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April 3, 2013

Ian Poulter


ROYCE THOMPSON:  We'd like to welcome Ian Poulter to the media center.  Ian, just some opening comments on how you feel this week and the golf course?
IAN POULTER:  Yeah, sure, I'm slowly getting better from a bit of a chest infection, so hopefully I can have that cleared up in the next few days and be strong through the weekend.  Saw the golf course for the first time this morning.  Played ten holes, like what I see.  It's very difficult and challenging, obviously a windy golf course.  That's its protection.
I'm looking forward to trying to see the other seven holes, so I've got some idea where I'm going.  I'm not sure when I'm going to do that, but I might have to do that later this afternoon.  Walk out on the course and just visually have a look at some of those extra holes.
But apart from that, yeah, I think the golf course will suit my game.  I think you have to drive it very straight.  You have to be pretty accurate, and you're going to miss some of these greens in the wrong spot and you have to get up and down.  So, again, I would feel pretty comfortable in that situation having to get up and down from some tight spots.

Q.  It seems like every time I turn on a TV set you're sinking a big Match Play putt, and it happened again at Tavistock.  Do you feel like you have that edge in stroke play events just as much as you do the Match Play events, the Ryder Cup, Tavistock, whatever it is, or is it just we're noticing it more on these Match Play events?
IAN POULTER:  I guess in Match Play it's a decisive putt normally, so, therefore, when you hole it, I guess it stays in your mind.  Stroke play is stroke play.  You're only really bothered about the guy who is winning and not the guy who is finishing second.
So I guess in Match Play your match, obviously, has to come to a close, and my Match Play record is pretty good.  I've won more stroke play events than I have Match Play.  So I'd say although I'm very good at playing Match Play, I've got more trophies in my cabinet for stroke play events.

Q.¬† You hope to get out and walk the course here once the weather settles.¬† Have you done that‑‑ I know this is a special situation with coming to a course for the first time and the weather kind of fouls everything up.¬† But have you found yourself going to a course and having to get out and walk on it, or does the difficulty of this course really make it important for you to get out and take a look at what you haven't seen yet?
IAN POULTER:  The yardage books are so good nowadays, it doesn't really make much difference.  I can throw so many stats at you from guys that have pitched up at tournaments on a Wednesday night and gone out and played the golf course blind and gone and shot 62.  So it doesn't really make much difference.  It would just be nice to see it, to be honest.
Terry is pretty much my guide to get around the golf course, and he hasn't seen the course.  So that is the unusual bit about the situation I'm in right now.  Terry will definitely be going out on the golf course to have a look, and I probably will be going out there to have a look at the remaining holes.  If I don't, then I'll be guided by Terry.

Q.  When did you decide to add this event?
IAN POULTER:  A few weeks ago.  I decided that I was only going to play a couple of events leading into Augusta, and I felt that, obviously, with not having a green jacket in the trophy cabinet, then why not mix it up and play the week before?  I've never done it before, so it obviously hasn't worked so far, so let's try something new.  So I figured putting this in there to play the week before could be a good thing.
One, it gives me focus on tournament play right up until Monday, and it might be something that helps.  I don't know.  But it definitely, with only playing four events up until now, it's not going to do me any harm playing.
It's just a bit of a pain.  I've picked up a chest infection last week and didn't do as much work as probably I'd like to have done.  But apart from that, I feel that it's the right thing to do to get myself as ready as I can to play Augusta.  I mean, I'm fresh; I'm ready; I feel good.  My game's in shape.  I've played well since the start of the year, and I'm looking forward to this week and really looking forward to next week.

Q.  What about the fact of the challenges between here and Augusta are so different?
IAN POULTER:¬† It doesn't‑‑ to be honest, that's a visual thing more than anything else.¬† I've still got to hit the ball from tee to fairway.¬† I've got to hit the ball from the fairway to the green.¬† So I'll be it the back drop is going to be slightly different, I don't see it.
I mean, okay, Phil's mentioned that it's the wrong thing for him to do to come to a course like this to play golf.  I disagree.  I'm not a player of golf.  I don't go home and play hundreds of holes.  I'm a practicer.  So it doesn't bother me whether I don't play golf for six months on a golf course.  That's irrelevant for me.  I see shots, and I visually practice.  So it's a visual thing.
The fact that we're here in Texas as opposed to another course, whatever it is, it's a visual thing.  I'm happy to stand on that tee next Thursday, and I've got to hit it ten yards left of that bunker and 300 yards down the middle of the fairway.  I'm fine with that.  I can pick up on that pretty quick.

Q.¬† Your thoughts on a 14‑year‑old being in the field next week at Augusta?
IAN POULTER:  I think it's going to be an exciting week for him.  I think he's the youngest player to play, so I hope he has a nice week and enjoys it.

Q.  Follow on that, obviously, the hope is that it will grow the game in Asia by having that winner get an invitation of that amateur tournament.  Having played and won in China, how far off do you think they really are from having the Yao Ming of golf?
IAN POULTER:  I don't think they're far.  I think when you look at where their youngsters are competing and where they're finishing in some of their tournaments, they're not far off at all.  They've got a lot of very good prospects coming through.  We, as European players, play an awful lot in Asia at the back end of the year.  We get to spend a bit of time with a lot of the juniors that are coming through from their junior programs, and we see it.  We've seen it already in the last couple of years, and we continue to see that there's more and more that swing it fantastic.
Their work ethic is incredible.  They work very, very hard, and they're being fine-tuned to play golf.  I'm not sure if it's for the Olympics or what they're playing, but there are lots of them and they're working very hard.  So, if I do my math, I would think it's only a couple of years away before we see someone very special.

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