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November 9, 2013

Ian Poulter


Q.  Seemed to me to be another fairly clean day of golf?
IAN POULTER:  Pretty clean.  Just a little bit disappointed.  I couldn't hold on to Victor's tail a bit more around the back nine.  He got off to a lovely start and he's played some great golf today, and I guess a nice birdie at the last too make sure I'm in the final group with him tomorrow.

Q.  What do you know about Victor?
IAN POULTER:  He's a nice player.

Q.  Have you ever played with him before?
IAN POULTER:  I don't think I have, no.

Q.  What was impressive about his game today?
IAN POULTER:  Well, he hits it very long.  Obviously anyone that can stand there on 15 and pitch it right in the middle of that green is a pretty big hit.  So he made the most of the par 5s today, and that's a nice advantage to have.  Nice player and I look forward to playing with him tomorrow.

Q.  Having played with him today, do you have a /SPREUFBG strategy going into tomorrow?
IAN POULTER:  Make a lot more birdies than he does tomorrow.

Q.  Your thoughts after that?  Of course you're still in the mix, but you were in the company of someone who was rather hot today?
IAN POULTER:  Yeah, he got off to an unbelievable start.  He birdied the first four and kind of kept that roll going.  I played some nice golf but just couldn't quite get the ball to the hole on a few putts.  Pace just seemed to be fractionally off on a few of those putts that I left short right in the middle.
So a little frustrating, but again, I'm right there.  I'm going to be in the final group tomorrow playing with him and I'll make as many birdies as I can and see what happens.

Q.  It's interesting you should mention the putts which were hanging in the jaws of the hole, because Tiger Woods has been saying that these are probably the slowest greens he's ever played on as a professional.  Would you agree with that?
IAN POULTER:  They are pretty slow.  You know, they are‑‑ I mean, they need to keep them fairly slow because of the 480 elephants that are putting over, so they can't keep them too quick.  But yeah, I would agree they are fairly slow right now.  Any uphill putt is pretty slow.

Q.  You obviously have to attack.  It is the kind of course that you can attack, so still plenty of scope for excitement?
IAN POULTER:  Yeah, guys are still making birdies.  Guys have shot 10‑under par today.  Victor just shot 9‑under par, so there's going to be scores out there tomorrow coming from behind.  I know I'm going to have to be one of those guys that's going to have to make a number of birdies to obviously catch him.

Q.  And with the added motivation of The Race to Dubai situation, as a final thought, no shortage of motivation?
IAN POULTER:  No, there's plenty of motivation in these final few weeks.  You know, it's a good finish to the end of the year, and you know, guys are pressing hard still.

Q.  Was it important that you got to the final group to put pressure on him?
IAN POULTER:  Yeah, I wanted to.  If I par the last, then I'm out three groups back.  So you know, it's nice to be able to see what the leader is doing rather than just looking at a board.  So it was a good putt to hole, really.

Q.  When you're in that situation against a guy without much experience of finishing out a tournament, is there anything psychological that you can do?
IAN POULTER:  No.  I do my job, let him do his job and see what the outcome is.  I mean, what can I do apart from play great?  If I play great and put pressure on him, then we'll have to wait and see.
He's got a five‑shot lead.  If he makes half the birdies he had today, then he's going to be tough to beat obviously.  So he's had nine of those, and so I'm figuring I'm going to have to go and shoot pretty low.

Q.  We saw last week how a leader can struggle in the final day, especially after a round like he's had today; difficult to do two days running with the pressure of leading?
IAN POULTER:  Yeah, I mean, the advantage he's got on this golf course is he hits it so far.  So those par 5s are very, very short.  He's going in with mid‑irons.  He's flew it straight in the middle of that 15 green with driver which saying a bit.  He's got it right to the end of the fairway on the last, and again going in with mid‑iron.  So this golf course is always going to give him plenty of birdies.
He only hit one poor shot today and got lucky, which is the second shot into the par5, which he hit way right.  He actually managed to get up‑and‑down for birdie at that point.  But apart from that, he played flawless.  If he plays like he did today, tomorrow, then he's going to be tough to beat.

Q.  What do you know of him?
IAN POULTER:  I know he's a good player.  He's been on the board numerous times in Europe.  I mean, you boys across the ponds, you might not have seen him an awful lot but we know of him.  He's a lovely player‑‑ you don't know?

Q.  Zero.
IAN POULTER:  Well, there you go.  So he's a nice player, and someone certainly on a golf course like this can semi‑over power it.

Q.  Had you met him before?
IAN POULTER:  Yeah, yeah, I know him.  He's a nice guy.

Q.  If someone does come out of the pack, does that help everyone else, as well, because he goes out and his lead is down to three or four or even less.
IAN POULTER:  We saw it last week.  Dustin was five clear playing the last, he makes double, he's down to three and all of a sudden, you know, we come out of the gates early on last Sunday and all of a sudden, you know, we have overtaken him.
So the same can happen tomorrow.  He's in a position which he's probably not been in before, and there's quite a few names right behind him, which, you know, are pretty good players.
So if one of the guys gets off to a fast start, then, you know, he can be caught.  I mean, we've seen 10‑under par shot out there today.  So it can obviously be done again tomorrow.

Q.  Thoughts on the day?
IAN POULTER:  Lovely start, birdieing the first four holes, and he kind of kept the pressure on.  I was trying to chase him down, leaving a few putts short in the middle, which was getting a bit frustrating around the back nine.  But I think to make birdie on the last and get into the final group tomorrow will be good to keep an eye on him and try to put as much pressure on him as I possibly can.

Q.  How do you approach the final round, a guy that's not won before, under a certain amount of pressure and you're five shots behind, just all‑out attack or what?
IAN POULTER:  Yeah, the par 5s are reachable, unless we get some heavy wind tomorrow.  I have to start like he started today, coming out of the gates with a few birdies.  It's not just myself who is right behind him.  There's a few ominous names on that leaderboard right now which are going to be pressing hard tomorrow.
So we have seen 10‑under par shot out there today.  One of the guys can certainly go and do that tomorrow, and if they do, then that's going to put pressure.

Q.  Any banter with Mr.Stenson today or was it game face?
IAN POULTER:  I didn't see him; he was in front.  I'm sure there will be a little bit more tonight, and I'm sure there's going to be some more tomorrow.

Q.  Winning The Race to Dubai would be a huge achievement in your career; how important is tomorrow's round?
IAN POULTER:  It's very important.  I mean, it would be a highlight right now if I can pull it off.  So I need to go deep tomorrow.  I mean, I need to make as many birdies, certainly as I've made in any round in the last couple of weeks.  I need to go and throw 8‑ , 9‑under par tomorrow, hopefully put a lot of pressure on Victor and see what happens.

Q.  Am I right to presume that was vital, the birdie at the last?
IAN POULTER:  For me, yes.  It was hanging onto Victor's coattails for most of the day.  He got off to an unbelievable start and a nice birdie at the last there to put myself in that last group tomorrow is nice to do that, keep an eye on him.  Try and put a lot of pressure on him.  Just try and make more birdies than he does and see how close I can get.

Q.  Nice and battling and resilient wasn't it today, rather than tidy all the time?
IAN POULTER:  Actually I played better today than somewhat I did yesterday.  I drove it better today than I did yesterday, which was key for me.  I just didn't hole the putts I should have holed.  I left a few putts short.  I found the pace a bit tricky.  They definitely slowed down around the back nine.  You know, I definitely got caught up.

Q.  How difficult is it with the crowds and all the noise about?
IAN POULTER:  It's not like a Ryder Cup.  It's fine.  It's nice for Turkey.  Obviously this is new territory for them really to have a tournament last year and this year, and it's nice that the crowds are out here in plenty.

Q.  And you just have to steel with yourself and enjoy the applause when it's coming, as well?
IAN POULTER:  I had to today.  Obviously Victor had lots to be applauded for, so you know, it was a good day.  I played nicely and I'm going to have to put a lot of pressure on him tomorrow.

Q.  Silly question, what score is necessary?
IAN POULTER:  I'd like to shoot nine.  I'd love to shoot ten.  We'll have to see.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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