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February 24, 2010

Ian Poulter


MARK WILLIAMS: Ian Poulter, thanks for joining us at the Waste Management Phoenix Open interview room. Obviously coming off your first PGA TOUR victory last week at the Accenture Match Play; pretty exciting. Talk about what your last couple of days have been like. Just share some things with us if you would.
IAN POULTER: Sure. Yeah, it's been a crazy 48 hours, I think, or more. I don't remember. Got off the course on Sunday, obviously very happy, made a couple of quick phone calls back home, mom, dad, wife, kids, usual, and jumped on a plane pretty quickly and then went over to Palm Springs to do a Cobra commercial, which started at 6:30 and finished at 7:00 at night. Jumped on a plane, come back, got back to -- I'm staying with Pat Perez this week, so had dinner with Pat in the evening, fell asleep, woke up and hit a few putts yesterday lunchtime, went back, fell asleep, and here we are Wednesday.
MARK WILLIAMS: Before we open for questions, you were out there today on the golf course. Just talk about what you see, and obviously your game is in pretty good shape.
IAN POULTER: Game is in good shape. I think it's just about managing my time this week, especially with obviously what's happened last week, trying to make sure I do my interviews or as many as I possibly can next week when I've got a week off and try and get as much rest in as I can. That was a very long week last week.
The course is good. 16th will be very interesting tomorrow. I'm playing with Phil, so I reckon -- I don't know what tee I'm teeing off, but it will be loud by the time we get there for sure, so I'm looking forward for this crowd to giving me a bit of adrenaline and hopefully pull me through this week.

Q. Did you give any thought to skipping this week after winning?
IAN POULTER: I did, yeah. I gave, yeah, quite a bit of thought to not playing this week. But the way -- the numbers of events that I'm penciled in on the schedule right now, I can't see anywhere where I can put an extra tournament in from how I've penciled out my season. So it would have been difficult to -- it would have been an easy thing to miss, but problem then is I still have to find a week to put in, and the way we've got it mapped out right now, it would have been very difficult to do that.

Q. Did the momentum play into it at all, either, just wanting to keep going when you're playing well?
IAN POULTER: No, that doesn't come in. I mean, if you look at the statistics of guys that have won back-to-back weeks, I think there's only two guys. I'm sure there's a few more players that have won, taken a week off and won the next week, but there's not many guys that are able to win and win the following week, so hopefully I can add to that list this week. Provided I get some good rest tonight and get my physio to give me a good message and a stretch later, hopefully I can come out tomorrow and get some adrenaline and there should be enough spectators out there to get me going.

Q. When did you actually make a decision? I know at Tucson you were saying, I might not go. Did you wait until you flew back, or when?
IAN POULTER: I probably made a decision yesterday evening, I think, to be honest. Once I got here -- I didn't have time to talk to my agent, really, until I got back here, and yeah, we were just discussing various different options of what we could do. It looks like it's definitely the best option to play.

Q. You probably know the reputation of this tournament and the attendance and so on. Have you been kind of looking forward to an opportunity to come here and play in this atmosphere?
IAN POULTER: Sure, I think anybody that plays this week that has played in the past understands what kind of an atmosphere it is. I certainly haven't been here before, and I'm very much looking forward to getting out there tomorrow and experiencing some electricity from this great crowd.
You know, as I say, I mean, it certainly should be a crowd that can certainly give me a bit of a boost and pull me through a long week last week.

Q. How do you think the course fits your game?
IAN POULTER: I think it suits it very well. I mean, I've got to say from what I can remember of the course in the last 18 holes I've played, I can probably remember five or six holes to be honest, but of those holes, I'm very comfortable. I mean, I like the way the course sets up. I mean, obviously the rain on Monday softened the course a little bit so it's fairly receptive right now. The greens are running very good. Obviously it's desert golf, so I like it.

Q. Last week you were talking about how the grids in the yardage books sort of helped you on the greens. I haven't seen the yardage books for this course. If they don't have them, is anything changing as far as your routine --
IAN POULTER: It's not quite the same. We don't have the same kind of book as we had last week. I have done as much homework as I possibly could today. I hit as many kind of practice putts as I could to different areas of the greens to try and get as much homework done as I possibly can. We're just going to go with the flow this week and have a bit of fun, I guess.

Q. Can I ask you a links course question? You played very well in the British Open a couple years ago. Growing up in England, people assume that everybody plays links golf. Did you play links golf when you were younger? Did you have to learn to play it as you grew up, as you got older?
IAN POULTER: My first links golf experience was the week before the Open Championship in 2000.

Q. St. Andrews.
IAN POULTER: Yes. I worked in a pro shop from the age of 15. I didn't get much time to go and play links golf. But as soon as I played, it was Ladybank was actually the first course I played, and then obviously I drove up right to St. Andrews to play the Open Championship that week, and I absolutely loved every minute of it.
MARK WILLIAMS: When you were in that pro shop, did you ever think you'd get to No. 5 in the world, and now that you are, and there's a whole bunch of Europeans up there in the top 11 or 10, obviously with this being a Ryder Cup year it's a pretty big deal.
IAN POULTER: Yeah, it is a pretty big deal. Did I ever think I'd get to No. 5? I really -- I don't know what I was thinking to be honest, working in the shop. I was craving to try and get out -- I was dying to get out of the shop because I wanted to play, and I always felt I had a chance that if I applied myself properly I could achieve anything that I put my mind to. So did I think I'd get to No. 5? I don't know what I was thinking to be honest with you. (Laughter.)
It's a nice position to be in. The shape my golf is in, hopefully we can push it even further. I don't know. I didn't have a specific goal set for myself while I was working in the pro shop. First one was get me out of the shop onto the golf course, and I really wanted to -- I felt I could win golf tournaments, but obviously it's gone a bit further than that.

Q. Did you get to play much at all, or were you just trapped in the shop?
IAN POULTER: No, I wasn't trapped. I had a great boss. Lee Scarbrow was my professional, and there was two assistants in the shop. We rotated, and weekends we'd take turns for a couple hours; he'd go practice, I'd go practice, vice versa; I'd cover for him while he played tournaments and then he'd cover for me while I played tournaments. I got out to play quite a few events, but not as many as I would have liked to.

Q. Did you match up with the people you were playing with and say, I can play with these guys?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I done very well as an assistant pro. My first tournament was the Penzana Classic (phon). I shot 66-66 to win by two, which was nice. I kind of figured out that two days working for $1,800 sure beats working in a shop for six weeks for the same money. Two days as opposed to six weeks. My math was good enough to work that ratio out, realizing I needed to get out of the shop a bit more often.

Q. What was a typical day like for you in the shop, from morning till night?
IAN POULTER: Well, weekend typical, we both had to be in the shop 6:00 in the morning, so it would have meant leaving home at 5:15, or probably as I did, probably 5:30, driving like a lunatic driving down the lanes to get there just in time to open the shop or find out some excuse why I was 20 minutes late.
And then open the shop, do the usual. I mean, serve the members that come in, normally a cup of tea or coffee, and take their green fees and off they went.
MARK WILLIAMS: Were you able to teach during that period?
IAN POULTER: I was, yeah. Saturday and Sundays were good time for me to do junior clinic, so I gave lessons to the juniors and done some club repairs, went out, hit a few balls, come back in and went home.

Q. Very glamorous life?
IAN POULTER: Right. I enjoyed every minute of it, but it's very different to what it was now, for sure.

Q. What was the name of the club?
IAN POULTER: Leighton Buzzard.
MARK WILLIAMS: Appreciate your time. Good luck this week.

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