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January 16, 2019

Ian Poulter

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Q. Before we talk about today's round, let's talk about your journey here. You were in Hawai'i playing on Sunday. It's an awful long way from there to here. What was that trip like?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, it was long. I set off 11:30 Sunday night. The time difference is 14 hours ahead to get to here. Got to LA at 6:30 in the morning, nine hours to wait to get to the Emirates flight from LA, 16 hours later land in Dubai. Landed last night 10 past 8:00, got to the hotel about 10:15 last night and felt pretty tired, went to bed, woke up at 6:00 this morning, and actually felt okay. But the last sort of five holes was a struggle today.

Q. How chuffed are you to get around in 6-under when your body must be all over the shop?
IAN POULTER: Well, I thought it was a case of let's go as low as we can as quick as we can and try and hold on. I don't feel too good now. I feel like I've had a few pints, even though I haven't, and I could do with some sleep.

Q. A win and six top 10s for you last year, obviously a successful Ryder Cup, as well. What are you capable of this year with your confidence where it is or where it must be after that last year?
IAN POULTER: I feel good. I feel great. 43 last week, and I've never felt better, to be honest. So with that mindset and a decent schedule this year, I feel pretty confident we can go out and have some fun, and yeah, exciting things can happen when you feel pretty good on the course.

Q. When you consider the length of journey you've had to get here to Abu Dhabi, that must be pretty pleasing to shoot a 66 today?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I think it was 34 hours door to door, which is a long way. So I woke up at 6:00 this morning, felt relatively fresh, but obviously waking up at 6:00 and knowing you've got a tee-off time at midday is never really good because you know at some stage you're going to tire out. I feel pretty tired now. It's going to catch up with me at some stage. Hopefully it can be Saturday night and I can have a little bit of rest on Sunday and Monday.

Q. Probably preempting the fact you would feel a bit tired towards the end of the round, how nice was it to pick up all those birdies on the front nine?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, it was good. I knew I needed to get off to a decent start. I knew I could feel a bit jaded at some stage during the round. Key today for me was obviously stay hydrated, try and keep food going in, try and keep the energy levels up, so I did that well enough, obviously made a few putts, so it was nice. It was a nice start to the week.

Q. When you think of how you started this tournament last year, that must have also been a big boost for you today knowing you got a good score on the board early on?
IAN POULTER: I have no idea how I got on last year, and I don't want to know.

Q. Okay, I won't tell you.
IAN POULTER: Perfect, thank you.

Q. But it's great to get off to a positive start in a big tournament like this, especially, as you say, when you've had such a long journey?
IAN POULTER: Didn't I win last year? Oh, no, I don't think I did.

Yeah, it's great. It's a big tournament. It's a course I have played well on in the past, so if I can continue that, keep my energy levels up somehow, then I think we'll be okay.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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