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August 5, 2008

Ian Poulter


KELLY ELBIN: Ian Poulter, ladies and gentlemen, at the 90th PGA Championship at Oakland Hills Country Club. This will be Ian's seventh PGA Championship. His best finish was a tie for ninth in 2006 at Medinah country club. Ian, of course, was second at the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale a few weeks ago.
Ian, momentum from Royal Birkdale perhaps going to carry on this week?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I obviously am still pretty high from that. I took a lot of confidence into last week. And I played exceptionally well last week, drove the ball as well pretty much as I've driven it in a good number of years. And it put me in a good position on a lot of holes.
So I'm feeling very confident this week with the golf course the way it's set up, that if you drive it in play this week then you're going to be in position to make a score. So I'm really looking forward to it.
KELLY ELBIN: Ian tied for 16th at Bridgestone last week. Let's open it up for questions, please.

Q. What's your schedule over the next few weeks when you're kind of the bubble guy on the Ryder Cup points list?
IAN POULTER: To be confirmed; if I'm cross-hatching these points things right.

Q. Are you going to play every week or just see how it goes?
IAN POULTER: The schedule will depend on the next four days, or through Sunday. I feel the way I've played, if I play well this week, then it make it's a very easy decision for me to probably stay this side of the pond and try and have two weeks off before the Ryder Cup, i.e., next week and then the week before Ryder Cup. That's what I want to do, that's probably the best decision for me, for my health, for staying fresh is how I want to look towards the end of this week. If I really play well this week, then I'm going to be very fresh for Ryder Cup. And that's how I want to keep it.
If something needs to change by Sunday night, then we might have to look into possibly doing that, but that's not -- that's something which I don't really want to keep talking about this week. This week is a big week and I'm playing good golf. So I don't want to try and get past the next, this next week yet.

Q. Take care of business here?
IAN POULTER: Just try and take care of business this week and then kind of puts me in an easy situation.
KELLY ELBIN: For the record. Ian is 7th on the World Points list for the European Ryder Cup Team.

Q. When you played so well for 69 or 68 holes last week; how disappointing was the finish? What does it come down to?
IAN POULTER: Thankfully, yeah, I mean it was not the finish I wanted. But looking at the list. And under normal circumstances, if you make double-bogey in a big tournament or drop three shots in the last five, normally you move back about 30 spots.
Looking at the scores last week, I probably moved four spots. So it was costly, but it wasn't really, really damaging.
I just hit a poor tee shot off 16; the one place you can't hit it is in the right fairway traps, and you're always going to struggle when it's a 660-odd yard par-5.
So it was unfortunate the ball spun as much as it did into the green, and obviously I didn't get up-and-down, so I made 7. But I played well for the week and I was really happy with the way I drove it. I was tied third in fairways hit, or driving accuracy; and therefore, that is the reason why I'm looking forward to playing this week.

Q. Golfers always talk about happy memories of venues where they have won before; although it was a team event, how significant are the memories of four years ago for you and your European colleagues going into this week?
IAN POULTER: Obviously very happy memories. It's a golf course that I got to know, and I only played two rounds around here four years ago though. Apart from a practice round or two.
But it was nice to go on the practice ground today and it was kind of you could picture the way the stands were, where all the signs were, and that.
So I'm looking forward to getting out on the golf course today. I didn't play yesterday, I didn't practice yesterday; I had a day off. I'm trying to stay fresh for this week and that means I'm going to play nine holes today, nine holes tomorrow, to get used to the golf course, the changes, the new tee boxes.
But it's really about staying fresh when you're playing well and I think that that's the key to this week and obviously those happy memories are here around this golf course, and I'm very, very looking forward to getting out there.

Q. It's been decades since a European has won this event. What is it about the PGA Championship; that it's a difficult tournament, I guess?
IAN POULTER: Sorry, it's a tough tournament. Can't answer the reason why one of us hasn't won it in the last -- how many years did you say? I don't even know.

Q. Decades.
IAN POULTER: There you go. Don't know. Hopefully we can change that this week. It's the same old question arises every single time. I don't know. I've got no answer for that. All I know is that I think that there's a, there's a lot of European guys which have certainly got a big chance of putting it into that question, so I don't know.

Q. Of course we talk about the absence of Tiger Woods; do you view that as a bad thing for golf, or do you view it as a great opportunity for somebody else?
IAN POULTER: You know, we're all sportsmen. I think at the end of the day if you can get, go through your whole career without being injured and without missing golf tournaments then you're very, very very fortunate.
I've missed the odd golf tournament for being injured. That's a shame. And I'm sure a lot of other guys have too.
The fact Tiger Woods isn't here, yeah, I mean it's a shame for probably the spectators. It might mean that I might be one place further up the leaderboard come Sunday, but I don't think it takes anything away from the tournament. It certainly didn't take anything away from The Open Championship. My second might have been third or whatever, I don't know. But it is what it is. Injuries are injuries; and we're sportsmen, we're not robots. I think that you have to view that like that.
Tiger's got an injury which is going to keep him out of the game for ten months. That's unfortunate. But I think it's an opportunity for a lot of people to try and take advantage of the world's No. 1 not being in the golf tournament.

Q. With the four majors, with three WGC's THE PLAYERS Championship, you got a Ryder Cup every other year, do you think golf needs to make a push to get into the Olympic Games and have another international showcase event?
IAN POULTER: Not really. I haven't really looked into the thought of playing in the Olympic Games to be honest. It's never been -- it's never been in the Olympics, so I really haven't paid any attention to it at all at the minute.
Right now I don't have any interest in doing so. But that might change. It might not. I think our schedule on a global basis, is pretty hectic. I think it's very tiresome, and it just adds to another complication in doing your scheduling in the year.
I haven't looked into it too closely to comment too much about it, to be honest.

Q. This is intended as a humorous inquiry. I don't know how much tinkering you do with your 14 clubs from week to week, but as a player when you hear about a guy using, say, two drivers, five wedge, no driver, I think you probably understand who I'm talking about, do the guys in the locker room kind of raise their eyebrows and wonder whether sometimes you can outsmart yourself?
IAN POULTER: You can certainly look into it too deeply, and therefore, change what you know. What I know is for links golf, I'll probably take my 5-wood and my utility out of the bag and replace it with a 2-iron and 3-iron, and that really is about as far as I go with my changing.
A lot of people have a different idea about changing their equipment. I just change two golf clubs, really. But as we know, there's other people out there which like to change four or five. That might be a little bit too much. But if it works for them, great. If two drivers works, great. I haven't come across that situation yet.

Q. What are your thoughts on the greens here? Are they the most difficult aspect of this golf course, and if they are not, what is?
IAN POULTER: I haven't played it yet this week, so from what I can remember yeah, they're very undulating and obviously that week four years ago that was one of the reasons why we were very successful, because we putted very well. And these greens are very, very slopey.
So they are probably one of the biggest defenses out there on the golf course. We're all trying to hit it as close as we possibly can, but on certain areas of these greens, you're going to be needing to leave yourself a 30- or 40-foot putt; and with how slopey they are, it's going to be hard to 2-putt.
So I think you'll see whoever putts best this week, it sounds silly, but whoever putts best this week is probably going to win this golf tournament. It is its biggest defense.

Q. Just going back to the Ryder Cup rankings have you looked at all the permutations and got an idea in your head now what you need to do to close the deal?
IAN POULTER: Obviously the last couple of weeks has put me in a slightly different position than what I was four weeks ago. So, yeah, I understand that I'm 20,000 Euros behind Justin and about 25 World Ranking points out of position on the world list.
There's no point looking at it any more. I understand where I am and I understand that these four days coming up are going to be very important.
So I just need to play well to be honest. It will be what will be, to be honest with you. I can't worry he about it too much. I can't keep thinking about it. Because it will take its toll, and I don't want to keep letting it affect my routine for this week. I just know what I got to do. I can only do what I can do and that is play good golf this week. If I play well, I'll be on the side. If I play solid for the next four tournaments that I'm going to play, if I'm not on the side, I'm sure going to have a chance to be getting a pick. That's what I do know.
So there's just been an awful lot of talk about it and I've just got to get out there and play golf and enjoy myself. And if I do that then I'll be in the side.

Q. Do you have any words of encouragement from Nick Faldo do since The Open Championship?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, of course I have. Yeah, I've spoke to him. And one, I would like to make his side, and I think that he would quite like me to be on his side; as he would like obviously Sergio and Paul and a lot of guys obviously that he would like to be on his side.
But I've just got to enjoy myself over the next four days and see what happens.

Q. What was the text you sent him after The Open Championship?
IAN POULTER: 'How you doing.' (Smiling)

Q. What was it really?
IAN POULTER: No, I've been keeping in contact with Nick. I've been friends with Nick for the last few years. So I've just been keeping in touch, and he's always been very supportive to me over the last year, anyway. So it's between me and Nick.

Q. Do you ring Nick or does he ring you?
IAN POULTER: I text him. No.

Q. You say you're speaking with him?
IAN POULTER: We have contact. I've rung him; he's rung me. So I think at the end of the day, I just want to keep in contact with Nick. I don't want to stay out of the picture and then all of a sudden get thrown into the picture and you find yourself playing catch up.
I'm in a situation where I'm close to making the side. I think I've got a good chance of making it; so therefore, I want to be kept in the picture of what his plans are, what his thoughts are, so it's not a rush job in four or five weeks time.

Q. Is he evasive? He couldn't be having these conversations with everybody, it might be rather difficult.
IAN POULTER: I don't know. But right now obviously I'm close enough to the picture where I think I should be keeping in contact with him. There's four tournaments left that I have to play, and I'm so close to the side now where I think it's the right thing to do to keep in touch with him and speak to him about what potential plans could be. I want to know what's going to happen and what the team could be doing.
So obviously he's not going to speak to people that are way down the list, but he's made it clear that he's going to speak to his team members, his potential team members, which he has kept in contact with.
Who he spoke to I'm not sure or how far down the list he's going, I'm not sure about that. But I certainly have been speaking to him.

Q. Have you been having some good-natured bants with Justin?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, we have been having a bit of fun.

Q. Anything you can share with us?
IAN POULTER: He sent me a nice text the other day saying "oh, you're only 20 short now." So you know, it's been -- yeah, it's been friendly banter. Justin wants to make the side as badly as I do. So he knows what position he's in and he'll be making a push in the next few weeks and making sure his position is solid. So, and I'll be doing the same, so we can have a bit more friendly banter in a few weeks time.

Q. The way this has kind of played out, who has got the tougher job, Paul Azinger who has got to pick four guys out of a list of players who haven't been lighting it up much lately, or Nick who has got to pick two guys out of a list of players who are having pretty good seasons, potentially including you or maybe Justin, or depending upon what happens in the next couple weeks.
IAN POULTER: Right now it's probably looking like Zinger's got some tough decisions to make, obviously. He's got four picks. He's got to do the right thing, and he's got to pick four good players. I'm not saying Nick hasn't got a hard job, Nick's potentially got three or four guys that he would like on the side and he's only got two picks.
But I think Zinger right now is probably got the toughest decision to make. Four picks, that's going to be difficult.

Q. Do you think considering the circumstances that Nick would like to have four picks, as well, and is that something that maybe in the future might be considered for the Euro side, as well?
IAN POULTER: Looking at the list, I think on my side of things, I would like the list to be flipped around the other way, because it means I would already be on the side.
So if it went off of the Order of Merit list first and then it went straight down the World Rankings, I think the Europeans would have the strongest side under the World Rankings list for sure. So the minute, at the minute I don't think it needs to change. I think our system has worked very well over the last few years. The Americans have certainly had to look into their list to see what they can possibly do to improve their performance in Ryder Cup.
So at the minute we don't need to change our list. I would be happier if the list were the other way around right now, but it's not.
KELLY ELBIN: Ian Poulter, thank you very much.
IAN POULTER: Thanks, guys.

End of FastScripts

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