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November 8, 2013

Ian Poulter


Q.  You said you were relatively pleased with 66 in the first round, how do you feel about 66 in the second?
IAN POULTER:  Relatively pleased again I think.  A couple of really nice putts holed at the right time.  Took care of a few of the par 5s which were reachable today and it's put me right there at the top of the board, so in a good position.

Q.  Talk us about the birdie putt at 16, a long curling one?
IAN POULTER:  Could easily have putt that off the green.  You get that a little bit wrong, that could have been nasty, but managed to find the right line.  Obviously it fell straight in the middle.

Q.  We've seen in Ryder Cups and World Match Play championships how you love going head‑to‑head; is there any sense of head‑to‑head with Stenson that you're after him big time?
IAN POULTER:  I guess there must be because he's right there as well.  He doesn't want to pour any drinks for me on this night out so we'll have to wait and see.

Q.  Excited about the weekend?
IAN POULTER:  I'm very excited.  It's nice to play some great golf.  Back end of the year, I've kind of always played well, and you know, it's going to be a fun end to the season.

Q.  I take it you're excited about your position and the way you're playing?
IAN POULTER:  Obviously sitting there at the top of the board is a nice position to be in.  Going into the weekend, there's some good names right there right behind, and it's going to be a fun chase down the stretch.

Q.  So much worked; a lovely little chip‑in, as well.
IAN POULTER:  Yeah, a cheeky chip‑in and a really nice putt holed on 16, a crucial putt.  I think I'd have been happy to 2‑putt that, but when you get the line right and it's got enough pace, then occasionally they go in.

Q.  Of course it wasn't bad on the first day but was there something that really clicked into place today?
IAN POULTER:  I'm just playing nice golf.  You know, the first week, I was disappointed making 22 birdies and only walking away 4‑under par for the week, and I have eliminated making silly mistakes.  Still making as many birdies and that's definitely going to keep me in the hunt.

Q.  I know we touched on this in Shanghai, but what is it about this time of year you always seem to come good?
IAN POULTER:  I had five weeks off in October, it's fantastic.  I always play well once I'm rested and once I've done a lot of hard work, and it's no different this year.

Q.  And the bet with Henrik, a bit more banter in the locker room?
IAN POULTER:  Yeah, there's going to be plenty.  I was giving him some stick halfway around and it's going to be good fun.

Q.  We talked before the tournament started, cleaning up some of your mistakes; 13 birdies and only one bogey, is it as clean as it seems?
IAN POULTER:  It is pretty clean.  Albeit I've missed a few fairways today but I managed to miss in the right spots where I could get away with that, and you know, if I can clean up a few tee shots over the weekend and keep putting it in more position, then that's quite exciting.

Q.  It seems like you're staying within yourself, you're not getting out too fast, too early, you're right in the mix?
IAN POULTER:  I'm in the mix.  I'm right there at the top of the board, and that's always good fun.  There's some great names at the top of the board, as well, so it's certainly going to be a fun weekend.

Q.  Potential playing partner Henrik Stenson of which you have a side bet with, does it get even more interesting if you're actually with him throughout the day tomorrow?
IAN POULTER:  This bet's become apparent to everybody now.  So, yeah, it's going to be good fun for the next two weeks.  Hopefully I can keep him at bay, and you know what, if I can do that and manage to win Dubai, then I'd love to have him pour my drinks for a night.

Q.  Is this some of the best golf of the year for you?
IAN POULTER:  For sure, yeah, obviously I've played some good golf at the Match Play and there at The Open Championship, but playing as well as I played last week and playing as well as I'm playing this week, it's a nice stretch to be playing some good golf.

Q.  And you're having fun with it?
IAN POULTER:  I love it.  It's good being at the top.

Q.  You've put yourself into a lovely groove of form and it's continuing in beautiful fashion.
IAN POULTER:  It is.  It's always nice when you are playing so well, hard work, I'm going to say in the off‑season but I had five weeks off which felt like an off‑season, it's definitely paying off.  And I've come away on a four‑week trip playing some of the best golf I've obviously played all year.  When you have got four weeks as big as they are, then it's nice timing.

Q.  And this sort of head‑to‑head with Henrik Stenson, just describe the bet for us for those who haven't heard. 
IAN POULTER:  Well, I told him I'm going to chase him down, because he was so far in front; I like to make these silly things‑‑ and he said he'd like to take the bet on, but I said I need some odds.  So he said he'd give me ten to one.
So I had a little hundred bucks, but I also said, look, if I do manage to catch you and pass you, we will have a nice night out and you have to pour my drinks for the evening.  I think a thousand bucks isn't an issue to him but pouring my drinks all night might be a big problem.

Q.  And is this manifesting itself in banter on the course?
IAN POULTER:  Yeah, it happened halfway around, happened on the 18th tee, he's got the towel over his arm, and it's certainly going to be a fun last couple of weeks.  Hopefully if I can manage to stay in front and keep him at bay, then obviously it would be a really exciting finish next week.

Q.  And as impressive as your golf has been so far this week and of course last week, as well, he's responded, as well; just give us an appreciation of how well he's playing.
IAN POULTER:  The last six months has been incredible.  You know, the run that he's been on is simply amazing, probably the best player in the world right now on the events that he's played in the last six months.
You know, he's definitely got fired up this week, whether it was a little side bet or anything.  He's a great player and he doesn't need a lot to get fired up, and that's obviously what he is this week.

Q.  And what are the odds now in terms of the bet?
IAN POULTER:  They are getting better on my side, so yeah, hopefully they can continue to get better.

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