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October 30, 2013

Ian Poulter


STEVE TODD:  Many thanks for joining us.  I saw in the photo you guarding the trophy; says it all about how much you want to keep that trophy.
IAN POULTER:  Yeah, sure, fending the boys off.  I'd like to defend the tournament this week and be holding that trophy again on Sunday night.
I obviously played well last year and would like to do that again this year.  Obviously a WGC makes it a very big tournament and 40 the of the top players in the world are here and it would be another significant win.
STEVE TODD:  Different venue this year, back at Sheshan, but you've played well here before.  Give us your thoughts on this course. 
IAN POULTER:  The course, we've been here eight times.  I think this will be the eighth time.  It was very new when we first got here.  It's matured a lot since 2005.  And I like the layout.  I think it's a good course.  I have played fairly well around here in the past.  I just need to obviously be able to deliver that on four rounds around this golf course.
It's in good shape.  I will have a look today, and I'm feeling pretty good about the week.

Q.  Phil was just in here talking about the course setting up well for him he thinks because the greens are generally smooth, reward good putting and there's a little bit of room off the tee.  Do you agree with that, and what else do you think it demands and what can you get away with maybe?
IAN POULTER:  I agree with Phil on the consistency of the greens.  They are good to putt on, and every player loves to putt on good greens.  They are fairly firm.  So therefore, you're going to look to try and take care of the par 5s and a couple of the short par 4s.
There are a number of key holes around this golf course which will be a factor on Sunday afternoon.  Obviously 16 is one of those and obviously 18.  16, the short par 4; 18, a par 5 that we've seen birdies, bogeys, eagles, which will definitely be a factor.
So I think it is a good golf course.  It does lend itself to some precision iron play to get it close to some of these pins.  If the greens stay firm, if we don't get any moisture, which we're not supposed to throughout this week, then some of the pin locations will be difficult to get to.
So position off the tee to try and get the right angle to some of these pins will be a big advantage.

Q.  You made some comments last week that you think there might be a bit too much golf at the moment and with the commitments to have to play two of the three in The Final Series; can you just elaborate on that?
IAN POULTER:  I mean, it's a busy year, and it's obviously difficult to fit in as many tournaments as you'd like or people would like you to play year‑in, year‑out.
And you know, we've seen a number of people that have shortened their calendar this year, and they have done exceptionally well:  Tiger, Adam Scott, Steve Stricker, just to name a few guys.  Albeit, those guys don't commit to play two tours, so they play a very limited schedule on just one tour.
So the guys that are playing both sides of the bond have a commitment to make to uphold their cards, and it's difficult.  It's difficult to fit in enough tournaments and it's difficult to please everybody to play enough golf tournaments.
You know, being away from my family for a period of a month, not that everyone needs to get their Kleenex out and start wiping their eyes, but it's a long time to be away from the kids and I miss them.  But sometimes you have to do that.
You know, I feel sometimes we are pressured in some way to play golf as much as we are, and we have to be very, very careful with our schedule to make sure that we have a fine balance of a good home life and a good business balance to be able to make sure we're playing the best golf we possibly can.

Q.  About the course, did you feel that there's any difference, any change of Sheshan golf course?  Because a couple weeks ago, there's been a huge rainfall and some of the course, some of the holes has been involved in some flooding.  So did you feel any sort of difference and change on the course?
IAN POULTER:  I haven't played the course yet.  I'll be playing it today.

Q.  Would you elaborate about yesterday's photo call, the costumes acting like a Beijing drummer artist; do you have any sort of knowledge about these Chinese, traditional cultural dramas?
IAN POULTER:  I don't know much about them, no, to be honest with you.  But I did feel that it was a lot of fun.  The guys enjoyed it.
And every year HSBC try and do something different, whether it be in the city or with their photo shoots pre‑tournament to make it fun to kind of show that we're happy to be enjoying the local culture and I think that's a good thing.

Q.  Well, you talk about adjusting your schedule to balance your life and golf.  What's your longest run that you have to be away from your family?  And have you considered about bringing your family to China with you, since you come to China more often now to play the game.
IAN POULTER:  Well, my longest period away from home would be nine weeks, but that was very early in my career.  That was when there was South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, full Asian run.  But I never had children at that stage.
So I think the longest I've ever been away since having children would be six weeks.  Would I bring them on the road?  No, because they all go to school and they need to, that for me is very important for them to have a very stable life back home and have their friends.
For them to come all the way to China would be lovely; I would love to bring them, but it doesn't help them, and I'm on the golf course all day.  I'm working, I'm busy, I'm practicing and I wouldn't see them, basically, until evening time when they need to go to sleep anyway.
So it doesn't make sense for me to bring them all this way to China.  I feel it's better to stay at home and go to school and enjoy the time with their friends.

Q.  Seeing you coming to China to play the game a lot often now, what's your knowledge of China golf and the development of it?
IAN POULTER:  Well, there's a number of very good players now in China.  We've obviously seen that this year at the start of the year, and they are continuing to grow the game of golf.  I think it's exciting; there's more courses; there's more players.
There's definitely a group of young Chinese players that I think will be a factor in a number of years' time, and whether that's in time for the Olympics, we'll have to wait and see, but obviously we all know that China take the Olympic Games very, very seriously, and they would like to have players that can be able to compete.
So there's definitely a great China golf programme, and I think China should be proud of how quickly they brought their players to golf and to professional golf, and I think it's quite exciting.

Q.  You talked about scheduling; what's going to give for you?  Are you going to make some big changes next year?
IAN POULTER:  No.  I will play a similar schedule.  I just have to be very careful with my schedule.  I'm always careful.  I've been a little more careful the last couple of years.   But obviously 15 events stateside, 13 events in Europe, adds up to a lot of tournaments, and obviously we have to play a few in the back end of the year to qualify for The Race to Dubai.
So it's just about being clever with the schedule to make sure you're not doing too many trips across the pond and that you can stay as fresh as possible.  So I won't be changing my schedule an awful lot to be honest.  I'll still maintain my two cards, and I need it to do that because obviously I want to play The Ryder Cup.

Q.  Do you enjoy the challenge of defending a title, and also how does it change your mentality through the week when you're not kind of chasing someone else's trophy?
IAN POULTER:  I don't think it changes my mentality at all.  I've always had kind of a ruthless approach I guess in a way of trying to win every single golf tournament I play in.  Obviously percentage terms I'm not going to do that very often, but I'd like to do it a little more.
I don't feel I have any extra pressure than what I would put on myself in any normal given week, even though I'm defending champion.  So I'll approach the week like I do every other week.  I expect myself to play well.  I expect myself to certainly be in contention to have a chance to win on Sunday.
STEVE TODD:  Thanks for joining us and we wish you the best of luck this week.

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