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April 9, 2010

Ian Poulter


THE MODERATOR: We would like to welcome Ian Poulter to the media room. Our leader in the clubhouse, who has posted a fine round of 8-under par; 68-68. Obviously, everyone knows that Ian was the recent winner of the 2010 World Golf Championship - Accenture Match Play, which he won in dominant fashion.
Ian, maybe you can make a few comments about your round today.
IAN POULTER: Sure. Again, it was kind of blustery on the range this morning. It was a little fresh. We made a decision to take a utility out of the bag and put a 3-iron in for that reason and it was nice to get off to a good start. Birdieing 2, hitting 5-wood to the middle of that green, good 2-putt and hit a lot of solid shots. Had a chance on 4,5, birdied 8 from about eight feet, and played real solid around the back nine and had plenty of chances. Just a bit of a shame to bogey the last. Just pulled a 5-iron from about 212 yards downwind and missed about a 7-footer.

Q. Can you talk us through your second shot on 13, did Terry take a club out of your hand there?
IAN POULTER: Utility that I was talking about, would have been perfect. (Laughter).
And we kind of figured that after I hit my tee shot. He looked at me and he went, "That's that utility."
I said, "It probably will be." So I actually didn't play 3-iron off of that lie, it would have been coming off too low. So I tried to cut up a 5-wood, hit it to sort of 45 feet and tried to make a good 2-putt.

Q. Is this the best you've ever played in a major; is this the best you've started? Is this the best you think you've played so far?
IAN POULTER: It's a good start I think, certainly the way I played today, and the number of chances I had out there on that golf course with the pins as difficult as they were. You know, I'm pleased that I gave myself so many chances, and I would say it's one of best rounds of golf I've played in a while.

Q. How would you rate the degree of difficulty today compared with yesterday?
IAN POULTER: It's funny, it was windier yesterday, but the pin locations today were a lot more difficult. I think the number of scores under par are probably a factor in some of those pins being tucked where they were. And so I would have said it was playing a lot tougher than yesterday, for sure.

Q. Did you play that much better today?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I played very well today. I felt I hit the ball much better today than I did yesterday.

Q. Can you describe the feeling of leading the Masters and walking to the green, getting a standing ovation from the crowd; were you able to take all that in?
IAN POULTER: It's Friday, so I don't want to get carried away. Certainly it was a nice feeling. I played very well obviously today and yesterday, and you know, if you're going to do that around this golf course, you're going to put yourself in a good position. And they are a very respectful crowd. If you're going to be sitting high up that leaderboard, you're going to be getting clapped onto every green, which is very, very nice.

Q. I think it took you about 12 goes to break par around here, so does that say how much you've improved, three 68s in four rounds, and what does it say about what you need around here?
IAN POULTER: Sure. I think my golf game certainly is a lot better now than what it was when I first played. You know, I think I've learnt the golf course over the last six years, and to a degree, where I feel very comfortable out there hitting certain shots; there's a lot of shots that I didn't feel I was very comfortable pulling off six years ago, but certainly I am now. I am more aggressive on the golf course and you have to be aggressive to your targets around this place. You can't let this course intimidate you too much, because you'll back away from the shots you should be taking on. I'm hitting the ball well and my game is a lot better than what it was.

Q. You were spoken about as a pre-tournament favorite; did you like that or did you not because it was too much pressure?
IAN POULTER: I didn't mind it. I like that it's going to put a bit of pressure on me. It's going to make me focus. This is a golf course which you have to focus on every single shot. You can't let your mind wander at all in any way, shape or form, otherwise this golf course will penalize you badly.
It's kind of focused me pretty hard this week, and I think that's been a good plus.

Q. Should it stay like this tomorrow, you'll be in the final group with Lee; will it help you going out with a friend and how does it feel having two English guys at the top?
IAN POULTER: Well, he took a few dollars off me the other day, so I would like to get some back tomorrow if that's the case. (Laughter).
There was a lot of talk before this tournament that the English guys are in good form, and they certainly are and we are sitting at the top of the leaderboard now. If it stays this way, yeah, it would be great to go out there and play with Lee.

Q. You've never been short of confidence; what did winning the Match Play, how did that convince I been you that you were ready for this?
IAN POULTER: It's helped a lot to win on this side of the pond, has made a big difference, and the fact that it was a WGC has given me an extra boost. I'm in a position now where I can go out and be kind of aggressive on the golf course. It's a nice position to be at and as I mentioned earlier, you can't back off any shot on this golf course and it's certainly helped me this week.

Q. You took some schtick a couple years ago about comments about trying to climb up to No. 2 in the world; have you vindicated yourself from of the criticism you got then?
IAN POULTER: Sure, if I win this week, I'll probably go No. 2, which would be lovely. (Laughter) So I guess it's a work-in-progress. I'm working towards that. (Laughter) So, we'll see.

Q. You like to make a bold fashion statement; what color combination goes well with a green jacket?
IAN POULTER: Absolutely anything. (Laughter).

Q. There's so much talk before the tournament started this week about the difference in the air, the electricity with Tiger coming back; does it feel like a normal Masters or a normal major the way it's played out?
IAN POULTER: There's a great buzz on the golf course. I was happy to tee off when I did. The crowds are ten-deep. That's always good. They are a very respectful crowd and when that happens, you get a lot of electricity in the crowd and that's certainly a nice place to play. You have big, big galleries that appreciate good golf shots, and you know, I'm certainly happy to have teed off when I did. I think the Tournament is a good one.

Q. How valuable has your black book been, all of that homework you've done before?
IAN POULTER: It's been very helpful. I think coming up for two days and spending the time I did, trying to work out where the pin locations have been in the last number of years I've played here, figure out where we need to hit certain shots when pins are in difficult spots, and you know, just get used to the greens as much as you can. I mean, they are very quick. They are slopey. A couple of greens have changed, and when that happens, you do need to do a bit of extra work on the golf course to make sure you're fully prepared.

Q. Was this included in your wild dreams as a kid?
IAN POULTER: Yes, it was. I mean, yeah, to be -- to be playing Augusta was in my dreams, and to be sitting at the top of the leaderboards was in my dreams, as well. So hopefully we can have a good weekend and be in a similar situation come Sunday night.
THE MODERATOR: Great performance, Ian. We wish you the best this week.

End of FastScripts

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