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May 30, 2018

Ian Poulter

Brescia, Italy

BRIONY CARLYON: Delighted to be here with Ian Poulter this week at The Italian Open. It's certainly a place with happy memories for you, and your first victory on The European Tour. Can you give us a sense of what it's like coming back to Italy.

IAN POULTER: Well, it's fantastic. Obviously my first victory many years ago now when I look back, 19 years ago, was one which kind of got it all started for me.

I've always enjoyed playing in Italy. I won it two years later, 2002, in Rome. It was then after that where I kind of went over to America to play some more golf. So for me, it's been quite a lot of time between 2004 and today, since last playing in Italy. I'm very much looking forward to this week.

BRIONY CARLYON: The Italian Open has come back to Gardagolf this week. It's been 15 years. Can you give us your thoughts on being around Lake Garda and the beautiful surroundings and your thoughts on the course so far?

IAN POULTER: The course, I don't really remember much about. As I said, it's been a long time. So for me today, to go back out, familiarise myself with the golf course, once I'm on the course, I think I'll remember some of the holes. I'll remember a lot of the shots. But it's been a long time. I've played a lot of golf in between the last time it was -- when I was here.

So you know, I love coming to Italy. As you guys know, I've spent some time in Lake Garda, and one of my passions is obviously cars, and I've had a couple of great days relaxing with a friend of mine. Ferrari gave me a car to drive for this week, so I can't think of a better place to be driving a great car, playing a great golf course, back playing The Italian Open. So I'm very excited about this week.

BRIONY CARLYON: Perhaps, as well, if you can give us a sense of where your game is at. A win this year on the PGA TOUR and you're back inside the Top-50 in the world and trending in that right direction. Can you share with us where you think you're at at the moment?

IAN POULTER: I think my game's in shape. When you look at my statistics and my current form from the start of 2018, I've played very well. Played very consistent.

Obviously getting the win in Houston was a huge boost to make the Masters, to set up this summer's golf, is something which I'm pretty proud that the form that I'm in is now about having a strong summer.

It's about getting myself in position to make The Ryder Cup Team, and you know, really enjoy my family time. The family arrive tomorrow evening in the U.K., and they are going to spend about 11 weeks. So for me, it's great to be able to enjoy some family time, some fantastic weather, and enjoy playing some good golf.

Q. Last time you were here was 15 years ago. If you look 15 years ago to now, how are you different, in which ways? Is there a change?
IAN POULTER: How am I different? I think my hair's a bit shorter. I think I've got a few more wrinkles. I've got plenty of grey. So there's a big difference there.

In terms of my golf game, I think I'm a better golfer today than I was 15 years ago. I'm mentally the same person. I feel fresh. I still feel young. I'm still young at heart. I have a lot to give in golf, and for me, the big difference is I'm definitely stronger in the mind than I was 15 years ago.

Q. You mentioned you've got a Ferrari this week and people are asking which model that is, and probably in the same questions, someone else asking, which is the favourite Ferrari you've got in your collection, and do your golf clubs fit?
IAN POULTER: The car I'm driving this week is a GTC4Lusso. It's a 4-seater so there's plenty of room for a set of golf clubs and luggage.

My favourite car, I probably saw my favourite car in the classica department at Ferrari on Monday, and you know, when I look at the 250 GTO, which is the benchmark of Ferrari through their race time back in the early '60s, it's a car I would never be able to own. It's too expensive. As good of golf as I could ever play, I think it's always going to be one of those dreams.

But one of the favourite cars that I've got in my collection is a 275 GTB/4. It's 51 years old, and it's my pride and joy. I love driving it. It's old-fashioned from the perspective of the old thin, wooden steering wheel. The clock inside, it just ticks when you sit in without the engine running. It's a beautiful car.

Q. Who has been your toughest opponent in match play in your career, Ryder Cup or otherwise?
IAN POULTER: Good question. I would say -- I've had a few incredible matches, so Jim Furyk when I played with Graeme McDowell. Jim is a very tough cookie to play against. Paul Casey, again, someone else who has got a very strong match play record.

Who else would I say? Mr. Woods is pretty good, as well. I played him my first experience of Ryder Cup.

Q. If you were to win one major, which would it be and why?
IAN POULTER: One major, The Open Championship I think if I could only win one. To have my name on the Claret Jug with all of the legends in the game of golf that have won it, multiple times would be incredible. It's not fair to say one, though. I don't need one. I would be delighted if I had one.

Q. About a technical point of view, which is the key for this golf course?
IAN POULTER: The key for this week is being patient. The key is to putt well and to play my normal game.

So from that perspective, it's about enjoying this week and don't really -- don't really look at it as anything else apart from be aggressive, play hard, play strong. Hole some putts and see if we can add a third Italian Open to the list of victories.

Q. Is there something in your golf has in common with Ferrari?
IAN POULTER: There's not much in common with Ferrari to be honest. They are on a different -- they are a brand to themselves.

My tempo is pretty quick; Ferrari are pretty quick. I'm not as attractive as the Ferraris. I guess I've aged pretty well, and just like some of their old classic cars, they have aged pretty well, as well. I guess that's probably the only similarity I would say.

BRIONY CARLYON: Thank you very much, Ian, and all the best for this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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