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January 15, 2008

Ian Poulter


SCOTT CROCKETT: Thanks for coming to join us as always, in the balmy conditions in the desert here. It's interesting weather. I don't suppose you've been out there?
IAN POULTER: I did. I practiced earlier on and I went out and played nine holes. I can't sit around doing nothing all day. It was wet and windy. The course is really tough, and so it's going to be a very interesting first week back.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Have you ever seen a desert course in such weather; Dubai, Qatar, here?
IAN POULTER: No, I don't have remember it raining too much in the desert since 2000 since I've played. It's new but the weather forecast is good Thursday through Sunday, so just have to get through the next couple of days and we'll be fine.
SCOTT CROCKETT: The inaugural event in 2006 you were here, but not last year. What's brought you back?
IAN POULTER: I just think it's a nice tournament. It would be nice to get off to a decent start, put some more Ryder Cup points on the board. And I think it's going to be a good week. There's lots of big players playing. There's lots of World Ranking points and that's always very handy, you know, to try to put those points on the board for Ryder Cup.
SCOTT CROCKETT: You mentioned Ryder Cup, the focal point of all European players. It's going to be a big race for that for all of you this year.
IAN POULTER: Yeah, absolutely. Trying to shorten my schedule down so I'm trying to pick the right tournaments to play in with the most World Ranking points. And I want to make that side as much as anybody else does. But missing the last one not by a lot and playing the previous one to that, and yeah, of course I want to make the side.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Thanks for that, Ian, we'll take some questions.

Q. Will you play both tours?
IAN POULTER: I will. I'll do a good balance between the two. I think leading up to Ryder Cup, probably going to fit in, I would think, 14 European Tour events, mixed in with perhaps 17 PGA Tour events.
So a good mix of both to be honest with you. Just trying to balance out the travel schedule and making sure I'm not doing too many trips across the pond because that's going to take its toll.

Q. Did you pack your waterproofs?
IAN POULTER: As wet weather gear, not really much. I'm borrowing my caddie's waterproof now. But I wasn't anticipating it raining as much as it has done.
But as Thursday shows on the weather forecast, it will be good, and hopefully we'll be out putting the waterproofs back in the locker.

Q. Surprising to see so much rain?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, playing in the desert you expect the sun to be shining so it's a little bit of a shock to see so much rain but I think the weather forecast over the next couple of weeks is fine. We'll be fine.

Q. Do you feel extra pressure given the high quality of the field here this week?
IAN POULTER: It's nice, the higher the more higher World Ranking players playing, the better it is to play for obviously, because the points go up, and therefore, there's more to play for. So it's more exciting that way.
You know, I think we'd rather -- yeah, of course, it's not just the top players that are good. There's strength in depth going down through the World Rankings now, and it doesn't have to be one of the top players that wins the golf tournament every week. You see a lot of players, you know, outside the top hundred that have a great week and they play well.
So there are a lot of top players playing, and I think it will make for a good week. I don't think it puts any extra pressure on us. It's good for the tournament to see so many good players playing?

Q. Anything you've been working on?
IAN POULTER: Just been working on staying a little bit more centered over the ball. The ring swing that I looked at over the winter was good, there wasn't much needed to be worked on after Japan, after the World Cup, so I took a nice couple of weeks off and really the swing has followed on from there to be honest.
So I just had a couple of things to work on, stay a little bit more left-sided and stay a little bit more on top of the ball and do just what I have been doing for the whole of last year.

Q. Are you concerned that practicing in such adverse conditions could have an adverse effect on your game?
IAN POULTER: I don't think you played too much into yardages. I think obviously playing today in the wind, you're certainly not going to look at it on Thursday and think what did I hit the other day on the 13th because it will be completely different.
I think it's just getting a feel. A lot of players are coming out this week who have been back in the cold weather and want to practise, so I think that's probably more the point is that there's players that want to get out there and practise and it's just hampered those guys, and it's certainly been destructive probably from that point of view.

Q. Thoughts in general on Abu Dhabi?
IAN POULTER: Great. It's always nice to stay in the Emirates Palace. It's a beautiful hotel. We know this golf course is very, very good, so it was nice to be able to gather and play nine holes this morning and play a golf course which is set up for tournament play, which obviously the six weeks off, I haven't really done that, so it's been nice the last couple of days.

Q. Can you give us an example of a long hole into the wind today?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, 16, 17, 18. 16, dogleg-left, which they have -- I only played two years ago. They put the bunker in on the left-hand side and took the tree out which was needed, but today it was driver, 5-wood.
17 was driver, 5-wood, as well. Those two holes played into off the left and then straight into, and then 18 was the driver, 3-wood with a pitching wedge. Two years ago, 17 -- it was windy two years ago, so 17 was still playing very, very long and we used a forward tee but that was probably playing driver, 5-iron into the wind where obviously the last couple of days of rain, it's made the course very soft. The ball is not rolling anywhere. It's playing all of its yardage.

Q. Will you be watching Arsenal in the Carling Cup semi-final tomorrow night?
IAN POULTER: There's a fair chance. (Laughter).

Q. Will you be asking for an early tee time on Thursday?
No. I've stopped asking for tee off time requests. A couple of years ago that stung me in Ireland, 7.05 time, I was going over to France to watch the Champion's League final, so I won't be asking again.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Score prediction?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, we'll be in.

Q. Is a European Tour victory in your thoughts this year?
IAN POULTER: I play to win. So certainly as I finished off the end of last year, I've been playing very, very well. So I expect to have a nice, solid year this year. If I play 13, 14 events, I'd like to be figuring in a few of those.

Q. Has the Ryder Cup influenced your schedule for this year?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, a little bit and that's probably why I've started over here, as opposed to starting over in America. You know, to play a few early on over here and get off to a nice early start would be great.
And then I can concentrate on balancing the schedule out between the two to make sure I'm obviously fulfilling my membership requirement.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Ian, thanks, as always, for joining us and good luck this week.

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