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February 20, 2010

Ian Poulter


STEVE TODD: Congratulations. A record semifinal victory here in the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship and an awesome victory. Good day all around, really.
IAN POULTER: Good day. Two good matches and it was nice to -- it was nice to get out there and get up early on Sergio. It was very, very difficult over the first three or four holes, which you've all seen.
And it was just nice that rain did back off so we could actually play some sensible golf. It certainly wasn't enjoyable. The golf would have been terrible to watch. Guys making double bogeys everywhere and that's not really any fun.
So once that cleared up then I hit a lot of good golf shots and a lot of birdies and made it difficult on Sergio.
STEVE TODD: You put 4 birdies in a row.
IAN POULTER: It was a good run. You know, I kept taking good golf shots. I hit a poor tee shot off 8 on the par-5. I laid up with 8-iron, and hit a lovely pitching wedge to a couple of feet. And then again, I hit a fantastic 5-iron on 9 to probably 6 feet, rolled that in.
Nice birdie on 10.
And then a great up-and-down on 11. And I think once I was in that position then I think the game was pretty much over.
STEVE TODD: Your first WGC and your first win in America, that would really mean something for you.
IAN POULTER: It would mean an awful lot. Yeah, I think it would certainly put me in a position for the Ryder Cup. To win on this side of the pond would be another particular box in the boxes that are still unticked, so it would be good.

Q. Do you think they should have sent you out in those conditions or waited for the weather to go through?
IAN POULTER: I think they should have waited, really. To be honest with you, I looked at the weather forecast before we went out. It was 100 percent rain and it definitely was raining. But I don't think anybody would have thought it was going to be blowing 30, gusting over that.
It didn't say that in the weather forecast, so I guess they did the right thing to send us out. But we agreed on the fourth tee that it was unplayable. There was no way. There was no way we could have stood up to hit any kind of a golf shot. So it was nice that we backed off there for 20 minutes.
But even when we come back to play it was still blowing 30 miles an hour.

Q. Did the players force that issue?
IAN POULTER: I don't know whether we forced it, but he raised it to the referee's attention. And he made up his own mind.

Q. Did you have all the clothes you needed for the cold?
IAN POULTER: No, no. They kindly got Sergio and myself a pair of mittens from the pro shop, which was very nice. Well needed. And the second we got the mittens, it stopped raining and warmed up a little bit.

Q. What was Sergio's problem at the end there, he seemed to be quite heated?
IAN POULTER: It wasn't heated. Sergio was just explaining to me what he would have done in that situation. I think Sergio wanted me to play the shot and take on the TV tower.
The fact of the first issue was the TV tower was in my line. The first referee disagreed, didn't feel that that shot was possible. It was a slim chance to get it over the TV tower, but I believe that shot was possible.
So we had to get a second opinion. The second opinion was granted. So therefore, I just wanted to see where I could then drop the ball. And I was going to drop it straight in a bush. Had it stayed in the bush, I didn't want to let Sergio just take the hole.
So in that situation, I've got the right to play it however I want. And I wanted to make Sergio putt. I wanted to see him two-putt from 60 feet. I felt he was going to, but why not see someone putt rather than just give him the hole. But I think Sergio felt like he would have tried to prove the referee wrong and take it over the TV tower. I wasn't prepared in that situation just to hand him the hole if it didn't come off.

Q. Why didn't you talk to Terry about it first?
IAN POULTER: I mean, I don't know. He just explained what he would have gone about that procedure and he says he doesn't have a problem, but he'd like to bring it up.

Q. But to get relief, you didn't need to go over the tower?
IAN POULTER: No, the TV tower was in my line of sight with the pin. So therefore, one referee disagreed. I disagreed and I felt that I actually had a shot to go through that bush. It wasn't really dense, dense. It was dense, but it wasn't like it was a cactus bush. I mean, it definitely had a chance. And, yeah, all right, if it's one in a hundred or one in a thousand chance, I felt there was definitely a chance.
Second referee, Mark, said he agreed. And then from there I have to then take where I need to drop the ball. And I wanted to see whether it would have got me in the clear. So it was fine.

Q. Just to belabor the point for a second, to get relief from the bush, you don't need to go over the tower. It was if you were taking a shot --

Q. The tower was in your way, so you were trying to play --
IAN POULTER: Yes. I said I felt I had a chance to get over the tower. I thought definitely there's a slim chance. But to be honest with you, why am I going to take the chance when I could see him two-putt? I'd rather see him two-putt than give him the hole. So, that's fine.

Q. Sergio said he has to live with it, which tanks you a bit, doesn't it?
IAN POULTER: Not really. I felt it was fine. It's my prerogative. Do I want to give Sergio the hole if it doesn't come off? And the chances were slim. And no, I don't want to. I've got a hold of the match. I don't want to let him just take the hole. I want to see him putt, and I've got every right to see him putt. So I played a shot to hit it on the green and the fact is it didn't actually come through the bush properly and it left me a chip shot. So I was still planning to getting it on the green from where I was. So I felt it was fine.
The referee felt it was fine. Sergio doesn't -- he said to me, he doesn't have too much of a problem with it.

Q. When you were here yesterday, you said you hadn't seen Tiger's comments. I'm assuming after 24 hours now you've seen something or other of what he said, your thoughts?
IAN POULTER: It was on a couple of channels (laughter).

Q. Exactly.
IAN POULTER: Is my opinion needed?

Q. It's wanted.
IAN POULTER: Okay. I felt that -- I felt the timing was fine. It was before the tournament. And I felt it was sincere.

Q. Do you care when he comes back? You've always said I'm out here to play golf and the rest is irrelevant?
IAN POULTER: I've said I'd like him to come back as soon as possible, for sure. Obviously he's going to have rehabilitation and that's going to take time and he's obviously not going to hit balls while he's doing that. He's certainly not going to come on the golf course and be unprepared to win. So I would expect when he's finished with his rehab then he's going to have some practice time and come back out to play golf. The interview didn't tell us when and how long the rehab was going to be for. He just said he was going to go back into rehab. I'd like him to play as soon as possible.

Q. When did you first think you had the talent to get to 5th in the world?
IAN POULTER: I don't know, to be honest. Whether it's believing you've got the talent -- I just -- I didn't know there was a day or -- it's never really come to me a day of when I felt I was good enough. I just felt that I -- if I work hard and hit the shots that I know I can hit and perform how I believe I can play, then I think anything is possible.
As I said before, I think I can definitely do better than 5th. But let's see how far we can go.

Q. Not when you turned pro?
IAN POULTER: No. When I turned pro, I just -- I believed I could be on Tour winning golf tournaments. I didn't have a World Ranking number in mind of where I felt I could get to. I just felt I could go out there and compete with the best of them. It's taken a while, but I guess I'm close.

Q. Is the Top-5 one of the boxes that you've had for this year?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, that's one of them. There's a few being ticked at the minute. I'd like to go out there tomorrow and play 36 and tick another one.

Q. But that seemed to be an ambition in World Rankings?
IAN POULTER: Sure. I got close to finishing 2009 Top-10. That was definitely a goal to get inside Top-10. And then you reassess and have a look at how you'd like to perform the following year and, yes, certainly I would like to finish, certainly, 2010 within the Top-5. It would be a nice position to be in tomorrow, putting myself in that position if I can go out there and win the golf tournament. I would have already done that, and put myself in that position early in the year.

Q. How about 2011?
IAN POULTER: I don't know yet, let's get through 10 first.

Q. (Inaudible.)
IAN POULTER: It's nice. I'm comfortable on the greens. I think I've done my homework, I think I'm prepared and I understand the breaks on the greens. And the greens -- the golf course this week is immaculate. I think if you're stroking the ball well and you're actually picking the right line and you can start it down that line then the ball is definitely going to go in. There's no imperfection in the greens at all. They're perfect.

Q. (Inaudible.)
IAN POULTER: I felt very confident. I looked at the line and I knew the putt was going to break left-to-right. I didn't think it was going to break outside the hole. It was a left edge putt, providing I commit myself. It was a six-foot putt on true greens. And as long as you start it on your intended line, and it's a putt that's not going to move any more than left edge, then you're going to have a great chance to hole it.

Q. You got off the course today in the semis without playing the last six holes. What kind of edge does that give you physically, and mentally heading into tomorrow?
IAN POULTER: I don't know. The two guys out there playing right now are two very fit guys. They're both fitter than what I am. So hopefully they play as many as they possibly can. But it's nice to get it done early. And it's nice to be able to rest up when the other guys are out there playing. So hopefully that will put me in good stead for tomorrow.

Q. Do you change your routine tonight or do you stay the way you've been going?
IAN POULTER: No, actually there was a party going on the back of the hotel and I thought it was going to jinx me. I called downstairs at 6:15. And the music was blaring. And to be honest, I was going to have room service and go to bed very early. There was no way I was going to get to sleep with that music blaring. So I called reception and asked to relocate to a different part of the hotel. And they gave me a room number ending in 13. As I was on my way there, I asked the porter what was the room number and the last two digits were 13.
I was questioning whether to go back in and put up with the noise. But I guess that's a lot of nonsense.

Q. I just want to follow up on that, did you lie awake thinking about that at all Ian?
IAN POULTER: Not at all, really (laughter) but I wasn't comfortable going into a room ending in 13, really, when the room I was in was fine. And I've been playing pretty good for the week. I didn't really want to change my room. But I guess it worked out fine.

Q. Your putting apart, you got the ball so close, you didn't give Sergio a look in that back nine or give him a chance to come back. Have you played that well before and if so, when, you seem to be striking it great, too?
IAN POULTER: I've played that well a few times. I struck the ball great today and I think -- I've certainly played like that in Ryder Cup the last year, last time out.

Q. The cars you demonstrate on your website you've gone through in your life. Do you have any thoughts on what you still want?
IAN POULTER: I've just bought two new ones, actually. I don't want anything, actually.

Q. What are they?
IAN POULTER: Ferrari California and a Mercedes S-63-AMG.

Q. (Inaudible.)
IAN POULTER: In the States.

Q. Obviously the other match is still on the course, but can you talk about separately playing either Paul or Camilo tomorrow?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I think they're two guys which are very long hitters. And we're at altitude here, so they will probably have an advantage over me off the tee distance-wise.
Paul's ball flight is slightly higher than Camilo's, I think we saw that last year. Paul has a great record around this golf course. He played very well last year. I'm not sure how Camilo played last year. But they're both going to be tough matches. If it's Camilo it's going to be hard. And same thing with Paul. But they're very nice players. Paul putts very, very well and he's obviously putting very well this week, and the same thing with Camilo. When he's putting very good you normally see him on the leaderboard.

Q. Do you have a preference?
IAN POULTER: No preference.
STEVE TODD: Thanks a lot.

End of FastScripts

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