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August 14, 2019

Ian Poulter

Carmel, Indiana

JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Ian Poulter into the interview room here at the BMW Championship. Ian enters the week No. 43 in the FedExCup standings, needing a little bit of a jump this week. What better place to do it for you than Medinah? Just comment on being back here.

IAN POULTER: Yeah, it was quite nice yesterday when I pulled up and sat down to register and looked behind the desk that I was signing and obviously there's a shrine of memorabilia there from all the events that have been at Medinah in the past, and some nice pictures and some nice memories of 2012.

Today is going to be my first look at playing the course, providing the storm dissipates a little bit and we get the opportunity to play some holes. But I mean, super excited to be here. Just walking in the locker room, remembering the sing-song, the chants, the hug with Ollie, where my locker was, and really kind of -- the memories start flooding back on what was an incredible week.

Q. Which picture caught your eye the most?
IAN POULTER: Well, the first picture you see as you go through the door to the locker room is me laying down on the green praying that Rory was going to hole that putt from the fringe on 18 so I didn't have to hole mine. But I'm there laying on the ground with my hat up trying to help read his putt.

Q. He missed?
IAN POULTER: He missed.

Q. I had asked you about the car and you had bought the trooper car that had taken Rory to the golf course in 2012. Do you still have the car?
IAN POULTER: It resides at my house. I was told by -- I was told by Courtney Wilson from Golf Channel that they'd acquired it in an auction, which was a few years back, and I think it was six months after Medinah happened, so I said, I'd love to have a piece of that.

The interior got an overhaul. It's got Rory's signature etched into the seats and an engraving of the Ryder Cup. I think the long-term picture for the car is to get a full paint job and etch all around the entire car the history of the Ryder Cup and then allow it to be used for charity events so people can see the car, take it out for a drive and do whatever at events. So that's the picture for the car.

Q. Just to clarify, it's a Ford sedan; what's the model? Don't know?
IAN POULTER: I don't know. I'm not really --

Q. I wanted to clarify.
IAN POULTER: The most important thing is it got him here in time, otherwise the car wasn't worth the money it was paid for.

Q. How much was it?
IAN POULTER: I think it was about 7,000 bucks. A lot cheaper than normal. More expensive than my first car, though.

Q. What do you remember about your Saturday afternoon match, because everyone thought the comeback really started by you keeping the distance from getting too big on Saturday afternoon so that on Sunday you had a chance.
IAN POULTER: I'm teeing off in an hour and 57 minutes. I don't think I can quite go into all of it, and I'm not going to bore you with it too much, either. But really right from the 13th, right from when Rory hit 3-iron to about 18 feet, every minute from there, every second of what happened, what was said, the fact of Michael Jordan sitting at the back of the tee box to Rory holing his putt at 13, my four-foot birdie putt on 14, Rory hitting it in the back bunker -- I can go through all of the shots, yardages, clubs, wind, Ollie's chat on the 17th tee box when he told me that someone else had had a very similar putt to the 10-footer I was facing back down the green, and it broke right to left. The process of me trying to suck that information in, thinking was he on the same line, should I listen to Ollie, do I take my read over Ollie telling me what actually happened to the putt, did whoever struck that putt pull it or push it. So all from every little detail of that to obviously holing that putt there on 18 and the celebrations from the whole team, still with a four-point deficit.

Q. The TOUR has opened the door to potentially changing the slow-play policy and amending how they assess fines or penalties. I wanted to get your thoughts on that.
IAN POULTER: Awesome. Great news. I mean, you know, I think in Europe there's been, for a couple of years, they implemented a slightly different process. Groups are told they are being monitored, and with that in mind, your obligation is to hit a shot in a certain amount of time. So if that's a similar situation over here, great. If we can help move things along -- I mean, the window of opportunity to shorten rounds of golf is not very much, but I think every bit we do, every minute to shorten those rounds is a good thing.

I think we're hearing it from fan perspective, that they're frustrated. I think we're hearing it from players' perspective, we're hearing it from everywhere that it's an issue. So if we can address that issue, if we can take five minutes or 10 minutes off of what, a four-hour, 50-minute round of golf is, that's a good thing. However they implement that and whatever the penalties are for people that breach that rule, then something needs to be put in place to try and help the situation we've got.

The 50-second and 40-second allotted time we have right now isn't monitored enough I think is the honest bit. People need to take ownership of they need to be ready to play when it's their turn to play, and I fall out of it sometimes and so do many other players, that you might be daydreaming for 10 or 15 seconds when it's your turn to play, you haven't got your yardage, you're not ready to go, and that in and of itself leads up to playing too slowly on the golf course. Players need to be aware that we need to be ready to go when it's go time, we need to hit our shot within that time period, and I think if that happens, it won't be a problem.

Q. Ian, when you were walking off the course in 2009 at Cog Hill, you came within half a point of making East Lake --
IAN POULTER: Thanks for reminding me, it was .02 of a point, but not that I remember very well, as I was sitting on the plane tied 30th, delighted to go to East Lake and then being told the plane is going somewhere else, so great, yeah. I remember it. It's only been 10 years. (Laughter).

Q. I was just curious, did you think at that point that, oh, well, I'll be there again at some other point in the future?
IAN POULTER: No, I thought it would take 10 years, to be honest. My overall life goal is to make the TOUR Championship, and here we are 10 years later.

No, I mean, it's one of those things. If you don't play great in the Playoffs, you're going to go backwards. I don't think I've played great in the Playoffs, and therefore I've gone backwards. It's a simple process. It hasn't bothered me. It means I've had an extra week off. So I don't mind those extra weeks off. I play a big enough schedule during the year, I play two Tours, and I'm busy. It hasn't really bothered me. And that's the honest answer to that.

I know I haven't made it, and I know I'd like to get there because apparently the course is one that should suit my game. So I'm 43, I'm in the same position I probably was at Cog Hill where I need to do some work to make it there, and this is hopefully a good venue for me to obviously make my first appearance if I play well enough at East Lake.

Q. Does it surprise you that you haven't gotten there since, given everything else that you've accomplished?
IAN POULTER: Does it surprise you?

Q. Yeah.
IAN POULTER: Yeah, it surprises me, too. It's not easy -- if you break it down and look at it, I don't play 27 events on the PGA TOUR. So I'm always up against it when you want to go and play against Charles Howell and the guys that play 26, 27, 28 events on the PGA TOUR. I have two Tour cards. I respect my European Tour card, and I play my fair share in Europe, and I always have done, and I always will do.

But that sacrifice is at a big expense. So that sacrifice is a financial sacrifice, one that I've looked upon, and I know other players choose to play more events on the PGA TOUR, and it's just one that I always play a minimal schedule on the PGA TOUR. And because of that, it's hard to compete against the guys that play very, very well week in, week out when they play 27 events. I'm playing 17, 18, 19. So I'm losing ground, and that's not easy when you're talking 30 players to make it into that final event.

I know it. Would it be better if I played 27 events here? Yes. Would that be a good thing for the European Tour? No. So I get it. I've sacrificed money, but money is not everything.

Q. Have you ever watched it on TV, the TOUR Championship?

Q. Do you know what East Lake looks like?

Q. Don't tell me '63 Ryder Cup highlights, either.
IAN POULTER: Was there one there?

Q. Yeah.
IAN POULTER: I remember Bill Haas hitting a shot from the water hazard I think left of 18. Apart from that -- was that the 18th?

Q. 17th.
IAN POULTER: Okay, so there you go. No, when I'm not playing golf, I generally don't choose to sit down and waste that time watching when I can be with my kids.

Q. I want to ask you a pace question in a very broad sense. You've had a number of big shots in your career, whether it's Houston or Birkdale or whatever. Surely you're taking a lot of time over something that important. How do you draw a distinction between taking a proper time and recognizing what it means, or the moment? Should there be some allowances for the moment, 18th in a major?
IAN POULTER: I think there's common sense. And generally I think common sense prevails, and when you're looking at a situation, if you've got an exceptionally difficult shot, it's blind from a perspective if there's a mound in the way and you have to go and assess your line a couple of times to find the right line, if it's a very awkward lie and you're assessing, do you get the wind switch, is there an issue -- there are many factors, I think, that play a part in that. But I think the referees generally understand situations, and yeah, there will be times where they use common sense if you've taken 55 seconds or 62 seconds when you're in a situation.

If you get into the scenario of abusing that common sense, then there's an issue. There's an issue for your playing partners, that why should you be penalized really for someone else taking too long. It's disrespectful.

Q. Have you ever been put off by slow play where it affected your score?
IAN POULTER: Absolutely. It's frustrating. I won't give you the scenario because it'll tell you whom it may be, but yeah, there's several instances where the stop clock has been abused in that fact to the other player's detriment, and the other player doesn't have a care that they've taken too long, which is disrespectful to your playing partners more than anything else, and the fans are going to think what they think, but it's a shame. It needs to be addressed.

I think certain players need to have a look at those situations, and if you take a couple of penalties during the year, then that's on them. I was told many years ago by John Paramor, 17 years ago, the way I read my putts was a process that was taking too long. So I worked with John Paramor on-site on another green, on a practice green, for him to show me how long that process was taking because I was on the clock and I fell foul to the 50 seconds and the 40 seconds and it was taking me 62 seconds and 58 seconds and 75 seconds.

You know, we went away and we addressed that situation. I found another way of going through my process that I have, and the reasons why the referees have what they have in place to start the stop clock. So I changed that routine 17 years ago, and I don't believe I've really had many issues since.

It's something that can be worked on. You need to own up and take responsibility of addressing your routine and making sure you stay within the respectful time that you're given to hit the putt.

Q. Padraig will be here in just over a month to look over Whistling Straits. What traits or characteristics does he have that might make him a good captain for you guys in '20?
IAN POULTER: Well, I mean, he's methodical. He's a hard-working, great player. Major champion. He knows what it takes to win. He knows what it takes to win big events. He's been there in the Ryder Cup and played so many. He's been there as a vice captain. He knows every part of what he's going to need for the team to go out and be successful.

You know, he's a very worthy captain, someone that's going to take it extremely seriously, and he will do everything in his power to make sure the players are ready to go.

JOHN BUSH: Ian, thank you for your time. Best of luck this week.

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