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December 8, 2010
DAVE SENKO: Ian, thanks for joining us. Maybe just get us started. You had the opportunity to play here the last two years as an end-of-the-year event. What makes this event special and fun for guys playing a team format.
IAN POULTER: I think you used the right word, "fun." It definitely is a lot of fun. There are a lot of obviously great players playing each year. Last couple of years they've had a good field. This year I think is even stronger.
And everybody gets on. So I think it's great to have an event like this pretty close it Christmas. Certainly for some of the European guys, they're coming off a long run of tournaments; and maybe for the American guys they're coming off a long break.
Guys are fresh and also guys are tired. It makes it fun to have this decent tournament with a decent field.
DAVE SENKO: How about your year? Maybe just reflect on 2010, you thoughts on it.
IAN POULTER: Been a very solid year. Again moved forward I think with progress winning on the PGA Tour in February winning the Match Play. I think that was key for me really to make sure that I got a win in the States. I played 100-plus events, and I felt it was long overdue. So that was obviously very nice.
Had a little flat spot after the Masters, really. Got myself in contention to win. A little bit disappointed with my finish, and then kind of got I think a little sidetracked through the middle part of the season.
The Ryder Cup came at a good time to give me a huge boost. To use up some good energy on the course for a few days there was great.
Obviously winning in Hong Kong was a nice finish to the season.
DAVE SENKO: What about just looking ahead to the next couple months? What your tentative plans now after Christmas with the start of 2011.
IAN POULTER: 2011 I haven't done a huge schedule yet, but what I do know is I'll be playing Hyundai in Hawaii the first week. I'll be taking a week off straight after that, and then I'll be going to Abu Dhabi to play the HSBC event. Then I'll be having a week off and then playing in Qatar.
So I'll play a couple of Middle Eastern events, and then I'll be back over the States.
DAVE SENKO: Questions.
Q. You've had a good year, and lots of Euros are having good years. Can you talk about maybe the pride Europeans are feeling? Do you guys push each other and watch each other and motivate each other?
IAN POULTER: I mean, it's very motivating certainly to see friends, playing partners, teammates, whatever you want to call the guys, it's obviously great to have people like that playing good golf. It does inspire you to go out there and practice harder and work harder when you see mates playing very well.
One, you're very pleased for them; but, two, it does still burn inside. It makes you want to sort of bounce off of their kind of success really, and hopefully kick start yourself winning.
So I think that's been a chain reaction this year. I think you've seen a lot of European guys play exceptionally well, and it's no surprise that all the guys that have played exceptionally well are all good friends.
Q. The European Tour not only have you had a good year, but it kind of feels like you're just getting started. Like this is going somewhere. Do you feel that?
IAN POULTER: Sure. I think by the end of December you'll have 11 -- you'll have 8 in the top 11 of the world from Europe, which is incredible. So, yeah, over the last 18 months I think you've seen a lot of European players playing very, very solid golf, and certainly figuring and winning some majors. It's definitely an exciting time.
Q. Just wondering, when you've kind of run across some of the top Americans in recent months, has there been any back and forth about Europe versus U.S., the quality of play?
GRAEME McDOWELL: No.
Q. Even in fun?
IAN POULTER: Not really. No, there hasn't. I've been playing in Asia and there hasn't been many of the American guys playing in Asia, to be honest with you. That's not the kind of banter that we would have between players, to be honest.
We would be mickey-taking about a number of other things really. That's probably not one of them.
Q. Can you talk about your relationship with Dustin? And following up on that, some people may think it's weird that you've got an American player. He's American and you're European, and they just went against each other two months ago.
IAN POULTER: Sure, but this is a team event, and you need a good partner. I'm very excited to play with Dustin. When I look at -- here he is. A-ha.
When I look at Dustin as a player, he's very solid and he's had a great year. He hits it ridiculously long off the tee. I think that, for us as a team, puts us in a good position.
The way the format works, you know, if he drives it pretty straight, it's going to be -- we're going to be a force this week. I'm very much looking forward to it.
DAVE SENKO: Dustin, maybe answer the question about playing with Ian this week.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I got me a little horse this week. He's been playing good the last month or so, so I'm just going to ride a little bit. I'll hit a few tee shots and maybe a few shots here and there, and then we'll watch him play.
Q. Just following up on the European Tour thing, with Lee Westwood deciding not to take up membership and Martin Kaymer not and Rory not, does that maybe examine what you're doing at all, or not change anything?
IAN POULTER: No. I'm playing a two-tour schedule, so I will continued to do that as much as I can. I like playing on the PGA TOUR; I like also playing in Europe. The way the schedule pans out right now, I'll play 15 events on the PGA TOUR, and I'll make sure I'll play the 13 in Europe.
That is only 21 events, so I can fit in some extras around that to make sure I still keep my status on both sides of the pond.
I like playing Asia at the end of the year. It's always been kind to me. But I live in Florida, so it's easy.
Q. The fact that those guys are devoting themselves to the European Tour, what does that mean to Europe?
IAN POULTER: It means the world ranking points in each event in Europe next year is going to be slightly stronger. Those guys are high up in the world rankings, so the higher you are in the world rankings and the more guys you got that are playing in an event that are carrying lots of points means the events are stronger.
That's what it means for Europe for sure.
Q. (No microphone.)
IAN POULTER: Nobody. I've been working.
Q. Dustin, you've had an interesting year, highs and lows. Can you sum up what this year's meant to you?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: This year's been great. Had a great year. Even with the few unfortunate situations, you know, still had a great year, great tournaments. You know, I'm not disappointed or upset about anything.
I'm looking forward to getting next year started and having another good year.
Q. Is there any learning experience that can help you as you continue to play on tour?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, you know, I've had a lot experiences this year that I got to learn from, and they've helped me a bunch moving forward after the U.S. Open.
You know, learning what I tend to do in situations, you know, coming down the stretch or when I do have the lead, it's going to help me going forward with everything.
Q. You spoke about what happened in the majors, and that you were not going to let that get you down or keep you down, but what happened in Chicago has to be meaningful. Talk about what winning there means to you leaving the year.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Well, you know, winning any tournament on tour is great, but especially winning after the two things that happened at the two majors, you know, it just kind of -- kind of capped off how good my year really was.
You know, to actually get it done being in the last group the last group the last day and coming down the stretch and hitting the shots that I needed to hit and getting it done, you know, it does a lot for your confidence and does a lot for your game. It did a lot for myself personally.
Q. Ian, you had a weird kind of ruling thing happen, too. Can you talk about coming back from something like that and then seeing what Dustin did after what happened at the PGA?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I mean, the rules of golf are there for a reason. Obviously my incident was a strange one. But you know what? You can't...
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I feel for you.
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I mean, you know, Dustin has been in the same situation. You can't let it get you down for too long. Hey, this is a great game. We've got a great life earning an awful a lot of money. There's in point letting it get you down.
It's an enjoyable job, so just keep look forward. I'm playing great. You know, that happened in a playoff situation. You know, Dustin was pretty much in the same situation. I mean, he's playing great.
You can't look at it and dwell on it for too long. I mean, just move forward. Dustin has done exactly that to win in Chicago, which is great. I'm certainly not going to let that keep me down either.
It's all forgotten about, and let's just keep moving forward and keep having fun.
Q. Can I get both your guy's comments on Graeme McDowell, the putts he's made this year, the putts at the U.S. Open, the Ryder Cup, then in the Chevron. What are you seeing in his game, and how impressive is that?
IAN POULTER: I mean, personally I know Graeme very well. He's a gutsy player. I played with him in Ryder Cup a few years ago, and he holed a number of key putts in that round. He's a tough cookie. He will grind out a score. He's certainly done that in the U.S. Open. He played great and holed the right putts at the right time.
He's done exactly the same to win last week. I mean, he holed two key putts. He's playing solid. But, you know, that flat stick of his right now is working. So I'm sure he's keeping that wrapped up cotton wool.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I've played with Graeme a lot, and I've gotten to know him pretty well. He's a great player. You know, kind of like what Ian said. He finds a way to get it done, even when it's not going so well.
He's definitely rolling the putter very well. I've rubbed his putter a few times trying to get some of his mojo.
Q. Who do you guys think is your biggest competition this week?
IAN POULTER: There are so many good pairings, to be honest with you. There's a lot of good pairings. I'm not just going to pick someone to beat. We have to beat 11 teams.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: All the pairings are very strong. I was talking to Greg last night, and he said it's the strongest field he's ever had, which is true. It's a great field this weeks with a lot of good pairings. It's going to be a tough one to win.
Q. Just a follow up on Graeme's putting, because you've seen him over time. Has he always been a good putter, or has something changed or clicked for him?
IAN POULTER: I think he's always been a good putter. He's won enough tournaments throughout the years. I just think that he's putting it all together at the right time. Not only is he hitting fairways and more greens in regulation, he's giving himself more chances to hole a few more putts, and he's taken those chances.
When you do that, you're going to find yourself in contention more often. So then a good year turns into an exceptional year if you can wrap up the whole game. He's certainly done that this year.
I mean, I think he's had four wins, and he was in that battle to pull off the Ryder Cup at the right time. So he's certainly had a special year.
Q. Kind of to follow up on the Graeme question, understanding that putting and every other part of the game goes hot and cold, where would you put Graeme's putting right now in comparison to other top players in the world?
IAN POULTER: If we're going to talk recent, I mean, he won last week, so he's putting the best out of anybody in the world right now.
But, I mean, yeah. I mean, you just have to compare it to the other guys that have won tournaments. He's putting probably better than anybody else in this the world right now. Who else has won more than four tournaments this year? I don't think anybody has.
You would have to say that his putting right now is clutch. He's holing a lot of good putts, but yet he's holing the putts at the right time. That's what have to do.
End of FastScripts