in there. It is. I'm proving it right now, I'm playing some great golf. I'm enjoying it. And I'm staying patient. You have to go through -- sometimes you have to go through the good, the bad to obviously come back.

DOUG MILNE: You mentioned your dad's here. How much does he get out and watch you play?

IAN POULTER: He doesn't come out an awful lot. So it's nice. Obviously I was sitting in the press conference last week Sunday ago and my phone was sitting right here and it was ringing and ringing and ringing and ringing. He was out in the UK. And I took a moment out of the press conference to say, yes, I'll call you back in a minute. I'm just in a press conference. And obviously he was keen to come out.

He never likes to miss Augusta. And it was obviously good to have him here, as well. He said it's a nice place to walk around, as well. It's a good course, there's a good vibe around this place. It's good to have him out for a couple of weeks.

Q. A lot has been made about that putter that you put back in the bag from Medinah. But that seems like a bit of an oversimplification, or has that led to you playing well throughout the bag?
IAN POULTER: I think my stats have been pretty good for a while. Obviously holing putts at the right time is key to hold rounds together. I needed just something to change on the greens. Obviously going back to something that I couldn't blame, with a putter that you know has done some great things in the past, there's no excuses. So I can't look at a new putter and blame the putter and say it is the putter's fault. It puts the onus on myself. It puts me under pressure to know that I can hole putts with it. And I think players go back and forth through different putters through time. And it's just one of those ones that I've done very well with.

Q. And then any of your guys pay very close attention to what's going on out here even when you're not playing? Did it give you some encouragement to see other guys who are in their 40s, doing so well this year? You had Phil winning. You had Pat Perez winning. He's turned around his whole career in his 40s. Obviously in the last three weeks or so, you've --
IAN POULTER: I really haven't thought about it. It's just a number. I mean I'm 42, and I know I'm getting older, but I feel I still have some good golf left in me. Obviously Phil winning, Pat, and the other guys in their 40s that have been playing well, I just see it as a number. I know I can hold my own against the guys if I play really well. And I need to. Obviously I don't have the distance off the tee what some of the other guys do. But if you pick and choose some of the right courses, this one, especially, distance really isn't that much of a factor this week.

Q. Obviously tomorrow could add to it, but how proud are you of this six week stretch, given what you set out to do and fact that you've done it and in Austin you got the misinformation there, and yet you came back and continued. Is this as proud a stretch of golf as you've had?
IAN POULTER: I'm surprised I'm still awake, to be honest. Six weeks in a row. Normally after three I'm begging for a week off. There's a lot happened in six weeks. Game changing, schedule changing, obviously World Ranking changing. Being in a position -- I feel energized because of the good golf. Normally after six weeks I'm really struggling. So to play good, to get the win, to take the pressure off, to be able to reassess things, really kind of plan the rest of this season, even the start of next season, is a position I really haven't been in for the last couple of years and it's been difficult. I've always kind of been in a good position for a long time. And it's been nice to plan schedules, work out where you're playing, what you're doing, with the family going. So to have that kind of fresh in my mind, knowing I know where they're going, knowing where I'm going to go, it kind of fills the tank up full of fuel again. I feel pretty good.

Q. Obviously the last three days here have been a dream almost, it's been so mild out there. Tomorrow things are supposed to change. You guys have to get up a little earlier. How does that play into how you handle holding the lead, knowing you've got the lead going into the final round and what you have to do tomorrow?
IAN POULTER: It means I'm going to bed early tonight, is what that means. So as soon as I get out of here I'm going to have some dinner. I'm going to get to bed very early. I'll be waking up early. I sleep great. I'll be honest with you. My family is asleep. My dad said I've never had so much sleep before. I've been shutting it down early every night this week. We've been having dinners. We've been going to bed early to try to get some recovery time in.

It's quite nice to go out tomorrow morning and tee off early, knowing the storm is coming, trying to get it done. There's nothing worse than having to come off the course and rain delays and all that sort of stuff. It's going to be a slow round tomorrow. So I think that's the only frustrating bit about tomorrow. Obviously we might get some drizzle, some rain throughout the morning. Hopefully we get it done obviously before the end of the day.

Q. Do you recall exactly what led you putting that putter away, that Medinah putter away? Did you dabble with putting it back in your bag prior to when you just did?
IAN POULTER: I put it away because it went cold. And then I used another putter which done extremely well, which I won a couple of tournaments with. And that putter was the putter -- not that one, but the one that I switched to was another putter that I had a lot of success with but that was going cold.

So it's an excuse for us to either grab a fresh new putter, which after sitting on the putting greens Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I don't often like to do that, or grab something that you know has a pretty good track record.

So that one -- we know what's that done in the past. I know what it's done and know how I feel. So it's not all about the putter, obviously, it's the guy holding it at the end of the day, as well. But if the change is good enough to get you feeling right, then it's fun. You just need to feel good over the ball and that's it. But that doesn't really matter what it looks like.

DOUG MILNE: Good luck tomorrow.

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