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May 10, 2009

Ian Poulter


JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Ian Poulter into the interview room at THE PLAYERS Championship. Ian is our runner up after a 2-under par-70 today. Ian, solid play on your part, but just nothing that you can do to catch our champion. Can we just get some comments on your round today and also your week in general.
IAN POULTER: Sure. I want to make a little bit of amends for yesterday's round. That was a little bit frustrating to make a few bogeys on the par-5s yesterday when everybody seemed to be making birdies. I gave a couple shots away. It was key to get off to a decent start. I did that, hit a great shot into the first, missed it from about seven feet, which was frustrating.
I had a good birdie on 2, and then it was pretty quick. Obviously once Alex started, he started dropping a few shots, and all of a sudden we're in this golf tournament. I was pleased with how I pretty much finished the tournament off, and hats off to Henrik for putting his foot down and disappearing.

Q. If you could maybe -- since the water shot on 11 you fell back on the course, and sometimes when you start fighting a battle it kind of fights you back. So from 12 yesterday on, talk about how well you played and how well you rebounded from what happened yesterday.
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I mean, I made a couple of key up-and-downs yesterday. You know, up-and-downs on 13, 14, 15, which were unbelievable, to be honest. It kind of kept me in the position today where I could take a bit of momentum into today and feel that I could go out there and make a few birdies and have half a chance of winning this golf tournament.
My short game has been, as my caddie said, ridiculously good over the last few weeks, but that's certainly kept me in the golf tournament yesterday. I held it together well over the last six holes, and then I actually played well today.

Q. Do you recall a hole out there where you noticed for the first time that Alex had come back to everybody and that this was a new ballgame?
IAN POULTER: I took a glimpse on the second hole, saw he made bogey to be back at 10. I didn't really much pay attention. There's not really many boards out there until really we got to the eighth, and then looked up, and I think Alex was back to 7-under at that stage and I was tied for the lead. So in a space of five holes, he'd dropped four shots.
And then I said to my caddie then, "This is going to be an interesting day."

Q. How do you compare the tension and the excitement of playing Sunday here with playing in your Open Championship last year?
IAN POULTER: I think there was more adrenaline rush throughout the whole of the British Open, to be honest. You know, being five shots back here, kind of not really getting a sense of anything until really the eighth hole, and then pretty much through the back nine I felt as if I had a great chance, very similar to the British Open, I guess, and then obviously -- I guess it's similar, where Padraig put his foot down and disappeared on me at the Open.
But there was more intensity at the Open for me. It's on home soil and it's a major.

Q. If you don't mind, where would you rank this tournament among --
IAN POULTER: I mean, everybody talks about it as the fifth major, and I think with the field, with the World Ranking points and the winners on that trophy, you have to respect that, and I think it is.

Q. So nothing at home for you that you would put ahead of this?
IAN POULTER: Apart from the Open, obviously.

Q. When did you think Stenson was getting away from you, and then when did you ever think that you might get back and catch him?
IAN POULTER: I didn't think that he was too far ahead, really, until going up 18. I felt he was two in front while I was playing 16. I'm not sure if that was right or wrong. It was unfortunate I actually made par at 16. But I felt at that stage, I saw him on the green for two on 16, and I realized that I was probably going three behind, so I just went straight at the pin on 17, didn't make birdie, and then at that stage I felt I would have had to have done something very, very silly to have given it away.

Q. In situations like this where you played very well today and somebody had possibly the round of his life, can you sit there and be very satisfied at the job you did and figure that somebody did some extraordinary work to beat me?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I mean, when you look at the names on the leaderboard, you would -- well, I was thinking this morning that if I could finish in front of Tiger, that might be good enough.
I thought Alex would actually be under a lot of pressure today. I'm surprised that he found it as tough as that.
I felt I just had to finish in front of Tiger to win today. But I wasn't expecting someone to go out there and shoot 66.

Q. The confidence, your self-confidence, that's as great an asset to you as anything. Which parent does it come from or where does it come from?
IAN POULTER: I think my dad, to be honest. I'm very, very similar to him in every sport that we play, and he's sort of engrained that in me. He always thinks we're going 10-0 every game, so where he gets that I don't know, and then we get beat 4-1 to Chelsea, so that never works. I guess I'm a tame version of my dad, I guess, a realistic version. He wants to beat me whenever we play pool, snooker, whatever, so he'll come going until every frame is over. So I guess I've instilled some of that confidence where you never give up and you think you can achieve anything.

Q. He said you can do anything?
IAN POULTER: I just think my makeup is just so similar to my dad. It's not a case that he had to teach me it; it's just playing the sports that I played with my dad, I guess I've learned it off of him. It's a very stubborn way of looking at everything, and he is very stubborn, and I guess I've taken some of that, and I'm using it as confidence.

Q. Just that attitude, does it come from your upbringing, being an assistant pro and --
IAN POULTER: I guess. It's just the will never to give up, really. I've learned over the last ten years on the golf course, I was very far in the first couple years, I was very hit-and-miss, but I've learned to try and use confidence in a slightly different way and to never give up. It was all or nothing, where now I think I'm a more consistent player and I understand myself a bit more and I understand when to attack and when to kind of back off.

Q. Can I just finish on this if I may? Did your mother sit between her son and her husband who were fighting and butting heads? Was she the soft shoulder for you? I've heard stories of her ringing Sky and saying why aren't you showing my boy on television.
IAN POULTER: I think the word for my mom, she's been very proud of how I've developed as a golfer, and she wants to see me do very, very well and that's why she's been so very helpful. She is very caring. She's a mom. That's what you'd expect your mom to be like. It was nice to have mom out here on Mother's Day today and nearly do it.

Q. Can you relate, though, what was going on with the situation of you and Brian being put on the clock and then the conversation with the rules official I guess around 10?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, we was put on the clock on the 9th hole, shall I say, halfway up the 9th, just before we was to hit our second shots. At the time I felt it was a little harsh with a par-5 to play, a par-5 to come up in two holes' time, which everybody waits on. Obviously Brian made eagle, I made birdie. We played that hole out pretty quickly. And then we was told we was eight minutes behind time. By the time we got up to the 10th tee, we could see them walking around the corner, and by the time we played our second shot we was waiting for them on the 10th green. It was kind of a situation that was very frustrating to be put on the clock for two shots, but I guess there was a hole clear and he was doing his job with putting us on the clock. But it seemed pretty pointless when we had to wait six minutes to tee off on the 11th tee.
JOHN BUSH: Let's go through the card. The birdie on No. 2?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, driver, utility, chipped it to a couple feet.
Bogey on 4, hit a good drive that bounced right in the rough, hit pitching wedge out of the rough to about 30 feet behind the hole in the rough, chipped it down to 10 feet and missed it.
9, hit 3-wood off the tee, laid up with 5-iron, hit lob wedge from about 85 yards to about two feet, finally made birdie there.
And then 15, good tee shot, driver, I hit pitching wedge to about seven feet.
JOHN BUSH: Ian, nice playing this week. Thanks for coming by.

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