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August 28, 2008

Ian Poulter


STEWART MOORE: We'd like to welcome Ian Poulter to the interview room here at the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second event on the PGA TOUR's Playoffs for the FedExCup. This week for you, let's just get it out in the Open, maybe a little bit of two tournaments in one; obviously you're trying to stay in the FedExCup and get through the BMW Championship, the TOUR Championship; and Ryder Cup on the horizon, Captain Faldo making some picks. Let's get your thoughts on that to start out with.
IAN POULTER: Yeah, it's been an interesting week, as we all know. My decision to play here this week has been taken in many different ways. This was a personal decision to be here this week, and a decision which really after missing the cut last week didn't personally leave me many other options.
You know, I spent a couple of days thinking about whether I should go back to Gleneagles. At one stage I had changed all six flights to fly back. I then slept on it and then woke up at 4:00 in the morning and took another look, and I really felt like this was my best chance after looking at the schedule for the rest of the year and looking at all the statistics, that really I need to try and play this week so I can, one, play 15 events on the PGA TOUR; two, get into next week, which is very important, to try and get into the TOUR Championship.
Had I have gone home, yes, I would have had a chance to finish in the top four or five and certainly make the Ryder Cup side. And trust me, I wanted to do that. But it would have also meant I would have finished up on 14 tournaments.
Yes, I do understand there are six more tournaments left in the Fall Series, but if you look at my schedule and what I have planned for the second half of the year, you'll understand that it doesn't work, it doesn't fit into the schedule. With that in mind, you know, I couldn't afford to potentially play 14 and end on 14 tournaments. I would be in breach of my membership, and I didn't want to do that.
So I took the view, and a personal view, to be here this week to play. I feel very strongly that the tournaments I have played over the 12-month cycle that I have performed very well in over that 12-month period. Personally I feel that I do have a good chance of a pick.
I truly don't know -- and I can safely say hand on heart, that I have not been given the nod, just to clear that up once and for all, to stop of the of the nonsense that's been in the papers, the nonsense from the players talking. I truly have not been given the nod, and that is hand on heart, swear on my kids' lives, that is the truth.
I'm disgusted that people, players, media have put what they've put, and have, and would, basically think that Nick Faldo would be that unprofessional to have done such a thing a week before a number of different scenarios could have actually happened. I'm amazed that people would think he would have done that. I know he hasn't done that because I know for a fact I haven't been given the nod.
So I just think it's pathetic that people can even eschew or write or think that that's the case. He's a professional. He's been a professional for the last 30 years of his career. He's not going to start changing that now. That, I hope, clears that fact up and underlines it and puts it in a nice box and does whatever it wants to. But that is exactly the truth and nothing but the truth.

Q. I guess I don't have to ask you whether Faldo gave you a spot on the team now, do I?
IAN POULTER: I think I've summed that one up. No, he hasn't, and I'm out here to play as good as I possibly can to make that side.

Q. When I saw you out here Monday, you were hitting balls by yourself. When you said you slept on it, what day exactly did --
IAN POULTER: I slept Friday and Saturday night on it. I made a decision Sunday after changing my flights for the second time on Sunday morning to cancel those flights to stay here and come here to prepare.
You know, again, to reiterate, do you honestly think I'd be here on a Sunday afternoon when the tournament doesn't start until Friday preparing for a tournament when I could have gone back to Orlando and had a couple of days off? No. I was here Sunday afternoon for a reason, because I wanted to practice and get my game in shape to play well this week because I haven't been given the nod, and I want to play well this week because I want to move up in the World Rankings, and I also want to play next week, as well, because there's big World Rankings points to play for, as well, and to give me a chance to get in the TOUR Championship.

Q. Just to clarify something, when did you last speak to Nick?
IAN POULTER: When did I?

Q. Yeah.
IAN POULTER: That would have been after my decision to stay here. I told him basically that my decision is to stay here and play, and I got the best answer I could have possibly got off of a captain. "You have to do what's right for you." And I respect that. That's the most respectful thing I could have possibly wanted to hear from a captain.
It would have been very difficult if I would have been heavily persuaded one way or the other, and that's not what I got. He respected the fact that I'm going to make my own decision on this one, and it is truly my decision.

Q. Monty said yesterday you seemed to have a hotline to Nick. What's your response to that?
IAN POULTER: I really don't need to get into the Monty discussion of he seems to think I've got a hotline. The fact is I know Nick, and I've been fairly friendly with Nick since I've come on Tour. I shouldn't stop that fact just because he's Ryder Cup captain. I don't need to get in the discussion of Monty's discussions. He's got enough work to do this week to try to make the side himself. He should just be getting his head down and trying to play good golf.

Q. I know there's a variety of wildcards depending on what some of the other candidates do, but what would you have had to finish this week at Gleneagles roughly?
IAN POULTER: With nobody doing anything, I think it's Top 5. I'm not 100 percent sure. If the guys are playing half decent, in my mind I would have had to have finished 1 or 2 to be perfectly honest with you. And that is another reason why I feel that by playing this week I'm going to be playing my strongest golf by not having to fly trans-Atlantic, to get home to then repack my bags to then fly to Scotland. We do it year in and year out. We do it several times a year. You don't play great golf after just jumping on an airplane and going to a venue and getting to a venue late Tuesday night or early Tuesday morning after doing a trans-Atlantic flight. It didn't make a lot of sense.
I mean, was it the right decision? I'm not sure. You know, it might have been a mistake. In a lot of people's eyes, it would have been a mistake for me not to be at Gleneagles this week. But I've taken a personal decision, and I'm not there, I'm here, and I have to stick by that.
I want to tee off tomorrow morning with a clear head and a clear mind knowing I've made the right decision for me, nobody else. I've not been given the nod from anybody else, but I have a clear mind in that I can tee off, I don't have any nonsense in my head. There's been four days of press that I have been reading, and you can't get away from it. And yeah, you know, my head is full right now, and I need to get rid of that by finishing this press conference and then to walk out on the putting green, do my practice, walk out on the practice ground and be fresh to play tomorrow, and that's all I can do.

Q. Good luck.
IAN POULTER: Thank you (laughter).

Q. One of the discussion points was that because you didn't support the European Tour this week, that should be factored in Nick's decision. Can you address that?
IAN POULTER: I'll address that. I'm doing something which not many people do, and that is trying to play two Tours. I think I've been more than supportive of the European Tour, certainly over the last nine years, certainly over this year. I've played a lot of tournaments in Europe this year, and I'm going to play more tournaments by the end of the year.
You know, I'm supportive of two Tours here, PGA TOUR and European Tour. That is a seriously, seriously hard thing to do. Paul Casey has done it this year and found it very, very difficult to play two Tours. You can see that by his statistics. He's found it very hard. He's dropped in the World Rankings. It's a hard thing to do.
I've managed to move up in the World Rankings this year. It's not a case of just being supportive of the European Tour for one tournament. I'm supportive of the European Tour over a 12-month period, and I try to play my fair share of tournaments on both sides.
If you look at my statistics over the last 12 months in relation to the other names that have been put in the potential wildcard pick choice, you know, I'm 70 points in the World Rankings ahead of Paul Casey and Darren Clarke. To put that into context, I finished 2nd at the Open and picked up 60 points. So if you want to look at the whole statistics and look at how I've played for the year, take away the 2nd place at the Open, and I'm still ahead of the two names that have been talked about right now.
I've played very well this season. It's unfortunate I'm just not quite in the Ryder Cup side. I'm next in on the World Points list and I'm next but one in on the European Tour Order of Merit list. I've done pretty damn well over the whole 12 months to be as close as I am on both tables, to be honest, and I think if everybody sits down and breaks down all the statistics, have a look, there are 11 less tournaments than Darren Clarke in the 12-month calendar, and I'm quarter of a million Euros in front.
You know, I've played well this year, and that's all I could have done. It's out of the side, and I don't feel that I just have to go back for that one golf tournament to prove my point.

Q. Are you locked down on October events yet? Could you give us a picture for what you're doing? You said you have a busy second half.
IAN POULTER: I'm going to Korea two weeks after Ryder Cup; I'll try and then come back and take what to me is looking like my only break of the year and try and prepare for going to Volvo Masters; come back, potentially play HSBC. There's actually eight tournaments in a row there which I'm trying to have to sift out three tournaments.

Q. China you mean, HSBC?
IAN POULTER: HSBC China, potentially then Singapore, then Japan. It's looking very possible that I'm going to be playing the World Cup. The week after World Cup is Sun City. The week after that is potentially the Shark Shootout, and the week after that is Tiger's event. So take your mix on all that lot and try and find me three tournaments not to play in.

Q. You're defending in Japan?
IAN POULTER: Exactly, defending in Japan. So out of all those tournaments I just mentioned, I'm somehow going to have to try and not play three. I'd like to be in Sun City because it's a great tournament, and I'd obviously like to be in Tiger's tournament which I'm just outside of right now. Looking ahead to all those tournaments, it's very hectic and that becomes possibly the start of my 2009 season, so I'm looking to take a few weeks off in October to try and do some fitness work and get fresh for late November, December.

Q. Along the lines of the Ryder Cup, is there a sense with players that the fans in Europe embrace that event more than the fans in this country?
IAN POULTER: Very possibly. I think it's been such a huge tournament for Europe that we've had such a great following, and it's just -- it means an awful lot to the European guys and the fans. I just think that that is a tournament that they really, really look forward to playing, and the spectators look forward to watching it, because it's just such a great arena and such a great atmosphere, and it's such great TV.
I think on the American side, there's obviously The Presidents Cup, as well, so they don't really get a break in amongst that. So for European fans, it's every two years.

Q. For those of us who have never been through what you've been going through here the last few weeks, what's it like? You're trying to get your foot in the door, we're doing the two-minute drill here, it's the last week of the season, you miss the cut, Clarke wins, Casey almost wins, and you're home desperately feeling like you're losing ground, I assume. What's that emotion like when you're basically in that position, helpless?
IAN POULTER: You don't want to know (laughter).
Yeah, I mean, I guess it was a tough weekend looking at the scores. I'm very happy for Darren. You know, he's been out of the picture for a couple years, and it's good to see him, he's had two wins this year. I congratulate him for his win last week. It was awesome the way he won.
Paul has been in good form certainly over the last few weeks, but what personally I have to take confidence out of, I finished 2nd at the Open four tournaments ago. It's not as if it was four months ago or ten months ago. You know, it was only four tournaments ago. If I look at my current form, it's not just about a missed cut last week and the other guys playing well. It truly has to be down to the season I've had and that I do feel confident that I have to stay positive.
I have to try and let all of this lot wash under the doormat and be able to go out there and play golf, because if I let this affect me, then we all know what it can do. It can get on top of you, and I don't want it to get on top of me when I've had such a good season. And I think that's what it comes down to.
Look at the statistics for the whole year. Let's not take one week or one weekend into the equation of a whole year's performances to try and make a Ryder Cup side, and that's what I have to keep thinking. I have to try and keep thinking on the positive side of things.
I want to make this Ryder Cup side. I want to play well these next two days so I am in Nick's frame of mind to be a pick. I want to be a pick; I want to play. So I have to stay positive and confident that my performances have done well over the last year. It's been very difficult as a spanner in the works last Sunday. Of course, there's going to be. If you look at the picks probably before last week, it was looking like two potentially two people, a lot less confusing. The picks now, obviously there's somebody else in the frame. There could be somebody else comes back in the frame this Sunday at Gleneagles, and that's why I don't think a decision could have been made last week on a certain pick. There's too many permutations.

Q. What are you doing Sunday?
IAN POULTER: Hopefully teeing off about 2:00 (laughter). And I hope I get off the golf course and go straight to my locker to a lot of nice text messages.

Q. From the right people?
IAN POULTER: From the right people.

Q. Are you expecting to hear from Nick before the official announcement?
IAN POULTER: I don't know. I would think at some state -- it depends what time I tee off on Sunday. I certainly think he would have -- depending on the tee-off times, he'd certainly have a chance to be able to make a call to give you an indication. I mean, if I'm teeing off late, there's no way I'm getting an indication, because the tournament will be finished 6:00 o'clock UK time, 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon. I could be on the golf course. And if that's the case, then I might not be able to get an indication until I get off the golf course. I don't know; I really, really don't know.

Q. 7:00 o'clock over there, is that the estimated announcement?
IAN POULTER: 7:00 o'clock, which is 2:00 in the afternoon, so I truly hope that I'm going down the first hole to be honest and I don't know for the next 18 holes, unless someone wants to run down the fairway and scream and shout with their arms in the air and tell me I'm in, then that would be lovely. But we'll have to see.

Q. Would you want to be told during the round?
IAN POULTER: Put it this way: I'd like to be hold during the round if I'm in, because that will be a massive adrenaline rush and I might be able to go out there and shoot 62.
Would I like to be told if I'm not in? No, I wouldn't like to be told that because that would be destructive. There are a lot of emotions that go through the whole year. We started talking about this last September. We are now very close.
As you've seen in the paper this week, there are a lot of emotions going about, from comments from players that I don't think should have been said, to be honest. I think we're all professional enough to understand everybody's situation and professional enough to understand everybody's schedules, and we should be professional enough to understand people's decisions.

Q. About getting that Sunday 2:00 tee time, what do you think of this layout and how does it suit your game? And secondly, what do you think about the points system for the FedExCup overall?
IAN POULTER: That's another dubious one.

Q. Have you had time to think about any of those issues?
IAN POULTER: Amongst all of that lot (laughter) --

Q. You do still have to play here.
IAN POULTER: Yeah, the golf course is good. The greens are perfect. It's a very good golf course. It's fair off the tee. It's quite wide. The greens are firming up from what I've noticed in the last couple of days through practice. If they tuck pins away in certain spots, it's going to be very, very hard to hit the ball close. It's going to be a good test of golf.
The points system on the other hand I think has been over-tweaked personally. To be in a position last week where you can miss the cut by a shot or two shots and somebody who makes the cut and finished 70th picks up the same amount of points as he would have done the week before if he would have finished fourth, that's not really -- I don't really think that's fair. If we're going to do that, surely the points should be graduated from first all the way down to 140, yeah, and credit the players that are playing well. If you finish 70th, you shouldn't be walking off with your hands in the air feeling absolutely over the moon with yourself. It's a 70th finish; it's not great. You need to go and do some work. You shouldn't be warranted with a fourth place the week before. It's not fair.

Q. I want to get your thoughts on the 4th hole here, the short one. Your thought on the short par-4s that we're starting to see just about everywhere and what they bring for you guys in terms of making you think, strategy, and potential everything from eagle to double?
IAN POULTER: I like it. I mean, they've got rid of that back tee box for this year, where last year I think they might have used it twice or once. I can't quite remember. They might have used it once. So they moved -- and it is off that forward tee. It's about 270 front. Everybody can get there, which is fair. That's very fair.
You know, for those short par-4s which are 310 yards to the front of the green, it's kind of not really fair to the whole field and kind of lets the bombers be able to put it in position to make an easy birdie and the other -- the average to short hitters kind of have to feel their position to try and lay up to a good number. That would be unfair. But it's not.
It's a good hole, a good short hole. If you miss the green on the left-hand side you're staring 4 or 5 in the face. If you manage to get it on obviously the green, you've got an eagle putt, or if you miss it just right you've got a slightly easier chip shot. It's good. It makes you think standing on that tee box.
STEWART MOORE: Ian, thanks so much. Good luck this week.

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