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January 4, 2011

Ian Poulter


DOUG MILNE: Ian Poulter, thanks for joining us for a few minutes. Your first Hyundai Tournament of Champions event by virtue of your win at the World Golf Championships - Accenture Match Play win last year. Just a few opening comments on kind of assessing your game and just being here for the first time this week.
IAN POULTER: Yeah, very much looking forward to starting the year off as I ended it last year, in good form. Played great back end the year after The Ryder Cup.
It's nice to come to Hawai'i knowing this is a great field, great tournament, and I'm playing well. So I'm very much looking forward to kicking off where I left off last year.
DOUG MILNE: Have you had a chance to look over the course at all?
IAN POULTER: I know you can get up on 18. That's the only thing I know about this golf course from TV.

Q. Since we last saw you, is there anything new -- other than that?
IAN POULTER: No, just the new flip-flops I wore the last two weeks on holiday, that's about it.

Q. What did you do from Tiger's event and here?
IAN POULTER: Played the week after with Dustin Johnson and managed to win Greg's tournament. And then we went to the Bahamas for a couple of weeks resting. That's all I've done.

Q. Touched clubs at all?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I played a bit while I was away. Practice facilities are very good there at Albany. So I hit a few balls in windy conditions, which hopefully puts me in good stead for this week. But I rested more than I've done anything else.

Q. In view of what happened last year, what do you think you may happen this year as far as European players are concerned; would you expect more of the same or possibly an even stronger charge?
IAN POULTER: Well, certainly the European players are playing great golf. I mean, they did last year. They are obviously pushed up in the World Rankings. There's more players in the Top-50 than there ever has been in the past. There's more guys in the Top-10 than there ever has been in the past. So you would expect those guys to play well this year. I think it was an incredible year for European Tour golf, and I would see a lot of strong finishes from those guys this year.

Q. Do you go into this year with any kind of a different mind-set, as opposed to previous years now that you have the Match Play and TOUR win in your back pocket?
IAN POULTER: I have had the same mind-set the last couple of years, trying to focus on the majors. Winning the WGC was the big thing for me, not only confidence-wise, but obviously to get the monkey off my back of winning on the PGA TOUR. That was huge. That was one of the big goals last year. That I wanted to do; that being a WGC event, as well.
Kind of the next step for me is to try to win a major. So that's what I've got to try and do this year. I've got to try and get focused and I have to try and stay rested and play well for those big tournaments. That's what I'm trying to do well this year and peak for those tournaments.

Q. From the little you've seen here, does it remind you of what you grew up playing in? Does it remind you of Europe at all?
IAN POULTER: There's definitely no ocean around where I grew up playing golf, no. And it doesn't blow 25-mile-an-hour winds where I grew up playing, either, no.

Q. Are we talking zero here?
IAN POULTER: No. There's no 25-, 30-, 40-yard elevation changes where I grew up playing.

Q. Obviously being here, winner's only field, an achievement in itself. You spoke about watching this events on TV. Is there anything you're looking forward to about this week based on what you've seen through TV?
IAN POULTER: I just know 18 is a par 5. That's about it. I couldn't tell you anything else. I don't remember anything else about this golf course, so I couldn't tell you what the first hole.
So I mean, I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be good fun. I'm going to go out there and practice this afternoon. I'm not going to play today. I'm looking forward to hit a few balls, chip-and-putt and try to get the feel of the greens and tomorrow I'm going to play a Pro-Am and we'll be off and running. I'm really looking forward to getting to know a new golf course.

Q. You had mentioned the Match Play. What are your thoughts on the format change?
IAN POULTER: To be honest I can't even tell you the format change. That's fine, as long as you're up by the 18, you're all good, right? Doesn't matter. As long as you're up, you're up. You're fine. I think it works fine to be honest with you. Sometimes 36 holes on that last day, it can drag a little. So I think it kind of probably flows better with being 18 holes through the week, you might as well keep it that way.

Q. Mentioned the majors. Wondering just how the rotation is set up for you, if you were pretty familiar, very familiar with the courses. Imagine St. George's you are?
IAN POULTER: St. George's I am. I'm not the biggest of fans of St. George's to be honest with you. It's a good golf course, and that's all I'd say. It can be slightly unfair with various different tee shots. You can hit a good tee shot and obviously get a little unfortunate and it can wander off into the rough which I think might be a little unfair.
But it's The Open Championship. It's going to be a good week.

Q. Congressional?
IAN POULTER: Congressional, good golf course. Proper test of golf. That will be a very interesting week, a golf course that I've played. I've only played it once before, so looking forward to that.

Q. Do you not find it odd, though, that St. George's has produced such quality leaderboards? Get beyond Ben, which known knew at the time, and just about every world-class player right behind him. How do you explain that one?
IAN POULTER: I don't know really.

Q. It's early in the year to be asking that.
IAN POULTER: I'm still on holiday mode.

Q. Want to come back tomorrow on that one?
IAN POULTER: Sure. Wearing flip-flops, right? I can't even tell you who won in the past. Obviously Ben was the last win but I can't even tell who won around there previous times.
It's a good test of golf. You really have to golf your ball exceptionally well. You know, a ball that's going to be landing just on the edge of the fairway is going to find itself in the rough. It's as simple as that. You do have to be pitching it in the fairway; otherwise it's pretty interesting.

End of FastScripts

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