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July 19, 2013

Ian Poulter


Q. How can you describe the demanding course today?
IAN POULTER: It was demanding, for sure. This wind, we played it the opposite way in practice, and obviously it was going to change a number of holes significantly, and that's exactly what it did. Some of the easy holes yesterday were brutally tough today and vice versa. So obviously the course was going to continue to dry out, no matter how much water they put on the greens last night. And that's obviously what guys found difficult today. Conditions are not easy. That easterly wind is a difficult wind to play in. And it's hard to get it close to any of those pins. When the ball is running as fast as it's running and as firm as the fairways are short of the greens, which is where you're going to have to land it, it's really difficult o predict how far the ball is going to roll. An example is on 15 today, I hit a sand iron that went 192 yards. I knew it had to get to 184, but not 192. It was fine in the end, but it's hard to predict that, especially when you can't land it anywhere near some of those greens, and you're asking for the right bounce.

Q. Where is the fine line between what's fair and what's not? Pretty tough, isn't it?
IAN POULTER: Well, yeah, it's tough. But I think we can all play this golf course when the pin locations are in places where you're not going to get called out for hitting a good putt for 20 feet, I think is the honest answer to that. 50 feet on some holes is a really good shot into the green. What we don't obviously want is a pin that's just sat on the top of a little knoll. It's really, really hard to putt it to a gimme range, really. That's all you're really doing from that distance. Today I think there was only one that was very dicey, to be honest with you. It was late in the day. That was probably 15. I managed to two-putt it, so I'm over the moon. But Billy Horschel hit a putt from 15 feet, which just missed the edge of the hole and went 15 feet past. They obviously put a little more water on the course than they did yesterday, last night. And I think the guys this morning probably enjoyed that. But obviously, you know, it was always going to get firm this afternoon, and that's exactly what you saw.

Q. (Inaudible.)
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I mean it was a battle. I'll be honest. I played some flawless golf around the font nine and got a little out of position on the back nine. And I really managed to hang in there. I hit some really good shots from the rough. I hit some really good pace putts at the right time to keep myself in it. I hit a lovely chip shot on 16, stiffed there. And a lovely bunker shot on the last to a gimme range. So I'm happy with obviously coming back the way I did on a golf course that's ever firming.

Q. (Inaudible.)
IAN POULTER: Sure, yeah, I mean I've put myself in a nice position. I was in a nice position 11 years ago. I was lying 9th and I've actually got no idea where 1-over is lying right now. But I'm sure it's lying pretty good right now.

Q. Tied for 11th.
IAN POULTER: So, I'm in a similar spot as to what I was 11 years ago, and I don't think I'm going to get blown off the golf course tomorrow like I did. So for me I'm going to enjoy the fact of getting out there on a firm, fast golf course. It's challenging. It's interesting. As I said, sometimes a sand wedge goes 192 yards.

Q. Where does that rank in terms of the circumstances and the degree of difficulty in an Open Championship?
IAN POULTER: It's a good round. I think it's a good round compared to the scores this afternoon. I don't know where -- I haven't looked. I haven't even seen the scores. I know a lot of guys have struggled out there. I would rate it as a really good round of golf. I can't name it amongst the other good rounds I've played. But it was a very good round of golf in those conditions.

Q. Do you believe in karma at all? What's going on around here in the last few weeks with Andy Murray winning Wimbledon and maybe one of you guys taking The Open?
IAN POULTER: Not really.

Q. It's a positive feeling, right?
IAN POULTER: The 11 guys in front of me aren't going to fall over and let me win, are they? I have to play some good golf, I know that much.

Q. (Inaudible.)
IAN POULTER: Well, they've got more time to prepare the golf course. They've got more time to look at the pin locations for the weekend. There's going to be half the footprints on the greens. And where it gets awkward around the hole is where we'll see it in a 15 feet circle around the hole, and not only do you get players walking, you get caddies walking. So you're going to get half of that tomorrow. What happens is when caddies work with trainers, they're very, very flat soled. So every footprint they put down burns out. When you've got soft spots or spikes you don't get as much footprint on the green. So you're better in soft spikes than trainers, sneakers. So it's still going to be firm and fast. They can't soften the golf course up too much. But we just need some sensible pins and it will be playable. I mean, it's brutally difficult to get it anywhere near a range where you feel comfortable having a go at a putt from 15, 20, 40 feet. I mean, you're on edge, because you don't want to roll it two foot past, because two foot might be six foot, eight foot. You're always on edge. It's difficult.

Q. A lot of people say, a lot of guys say fun is key to playing well. Is it possible to have fun --
IAN POULTER: Yeah, it's fun in a sick, fun way.

Q. From a competitive standpoint, maybe, or not?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, you've got to suck it up, I guess. It's the same for everybody. And unfortunately you've got to grind through it. You don't have another option, if you want to win to tournament. Then you've just got to press on, just keep your head down and go on through it.

Q. Is this how you picture a classic links test?
IAN POULTER: It is a classic links test. I mean, you know, it's very Hoylakeish in terms of conditions. That was burnt out, just like this place is burnt out. It's very similar in that respect. And you really don't need driver that much. So it's playing very, very similar. But it is a classic links-type course.

Q. With everything you know about this golf course over two days, what do you think about a number --
IAN POULTER: I'm not putting a number. I'd hate putting numbers. I just hate it. I'd love to get to ten, how about that? (Laughter). I don't know. I don't know. Because I don't know where they're going to put the pins. I really don't. They can make it slightly easier with easier pins. They can make it more difficult with tough pins. We know the wind forecast for the weekend is going to be coming out of the east. So we just have to wait and see where they're going to put the pins. I'm not predicting numbers. I'm just happy to battle through it.

Q. (Inaudible.)
IAN POULTER: Look, I said enough about pins yesterday, right, for you to ask me that question. I said a minute ago Billy Horschel had a 15-foot putt and rolled it 15 feet past. I know other people have found that pin position on edge. And as fast as that green was and as slopey as that green is, then that pin is a very, very difficult pin position. So I called out two pins yesterday. Mickelson called out a lot more than I did. So I two-putted 15. So I'm happy. You get no -- I'm not getting suckered into that.

Q. Is water more important than hole location or vice versa?
IAN POULTER: I think both. Both are very important. And it's wind dependent. A lot of those holes are actually playing quite -- I'm not going to say easy, because none of them are easy -- but easier into a good wind, than they are playing downwind. You'd rather have 220 into the wind than 140 with a front pin downwind, because you can't stop it. You can't land it on the green. So you're predicting a first bounce, which is going to be very, very hard. It takes all the spin off it and you're trying to predict how far it's going to roll up the green. Into the wind is a lot easier than down.

Q. Can you describe, what did you say, the wind is coming from the east tomorrow, what that does to change however --
IAN POULTER: Well, you're aiming at a lot of bunkers, is what you are doing, and that's difficult when they're five foot deep and got nasty faces. It's difficult to play this golf course always hitting it towards danger. It's a proper test of golf.

Q. How wide open is this tournament?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, it's pretty wide open. It's easy to get on a bad spell on this golf course. It's easy to get stuck on that rough. And it's easy to make double bogeys, as somebody pointed out yesterday, I don't know who it was, but 98 players on the field made double bogey or less.

Q. Will there be weeding out over the weekend?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, there probably will be. I don't think guys can really shoot a low, low round is what I don't think can happen with this wind direction. Again, you know, we're dependent on the pin locations, but guys can definitely come from a short way back. But I don't even know what the cut line is.

Q. 7.
IAN POULTER: Is it 7? I guess if someone gets out there first thing in the morning, plays a round of golf like Justin Rose played 11 years ago, and shot 3- or 4-under and went through the field. It's possible someone could do the same, shooting 4-under par from that far back, and still have a chance on Sunday, because it's obviously going to be firm and fast tomorrow afternoon. Pin positions are going to be difficult and it's going to be hard to make easy pars. They're all going to be difficult pars.

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