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February 19, 2013

Ian Poulter


MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Ian, many thanks for joining us.  I suppose just start us off with your thoughts on your return to a form that's served you well over the past few years.
IAN POULTER:  Like the format, like the golf course, and I'm fresh and ready to go, so I'm in good spirits, I'm fit, and I can't wait to get going.  Hopefully the snow is going to stay away and the miserable weather.  But apart from the weather, yeah, I couldn't be in better shape.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  It's a very volatile format.
IAN POULTER:¬† Steven Gallagher is in good form, the last event he played, Dubai, he won.¬† He'll be full of confidence.¬† I guess he's had a couple weeks off, but coming here full of confidence, ready to go.¬† I guess I'm a marked man in some respects.¬† It's an amazing format where you can go shoot 5‑, 6‑, 7‑under par and pack your bags and go home or you can shoot level par, 1‑, 2‑under par and scrape through.¬† It's an interesting format.¬† There's always guys that go out in early stages that surprise people, or yet you can go out and just play some good golf.
So I'm looking forward to going out there, playing some good golf.  I feel like I'm very much ready, and I'm very much ready to play well.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Has anyone told you you're a marked man?
IAN POULTER:  No, but I am.

Q.  You are a marked man because you win these things all the time.  What's your sense of your ability to play in this heavy weather that's coming in?  Your game looks very smooth, very efficient.  When you start getting knocked around in the wind and the rain, have you played in a lot of that lately?
IAN POULTER:  No.  I've had six weeks off, so I haven't played at all.  Nobody likes to play in adverse weather.  I think we'll have to see what the weather is doing in the morning and see if we're actually going to go and play.  I haven't checked the forecast since yesterday, and it's supposed to be pretty ugly.  It was ugly in Hawai'i, which was my last event, and that was blowing 50.  So I mean, I got used to windy conditions then, and also a little bit of rain.
It happens from time to time throughout the year where we get some bad weather, but hopefully, I'm hoping either we can get out there, get it done, and get through it without being too disturbed, because it would be nice to play in some sunshine like we've got today.  No one wants to play in the rain and wind.

Q.  I think I saw through the wonders of Twitter the other day that you found your book from the event here that you won a couple years ago?
IAN POULTER:¬† Yeah, I just opened the drawer.¬† I was going through some bits and pieces.¬† It was a drawer that randomly I opened.¬† I was trying to find something completely different, and my 2010 book was staring me in the face.¬† So it's great.¬† It's got my lines and reads and stuff like that, so obviously it's a help to bring it along.¬† Whether it's going to have any reference out there or not, it's always good to have it.¬† The yardage book hasn't changed in that two‑year spell, so hopefully we can continue to use that same book.

Q.  At The First Tee, confidence is something we work with every day.  How do you stay confident in a golf round even when it starts going wrong?
IAN POULTER:  Don't tell yourself that it's going bad.  Simple.  I mean, you can hit one bad shot, but just don't make it two bad shots.  If you hit two bad shots, don't make it three bad shots.  It's a simple process to work through, but stay confident, trust what it is you've been working hard to do, and never, ever, ever tell yourself you're in bad form.  I mean, stay positive and go out there and execute the next shot as you intended to hit it.

Q.  How do you adjust playing in the desert from any of the other tournaments that you play in?
IAN POULTER:  There's no adjusting to do, really, to be honest.  We're at altitude here a little bit, so the ball flies, thin air, not much humidity, so the ball is going to travel.  But there's 18 tee boxes and 18 greens.  I mean, it's a golf course.  That's as simple as it gets.  Get used to the greens, get used to the green speed, and it's exactly the same.

Q.  At what point does Augusta come into your mind and you start building towards that?  Is it too early just now?  At what stage do you think about it?
IAN POULTER:¬† Yeah, it probably is a little early.¬† I think‑‑ there's a number of greens out here this week which are very undulating.¬† The greens are fairly quick, so I guess from a sense of putting, you might be able to pull something from this week, and if it's pace putting from 40, 50 feet with a couple of ridges, which some of these greens have, then maybe this is a good week to kind of grab some feel for those type of putts.¬† Obviously this format, you're generally a little more aggressive than what you would be in stroke play.¬† Yeah, I think it's a little early just yet.¬† I think there's enough golf between now and then to kind of adapt your practice routines while you're away from the golf course and while you're away from tournaments to be able to work on the shots you need to work on, perhaps change the odd piece of equipment for Augusta if you need to.¬† So I think there's enough time yet.¬† I think guys won't‑‑ they won't be figuring it in just yet.

Q.¬† Back to that altitude adjustment, Phil was talking in Phoenix, which is at 1,500 feet, that he found his yardages off by five, six yards, but that isn't what you‑‑ that isn't your experience?
IAN POULTER:¬† Well, it depends if it's 42 degrees in the morning or if it's 80 degrees in the afternoon, so you've got a massive difference from morning to the afternoon, and as you go through the round of golf, your yardages will change as the weather changes.¬† As it gets a lot warmer, the ball is going to start traveling.¬† There's not a specific yard that's going to stay with you from the morning to the afternoon, and tomorrow morning you'll‑‑ if it's as cold as they're going to say it is, the ball is not going to travel very far, so you have to be aware that you need to dial into the yardage pretty quickly as you tee off on the first couple of holes.

Q.  So it's more temperature than it is altitude for you?
IAN POULTER:  Well, altitude is a big factor for sure, and the thin air here, and the humidity is a big factor, but also the temperature is a factor with that, as well.  The hotter it gets, the more you compress a golf ball, so it's going to travel a lot farther, and that will be an issue.

Q.  How do you approach a match play tournament different than a stroke play tournament?  What do you do differently?
IAN POULTER:  Stroke play you're playing against 155 guys and you're slowly progressing into a week, 72 holes.  Match play you have 18 holes to try and send your opponent home packing.  Hopefully you do that as soon as you possibly can and you save some energy for hopefully some rounds later in the week.

Q.  What advice can you give me as a young golfer and student that can help me excel in the future?
IAN POULTER:  Work really hard and never say never.  Don't surround yourself with people that tell you you can't do something.  If you believe you're good enough and you commit to working really hard, then absolutely, anything is possible, and never have anybody tell you any different.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  That's a fine way to end up.  Thanks, Ian, and good luck this week.

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