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May 19, 2010

Ian Poulter


PAUL SYMES: We haven't seen you for a few years, Ian, so welcome back, first of all. I presume changes that they made to the course were a big factor in your decision to come back and play in the event.
IAN POULTER: Absolutely. The greens haven't been kind over the years, but hopefully now they have relayed them and the course has gone through some big changes that will be to my liking. I look forward to getting out there. I haven't been out there yet. I tee off at one o'clock and look forward to seeing what they have done.
PAUL SYMES: And your form at the moment and how is your neck?
IAN POULTER: Neck was a little bit sore Monday morning. I phoned Mum before I travelled back and asked her to putt some new pillows and duvet, etc., on the bed Monday morning and I couldn't look anywhere, I couldn't look left. Right was fine. So just had to go have some treatment on Monday night to release that and everything is fine now, so we should be good for the week.
PAUL SYMES: Still leading The Race to Dubai at the moment, obviously a lot of golf still to be played, how high on your priority is it to finish as Europe's No. 1.
IAN POULTER: Very high. The tournaments I've yet to play, all of the big ones for year, and provided I play them very well, I've got a great chance. I've put myself in a good position with a good start to the season and hopefully I can do exactly what Lee did last year and finish strong as well as playing well in the early part of the year.

Q. You must be delighted being tomorrow of The Race to Dubai, particularly with your commitments in America, as well, the PGA Tour?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, it just goes to show how well I've played over the last 18 months and I've obviously started this year very solid, winning the WGC was a big factor in probably being at the top of The Race to Dubai up until now.
But there's some big tournaments from now until the end of the year. So you know, there's a lot of golf to be played and I'm going to have to play well to stay at the top.

Q. You're up to No. 6 in the world now, how high can you go this year?
IAN POULTER: Well, if I win this week, then I'll be five and I'll be .35 of a point off of third. So that then gets very close to the goal. If I just keep winning golf tournaments, then I'll definitely keep moving up.
I'm in a position now where I'm not -- you know, I'm not specifically trying to get to a target. I'm just trying to win golf tournaments. I think if I can do that, then you know, I can keep moving up. At the moment, obviously the rate that I moved up in the last 18 months can't be done again because I haven't got that far to go. I've just got to look at trying to play well in each and every week I do play, to try and get as close as I possibly can to Tiger or Phil or even Lee.
It's closer now than it ever was because of obviously the points that Tiger has dropped over the last 12 months. So Phil has pushed himself closer to Tiger's position. But certainly 3 is not that far. I mean, it's a win and a Top-5 away from getting into third spot, and obviously Lee is in that position now, and Lee is close to obviously, you know, pushing himself on again if he wins this week and has a couple of big finishes, then he will find himself pushing Phil pretty hard.

Q. Could you see Lee getting to No. 1 this year?
IAN POULTER: I can see anybody in the top -- I can see anybody in the Top-10 in the world if they play great for, you know, a spell of three, four months, have a couple of wins and a couple of big finishes, then, yeah, certainly get to the points that Tiger is at now, for sure.

Q. Including yourself?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, including myself in that bracket. The tournaments that are coming up in the next couple of months, they hold huge World Ranking points. I'm not sure exactly it is if you win this week, probably 60-plus.
IAN POULTER: 64. That's big. And if you can win tournaments like that, and The Open is coming up, U.S. Open, again, 100 World Ranking points in each of those, that's huge. If you can knock one of those over, then you're definitely going to be climbing that board pretty quickly.

Q. It's unprecedented, isn't it, so many people with it in their eyesight, that's never happened before?
IAN POULTER: No, it hasn't, because he's been so far in front. And he's won so many tournaments that it's hard to claw any ground back but now the gap has closed so much, and the guys -- if you look at the winners who have won late last year and early this year, they are the guys that have already been in the Top 15 in the world and that's why the points have been, again, pushing forward to hard at the top of the World Rankings list.

Q. How strong is that rivalry between you and Lee and Paul or is there one?
IAN POULTER: I think we all spur each other on to be honest. I think that's healthy. I mean, we all want to get as high as we possibly can. You know, Lee's played so well over the last couple of years, and he's got his game back to where it was in 2000, 2001.
You know, his consistency has been incredible, and I think everybody looks towards Lee as he won The Race to Dubai last year and somebody that you need to follow his consistency level. He's put himself in position to win every week. It's a good rivalry.

Q. Do you sense that you've got a different outlook from the spectators now that you're a winner in America?
IAN POULTER: Possibly. I mean, I haven't spoke to them really to be honest.

Q. But this is the first opportunity to gauge, isn't it?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, it is. We obviously have done Golf Life Friday, Saturday, Sunday and I was glad to be home. I had a good reception from 11,000 people that turned up and I was pleased to be there for a few days. Hopefully I can put a good show on this week. Yeah, I think there's been definitely a different feeling for me to be back over here and having some support of the home fans.

Q. How long does it take after you win something like the Match Play to where you're mentally ready to win again?
IAN POULTER: I don't think I was ready the following week. I think it takes a bit of time to settle in to be honest. I think it's truly settled in and I can go out and win again now.

Q. It takes a while, though?
IAN POULTER: I think it does, anyway. Mentally you think you can go straight back out the following week and do so, but you're tired. When you've waited that long to get over the hurdle, I guess it takes a bit of time.

Q. Your neck injury, that's twice now, isn't it, in a couple of months?

Q. Is that a worry for you?
IAN POULTER: Not really. I mean, you know, I had it literally was just -- I had an X-ray on my neck a couple of months ago when it was bad, and my neck is very healthy. It's just there was two joints that were slightly misaligned, which with simple manipulation, that's fine to relieve that.
If it happens during a tournament, you know, I can have them it put straight back into place. It's just planes and trains and automobiles and pillows and all that stuff, you have to be careful. It sounds stupid, but you should fly in your own pillows. I'll be taking pillows everywhere (laughing).

Q. Johann Rupert had some interesting things to say last night.
IAN POULTER: He kept me up quite late last night. I was looking forward to having a half early night.

Q. What did you make of some of the comments?
IAN POULTER: I'm really not sure to be honest. You know, there was a lot tongue-in-cheek I think. I'm not sure. He did say some interesting things.

Q. What he said about responsibility to the sponsors and everything, is that something that you feel that has gone awry in golf?
IAN POULTER: Not really to be honest. You know, I play a schedule which is right for me to play. I think I do my fair share Todd and give back to the sponsors. I don't miss Pro-Ams. I'm always happy to do my fair share. Is he pulling individuals out of the group of players? I don't know. I don't really know what he was trying to get at.
But I mean, I can't play 44 tournaments a year. That's not possible. I'd love to please everybody. I'd love to play every tournament in the year but that's never going to happen. It's just not possible.
But you know, the tournaments that I commit to play, I will turn up, I play all the Pro-Ams and I'll make sure that the sponsors and the guests that I'm there to entertain get entertained.

Q. In layman's terms, what was the problem with the greens?
IAN POULTER: They were bumpy. You could hit a putt from three feet and you could hit a perfect -- you could hit it on the perfect line, you've hit a perfect putt and it will quite comfortably miss, which is frustrating. So I wouldn't deal with that very well a few years ago.
You know, I get frustrated when you hit a good on a good line and it misses. I feel that it should go in if that's the case. Why if you hit a poor putt should it go in?

Q. Worse than anywhere else you've played?
IAN POULTER: I don't play West Coast for that same reason, soft, poa annua greens. I've never played Pebble Beach for that reason. Everybody whinges and moans about that for that Pebble Beach Pro-Am. You could hit a good putt from three feet and miss. That's not what I want to do. I'd rather have a week off at home putting on greens that I know if I hit from three feet and hit on the right line, it's going to go in.
It's always set me back a few weeks, you know, to get over that. You think you're putting badly, but you haven't. You've hit a good line and you've hit a good putt.

Q. Are you skipping the U.S. Open this year?
IAN POULTER: No. (Laughter) But I've never played it. Everyone is like, "I can't believe you haven't played it." That's the reason why I've never played it in a Pro-Am format. You've got however many pros play over a few courses; you've got more feet stamping on it in that format than you have in the U.S. Open. The greens are going to be firmer because of the time of year, so you know, I won't play Pebble Beach unless it's the U.S. Open.

Q. Will you go early?
IAN POULTER: I'll go Sunday night. The golf course, it is what it is, and Terry is going to walk the golf course and tell me I've got to hit it 250 off the tee and I'm going to hit 3-wood and if I hit it 250 in the bunker he's told me to, going to find the fairway. If I hit in the rubbish, I'll be chipping it out and knocking on the green.
Golf isn't that difficult when it comes down to that. If Terry goes out on the golf course and does his lines, and I trust him, which I do, then it's just following a map and following a sequence around the golf course to get yourself the lowest score you can. It does help, you've probably played the course once or twice before. But I've got time to play Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.
The only thing I need to get used to is the firmness and feel of the greens and once I've got that, which I should do with having Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, I should be absolutely fine. We do it on new golf courses where we turn up, and whether it was Ryder Cups and that stuff, I had not seen The Ryder Cup course until the week I got there and played 18 holes of practise and played well.

Q. These putts and things that you do around the greens where you put grids and lines everywhere, wouldn't that take you weeks?
IAN POULTER: There's enough. The grid books that I had at the Match Play, we don't get them every week but they are useful. That was -- we probably get them about seven, eight times a year. I would like to get them every week but the guy doesn't do them every well. It's all marking an area and putting to an area which is 25 on five left but the pin might be 26 on five left, so the break isn't exactly the break, and you know, you can't draw, and you just have to know on the subtle breaks if it goes left-to-right or right-to-left. Once you've got that, you should be fine.

Q. Which tournaments will you play in America between now and the U.S. Open?
IAN POULTER: I'm going to play next week, Colonial, have a week off, and play Memphis, U.S. Open. Then Canadian Skins Monday, Tuesday after the U.S. Open and the rest of that week off. I'll probably play the French, have a week off and then the Open.

Q. Where is the Canadian Skins?
IAN POULTER: Canada. (Laughter) I have no idea.

Q. Montréal?
IAN POULTER: It's not Montréal, no. It's something island. Really not sure.

Q. Prince Edward Island?
IAN POULTER: I don't know. Haven't booked that far ahead yet. Haven't booked my flight.

Q. Might be a U.S. Open playoff?
IAN POULTER: Love not to go; if not, I'll be there on Monday.

Q. Take your pillows?
IAN POULTER: Take my pillow for sure. Have a love affair with my pillows.
PAUL SYMES: Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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