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July 6, 2010

Ian Poulter


STEVE TODD: Ian, many thanks for joining us here, it's always a pleasure to see you here. This sort of event, it's a very nice, relaxed sort of place, difficult pins yesterday, though. How did you find it?
IAN POULTER: Tricky. I didn't make one birdie yesterday, so that probably says how tricky the golf course was set up. It was a good test of golf. The greens were firm. It was hard to get close to the pins, and there was a steady 15-, 20-mile-an-hour wind out there.
It definitely played tougher and the scores showed that, 2-under par leading score, I think the scores will be a little lower today. I think the pins might be a little fairer but it was good. It was good fun. I think everyone had a good day.
STEVE TODD: You played with Michael Flatley, an experience for you?
IAN POULTER: Very different, very nice guy. He's only been playing golf two years, which is hard to believe. He hit a lot of decent golf shots. I think he'll be a very good golfer.
STEVE TODD: Any swing dance tips?
IAN POULTER: No, there was no swing dance tips either way, no. I had a little look at his swing, but I'm no good on the dance floor, so I'll leave that one to him.
STEVE TODD: The Open next week; how are you feeling about your game at the moment?
IAN POULTER: I feel good. I actually played very well in France. Frustrating finish. So I'm looking forward to getting up there tomorrow. Going to spend probably three or days up there, do all the work I need to do and have a very relaxed Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.

Q. (Your reason for playing this week)?
IAN POULTER: JP invited me and that was enough. The work that JP does for the charity over here is quite incredible. I played four years ago here, and to be honest with you, it's just an amazing, amazing collection of players, celebrities, and people that want to support his charity. I didn't even have to second guess. I'll come back every year. I find it an amazing turnout and an amazing charity to support.

Q. The problem with the leg, was it a factor over the weekend or is it something that's gone completely?
IAN POULTER: No, actually it healed up nicely. I felt great Sunday to be honest. I probably played 14 of the best-ball-striking I've had in a long time on Saturday morning. Had a lot of chances under ten feet in those first 14 holes, and holed a couple under par.
So that was a bit frustrating to be honest. I kept missing putts, which I really felt as if I should have hold holed. There's nothing wrong with the golf game. The golf game is in good shape and hit a lot of good golf shots, and you need to hole the putts.

Q. Given your performance in Birkdale two years ago, and in Tucson had year, what do you take from what Graeme McDowell did in Pebble Beach? There seems to be this extraordinary self-believe among you guys nowadays.
IAN POULTER: Yeah, there is. Graeme has proved to everybody that with four days of good golf, grit and determination, anything is possible. You know, as I was watching some of the coverage as he was finishing, you know, he had the same look in the eye that he had at The Ryder Cup.
I was quite confident that he could finish the job off. He was hitting -- he was hitting it great in practise. I played nine holes with him. When he put himself in that position, he was always going to be very, very steady and he strikes the ball well and when he's on form, he putts it great.
So it was a great win for him, and that's all good for us guys, too. It gives us a kick in the backside to say, come on, it's out there, go out and grab it with both hands. There's a lot of guys that are very pleased for him to win and it also gives us a boost to go out there and do the same.

Q. The progression that's taken place for the last five years, do you talk to each other or motivate each other?
IAN POULTER: We don't sit down in a little huddle and motivate, no. But I think we are call our own guys, to be honest with you, and everybody does it their own way. But there's a nice vibe amongst the players to be honest. We have always got on great in Ryder Cups. Everybody dines week-in, week-out, and that alone I think makes us get on very, very well.
You know, I don't think you need to discuss how someone is playing golf or how well they have done. I think you just kind of feed off their confidence and their vibe to be honest. I mean, it just goes without saying that you're inspired and you're revved up when friends and other players do very well.

Q. Almost everybody coming up here is saying they are doing what you're doing, going up to St. Andrews this week; has the Scottish Open got a problem, because only one of the world's Top-10 there this year, there were six last year.
IAN POULTER: No. People want to prepare themselves for big tournaments. This is the first time I'm going to miss the Scottish Open, so I just want to prepare myself properly to be honest and I feel the best chance I've got to get myself ready is to go there.
I haven't played St. Andrews for a few years. I want to go back there and get my lines off the tees. That's important to me. I played the front nine very poorly in 2005. I want to make sure that I have got all my lines set up for the week. I want to play in various wind conditions. I don't want to get there just Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and play nine holes each day.
I'm going to be playing with Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott, Justin, a few guys over the next few days and just get used to the golf course again and feel that by the time I get there Monday I'm ready to play I'm tournament ready and I don't need to do much practise. I don't want to be at the golf course hours and hours and hours. I just want to get out there, do my work and leave.

Q. On the same point, is part of the problem that it's peculiar to St. Andrews with the cross-walking and everything else, that practise rounds take six, seven hours maybe?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, they do. It's too long. I think every major takes too long to play a practise round. Guys that have played the week before are trying to get in a practise round on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. They want to see the golf course; so therefore, it's going to take six hours.
Well, if you're going to go and hit balls for an hour beforehand, you're going to go and spend six hours on the golf course and you have work to do afterwards, all of the sudden, it's taking too long in the day and by the time, Thursday, Friday, Saturday comes around, you're too tired or you've used up a lot of your energy in those practise rounds. I think you just need to sort of get your work done and get out of there and rest up.

Q. Do you think The Ryder Cup, with obviously yourself and Justin and Rory and Lee all doing so well in the States, how do you fancy your chances?
IAN POULTER: I think chances are going to be great. Everybody is in good form. There's lot of guys that have won golf tournaments in the last few months and I think Monty will be very happy with the way the side is shaping up right now.
I mean, I think the players are kind of excited already. There's a lot of winners and lot of guys that have made the side. There's going to be a couple of rookies, but it's going to be an exciting team.

Q. And you personally, after you did so well in the last one?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I'm excited to play again. I mean, my partners from last time around, Justin and Graeme, are in great form. So I would love to be able to play with those guys again, and hopefully we can go five from five.

Q. How much practise will you get in at St. Andrews?
IAN POULTER: Probably going to play Thursday, Friday, Saturday, have a day off tomorrow. So I'm going to play three rounds, do some short game practise. But you know, play practise rounds which don't take six hours. Get out there and play, and if you want to go out and play another quick nine holes, you can, because the course is quiet. I can only see myself playing a maximum of nine holes a day next week, if that. I mean, it's going to be three hours to play nine holes, so by the time you've warmed up, prepped, you've already spent five hours of your day just to play nine holes.

Q. A lot of people doing the same.
IAN POULTER: There will be a lot of people doing the same. That's why Tiger is always out there at 6 o'clock in the morning, he's going to go out there and play his round of golf and disappear.
You just want to be fresh. I think people know that now. You can't just play 18 holes Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and continue that through Sunday and expect to win a golf tournament. It is difficult. But what do you do? You've got 155 guys to get around the golf course. There's a lot of guys that will play three rounds before Thursday; will they factor on Sunday? Probably not. It's probably going to be the guys that have been there, experienced and played that golf course a number of times, and are feeling fresh.

Q. Inaudible.
IAN POULTER: Will probably have to nip them down in various tee boxes where they will play the tournament tees from so we can play around those. I mean, to be honest, you never actually know where the pin position is, anyway. So some of the greens are 50 yards deep, so doesn't matter whether you tee off just in it front or just behind. You can never second-guess where they are going to put the pins out there, because you'll be walking around all day trying to work out where they are going to put those pins. They are big greens. It's just getting the feel of the golf course.

Q. Do you find generally that you feel that much more focussed and mentally fresh by taking a tournament off before a major championship; that you're better for a rest?
IAN POULTER: I've definitely played better in recent months, recent years I guess, taken a rest. I come back after six weeks off Singapore and won and I had a couple of weeks off before the Match Play and won.
I'm looking to be prepared as much as I can be so I can just feel that fresh on Thursday morning. I don't want to be waking up thinking I've still got some work to do on the golf course. I want to have it all done by Monday, and if I'm that happy and I'm happy on the practise round and I feel the wind is in the same direction that I've played the previous week, I might even need to go and play a practise round. Just work on my short game, long putting and be done. I mean, I don't want to have to feel that I've got work to do.

Q. With the British Open, do you feel that you have to play aggressive --
IAN POULTER: The Open Championship.

Q. The Open Championship, sorry.
IAN POULTER: (Laughing).

Q. Will patience be key or are you going to have to play aggressive?
IAN POULTER: Patience is key to winning any major. Graeme McDowell proved that and you've seen that over all the majors. I think the weather forecast, it's going to be windy and you need to stay out of the bunkers; and if you do start hitting in bunkers, you need to be patient, take your time, play the hole properly and take your medicine when you need to, and try and strike when it's your turn, when you hit it in there close. So patience is a huge factor in winning those big tournaments.

Q. Just what do you make of Tiger Woods' form so far this year and what do you expect from him next week?
IAN POULTER: Form so far, well, he didn't play well last week. He's only played a couple of times -- he played well when he come back at Augusta, finished Top-5. I didn't see anything of the golf last week, so I can't -- I can't comment on how he played last week. I just know he didn't play very well.
I would expect him to be fresh and ready to go for a golf course that he's played incredibly well in the past. I know he loves playing St. Andrews, like we all do. And I would expect him to be a factor on Sunday.

Q. Are you going to wear the Union Jack outfit again?
IAN POULTER: No, that's hanging in Woburn's clubhouse. That won't be coming out.
STEVE TODD: Thanks a lot, Ian. All the best.

End of FastScripts

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