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February 21, 2013

Ian Poulter


DOUG MILNE:  Ian Poulter, past champion here at the Accenture Match Play Championship, off to a strong start with a 2 and 1 win over Stephen Gallacher.  Just some comments on the match, the snow, and everything else involved to get you where you are here after your first match.
IAN POULTER:  Thank you.  Well, it was a long morning, I think, for everybody waiting around.  It was nice to get back out on the golf course.  I think we don't want to be hanging around too long, so good to get back out.  Had to concentrate; obviously it's easy to lose concentration when you've had a long delay like that, and I was pleased with the way I holed out over the last few holes.  Even though I hit a poor bunker shot and gave Stephen the 14th hole, I felt pretty confident out there that I could get the job finished.
He holed a great putt on me on 15, when I hit it in there pretty tight, and that's what you'd expect from a good player like that who's obviously in good form.

Q.  You lost in the last two rounds before‑‑
IAN POULTER:  Thank you.

Q.  How important for you‑‑ you've got a bit of a reputation as a match play specialist to come here and get it done.
IAN POULTER:  Well, I'm fully aware of my early exits the last couple years and obviously didn't want to do that again.
Stephen was in good form, I knew that.  He was obviously fresh and ready to play off the back of a good win.  I knew he would be a tough opponent.  So I mean, I think I put in a lot of work in my time off to come out feeling as strong as I possibly can, and I've hit a lot of good shots over the last two days, hit a couple of scruffy ones, but I'm pleased with the way I come out to get through that match.

Q.  Given the kind of troubles the last two days, there has been snow here before, do you have any issue with the tournament being here, being this time of year?  Do you think that's something they should look at given the chaos with that?
IAN POULTER:  I mean, I guess it was cold the year Martin won.  They had a flurry of snow then.  Had a hailstorm in 2010, when I was playing Sergio.  But I don't know.  I mean, if they need to look at that as an issue going forward, then I'm sure they'll do that.  I mean, I don't have an issue with this course.  I don't have an issue‑‑ I mean, obviously it's a bit a freak of nature for it to drop four or five inches of snow in a day in Arizona.  It's not really that normal, is it?  I'm not sure the last time they've had that kind of weather, but according to the guys in the restaurant and the staff at the hotel, they've never seen it in 20‑odd years they've been here.  So I guess it was a freak.

Q.  You talked about having the momentum yesterday.  How difficult mentally was it to kind of come back and kind of force yourself to think, hey, I can't take it easy even though you were 3‑up?
IAN POULTER:  I mean, you have to regroup.  I mean, it's obviously difficult when you're up in a match and you get called in.  It's easy to lose concentration.  It's certainly easy to lose concentration when they've asked you to be here ready to tee off at 8:30 in the morning knowing it's five inches of snow and it's 32 degrees outside.  That's not rocket science to know it's not going to thaw.
That's five hours waiting around for that to kind of go to get out there on the golf course, I think it's easy to do the wrong things.  I think everybody tried to be aware of that and try and manage their time properly, and you have to put your foot down the second you get on the golf course.

Q.  How did you feel you played today compared with, say, 2010 when everything really did click into place?
IAN POULTER:  I feel my game is in better shape now than what it was in 2010.  I think the early rounds‑‑ I'm trying to recollect back, but I think I scraped past a couple of matches in 2010, and then it was‑‑ I played some incredible golf after that.  I feel the work I had certainly done over the six weeks, I feel my game is in a better shape.  I feel I'm really happy with everything in the bag.  I can't think of a year where I've been as physically fit and fresh and ready to go.
I'm very much looking forward to trying to get all the way.  And match play is match play, we never know.  You can play fantastic and be going home.  I take each match as it comes and see if you can get by.

Q.  How did you manage your time properly this morning?  And when you stood over that putt at the 13th knowing you had to hole it, did you feel back in your comfort zone?
IAN POULTER:  Well, it was nice to get the adrenaline going, and that's certainly what it does.  Match play does that really nicely for me.  Walking on that green, putting my ball marker down, your heart rate is not moving, and then all of a sudden when it's time to hole it, your heart is moving again, so it's great.  It's good to have that buzz.  We don't get it often enough, I guess.  You only get it generally when you're in contention in stroke play events.  It's always nice to have that.
And to fill my time, I guess I got the first message at 6:30 to say it was going to be delayed to 9:30, so I nicked an extra 45 minutes' sleep.  But you're up then, so come up and had breakfast, had a second breakfast, had a lunch, had another lunch, and messed around watching some silly stuff on YouTube with the boys, and that was it, ready to go.
DOUG MILNE:  Ian, congratulations.  Thanks for your time.

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