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November 22, 2007

Ian Poulter

Justin Rose


GORDON SIMPSON: Well, not for the first time today, we're talking about a 9-under par score of 63. And Ian, we'll maybe start with you, we talk about the OMEGA double-eagle watch, and you were a double-eagle man today, and that probably helped your score dramatically.
IAN POULTER: The eagle was kind of nice timing. We were under par at the time and a bit of a slow start just managed to hit lob-wedge from 57 yards and took a couple of bounces and tucked itself away nicely. That was a great boost going into the back nine.
And then I had another eagle on 11, 5-iron to perhaps three feet, and that just kept us going. Really, it was nice. Good timing.
GORDON SIMPSON: And Justin, what did you make of the day? Obviously we say that's where you make the score just around the turn.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, to be honest with you, the par 5s is where we made our score and built our score and really salvaged the day today.
I think we both played steadily. We didn't make too many birdies or too many putts, it didn't feel like, but made the key putts, which I guess is why we obviously ended up with tied for the lead, well, obviously so far.
Yeah, we didn't make any mistakes, didn't make any bogeys, which is obviously what kills you out there. Obviously Ian's two eagles really boosted us during times in the round where we were maybe a tiny bit -- or just stalling a little bit.

Q. I actually have a football question. You're dressed in the flags of St. George?
IAN POULTER: Next (question).

Q. Did you stay up last night to watch the match? Your reaction to England.
JUSTIN ROSE: I woke up about 5:00, checked the time, thought just have a quick turn on the TV, okay; do you mind if I put the TV on for a second. Saw it was 2-nil, back down, turned the TV straight back off and that's the honest truth.
IAN POULTER: Yeah, a little bit disappointing when you wake up in the morning in anticipation to get the laptop on and find out, yeah. So hopefully we can make justice and put things right by the end this week.

Q. Didn't dissuade from you dressing in the red and white.
IAN POULTER: I definitely wasn't going to wear all black, that's for sure.
GORDON SIMPSON: It's good to know that England has a chance at winning the World Cup at this event, anyway. Sorry. Let's move on.

Q. Who decided the colour coordination today? Is that how you're going to wear the next three days?
JUSTIN ROSE: What do you reckon?
IAN POULTER: It was a complete coincidence. (Speaking in innocent tone of voice)

Q. How about the next three days?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well, yeah, I think it's a team event, and so obviously a bit of fun. Yeah, we'll be sort of similar thing, not identical, but, you know, along the same lines and probably a little dash of red here and there.
GORDON SIMPSON: Monty reckons that the Friday and Sunday rounds are the ones that will decide what wins this, because every shot is critical. Is that how you see it, as well?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think after today, well, we knew that there was going to be a bunched leaderboards today. That's just the nature of the four-ball.
Especially on this golf course, actually there's some testing tee shots out there. And I think in foursomes, that could certainly be -- there's very little pressure on you playing in the four-ball/better-ball, because chances are, you know, one of you is going to hit a decent shot and you're always going to be in the hole.
But foursomes, the pressure is really on every shot, so I agree with that.

Q. And what do you think of the course, is it quite easy? A lot of birdies today.
IAN POULTER: Yeah, in that format, you're going to have guys making lots of birdies. The par 5s are all on, they are all reachable. You would like to -- there's five par 5s. You'd like to play them 5-under par at least for the day. We took advantage of that certainly today.
And there's two chances on every hole, and tomorrow will be a different test. The scoring, as Justin said, there's a lot of tricky tee shots out there on the golf shots. There's a lot of elevation, as well, and it would be very easy to get out of position very quickly.
You know, you're going to have to focus very hard, certainly, in foursomes to shoot a decent score. So I mean, four-ball is no surprise to see 7-, 8-, 9-under par, but foursomes will be very different.

Q. When is the last time you played together competitively?
JUSTIN ROSE: That's a good question, isn't it. Woburn?
IAN POULTER: (Thinking)
GORDON SIMPSON: The silent suggests.
IAN POULTER: (Turning to Justin) Would have been Woburn.

Q. Do you see differences in each other's games? I know you play together obviously socially, but did you see anything?
JUSTIN ROSE: I think massively. I think both of us have come a long, long way since then. I think back then -- don't know how to describe it, but probably both a bit more sort of rough around the edges with our golf games.
And now, that's just the nature of being a pro for five or six or more years. I think a lot more experience, and you can see -- yeah, you can just see that in one another. Just breathing; you can see there's certainly key shots, maybe take an extra breath or extra bit of time or whatever it might be. Whereas, in the past, him and myself may have just stood up there, and I don't know, gave it a lash and kind of thought about the consequences afterwards.
But just a little bit more calculated with everything now, and that's just part of experience as a pro.

Q. Do you feel that?
IAN POULTER: I totally agree. Back then there was a lot more loose shots. You know, we probably made a lot more bogeys back then than we would do now. There's a lot more experience, and you know, it certainly shows on the golf course. I mean, you know, Justin played solid, and that's always nice to have a partner that is playing solid, and that would have been the difference back then.
I don't think -- I don't know how many cuts you've missed this year, if any, probably nothing.
IAN POULTER: And back then, he probably would have missed a handful and I certainly would have missed a few. (Laughter) You can see that I think both games have sharpened up a little bit.

Q. How many rounds do you think you've played in your pro career with two eagles?
IAN POULTER: You can definitely count them on one hand. Not very many. I mean, it's nice to make one, and it's an absolute -- yeah, it's a huge bonus to make two. Yeah, there's not very many.

Q. Justin, which are those holes that have particularly difficult drives that you referred to earlier on?
JUSTIN ROSE: 18; 11, the par 5, big elevation over the trees. And then I think there's a lot of holes where a loose shot, you will be in trouble. You know, if you hit one 20 yards off-line -- well, 20 yards or 15 yards off the fairway, you know, it's reload. You've got the bushes and you're not going to find your golf ball.
So I think that's the key around there. There were a couple of those shots in our group today, the occasional ball that went in the trees, and in foursomes, that's a reload.
So you know, that's what I meant; one loose shot, you're looking at double tomorrow.

Q. Were you both able to go for them or can you talk us through that strategy?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, 11 is a tricky tee shot, but you know, we both hit the fairway. Both were going for the green in two. Justin went up by the edge of the green and I actually hit a poor 3-wood, which was actually perfect.
JUSTIN ROSE: 11, you stiffed it.
IAN POULTER: Sorry, just backtrack a little bit.
Yeah, second eagle, Justin went first actually on that hole. I managed to hit -- he hit 5-iron to about 15 feet with just off the edge of the green, and, you know, Justin is always going to make four there. And I just hit 5-iron straight at the flag and it was perfect.

Q. Before the round, you had a little prediction who might be the favourite for this tournament. After today, now you have about seven, eight, nine teams are 9- or 10-under already. Are you quite happy that you're going into tomorrow; are you going to play more aggressive or are you taking the same three teams as a favourite the rest of the week?
IAN POULTER: I don't think in foursomes you can be more aggressive. You know, I think we all know that Friday and Sunday will certainly sort the 9- and 10-under par guys from today. It's just key in foursomes to have a solid day.
It was always going to be a lot of players pretty much tied for the lead today. Before we teed off, you could already pretty much guess there was going to be ten teams sitting at 9- or 10-under par. So that's no surprise, and I think we're both very happy to be in the position we're in. 9-under par, it was a good score.

Q. Any prediction, the top three teams for the rest of the week?
IAN POULTER: It's Thursday. There's an awful lot of golf to be played until then to make a prediction.
JUSTIN ROSE: You're always going to back yourself. That's why you're here. Obviously South Africa are off to a good start, I don't think that surprised me. I think the USA is maybe the one team I didn't maybe pick the other day, which obviously they are good players, Heath and Boo; they are very solid players. I don't think they are going to make many mistakes, and they got off to a good start and they will be into it.
GORDON SIMPSON: Thanks very much, guys.

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