An Interview with: IAN POULTER
KELLY ELBIN: Ian Poulter of Europe joining us at the conclusion of the foursomes session of the first day of the 39th Ryder Cup. Earlier Ian and Justin Rose defeated Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker 2 & 1. And Ian, you are off this afternoon, but I'm sure you're very pleased to get a big victory this morning to evening the point count at 2 apiece.
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I mean, delighted to finish that match off. I saw it yesterday when well, listening to it on stage yesterday, announcing Tiger and Stricker, kind of a little bit of a wry smile. Tiger has been two of my three defeats in this Ryder Cup format, and Justin and I were pretty pumped to get out there and kind of get that point on the board. It was all blue early, but turned it around, and we managed to secure that point right at the end.
KELLY ELBIN: You never trailed in this match. What was the key to victory for you and Justin, or keys?
IAN POULTER: I think putting it in play more than what they did. They got out of position a lot off the tee. That was obviously going to be very difficult from there to kind of hit it close on a number of holes. But the way the golf course is set up, if you do get it off line, you are still in the hole. You do have a chance to get it around the green. That's what they did, and obviously they chip and putt very, very well.
So they're never out of the hole, even though they hit a few poor tee shots. We put pressure on them early. We got up in the match, and we kept momentum on our side.
Q. When did you find out that you weren't playing this afternoon, and how disappointing is that?
IAN POULTER: It's not disappointing. Well, I would love to have played five matches, but I realize that we are a team. That team is very, very, very strong this year, and Ollie really wanted to kind of get everybody playing on Friday.
So four guys have got to change from the morning round, and that's obviously going to be difficult. He said to me that he would like to keep me fresh going through obviously Saturday, Sunday.
Q. When did you find out?
IAN POULTER: I found out yesterday afternoon. I knew.
Q. You're sitting here, yet Tiger Woods is going out again having played pretty badly. Are you surprised that Davis Love has given Tiger a nod this afternoon?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, but he's Tiger Woods.
Q. Do you think any other player in the world would have been given the nod this afternoon having played as badly as Tiger did this morning?
IAN POULTER: (Smiling) Is Davis Love going to sit Tiger Woods? He's a brave man.
You know, he's Tiger Woods. He's the guy they get out there fired up. He didn't quite fire them up this morning, but you never know. When Tiger is on he's on and he's very impressive, but when he's not, he's not. It's a brave captain to leave him out.
Q. How did you and Justin decide who was going to play the first tee shot this morning for your group? And were you as nervous this time as other times, or does playing in subsequent Ryder Cups reduce that?
IAN POULTER: I don't really think nervous is the right word. I mean, it's just fired up I think is the right word to it. To answer the first question, we discussed it a number of times yesterday. We was going backwards and forwards, deciding what was the right layout for us, who had the right holes, who had the par 5s and 3s. And to be honest we were just over thinking it.
To be honest our games are very similar. Justin probably just hits it 15 yards longer than me off the tee. The golf course is the golf course. We know we play very well in foursomes. So we kind of just said last night, come on, let's just stop over thinking this and just get out there and play golf. I was going to go ahead and hit that first tee shot.
Q. Can you describe the reaction you showed when you made that putt on 16?
IAN POULTER: That's me being me, I guess. Ryder Cup is like no other; you can't do that in any other situation. It means that much. That really is how much it means. I've seen it over the years with Seve and Ollie and Faldo and all the guys. You know what, that's why Ryder Cup is so special, because you can hole that putt at the right time and it does mean that much, so your emotions just come out.
Q. There were a couple of occasions on the back nine where you guys made putts that denied them a chance to win the hole. Is there a different emotion when you make a putt to get the halve, as opposed to making a putt to win the hole? Or are they identical emotions?
IAN POULTER: Well, I mean, there's timing is everything. You know, sometimes if you can hole that birdie putt to win a hole, whether it be a long one and they've got a short one or vice versa, it still means a lot. It's momentum.
To hole that putt on 16 at the right time, I hit a poor second shot, Tiger hit a great second shot and gave Stricker a chance, obviously, to win that hole to get it to 1 down with two to play, which would have been key for them to try and do that. He misses that hole. I mean, that's the wonders of match play. Whether sometimes it's to halve the hole or to win the hole, putts of that length just mean so much.
Q. Do you expect to play both sessions tomorrow?
IAN POULTER: I mean, there's a really good chance I would say. If I'm asked by Ollie to play, then I am going to go and play.
Q. You said he wanted to keep you fresh, and obviously same with Luke. Do you think anybody will play all five?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I definitely think there's a couple of guys that will play all five for sure. I think you have to. I think if guys have got out there and are playing great golf, then you kind of got to let them keep going. I think there will be a few people on both sides that are actually going to go all five.
Q. The hostility today didn't seem to materialize; the crowd was engaged, but not particularly hostile. Did you get any stick at all, or did they seem to leave you alone?
IAN POULTER: There were bits and pieces, but nothing more than what you'd expect. Some funny little comments, but I mean, nothing it was fine. I mean, there were a lot of mobile phones taking pictures while we were hitting shots, which was difficult at times. There was a few going off on the backswings, but all things considered, it was fairly muted out there.
Q. You said Davis would show a lot of courage to sit Tiger Woods. Would the same statement be true for Ollie sitting Rory? Would that take as much courage to sit the No. 1 player in the world as it would for Davis to sit the former No. 1 player in the world?
IAN POULTER: I think it's completely different. You know, Tiger Woods has been world No. 1 for how many consecutive years, and obviously the last couple, he kind of hasn't quite been there. But Rory has just taken that mantle. It would be a lot easier for Ollie to sit Rory than it would be for Davis to sit Tiger. Tiger is Tiger, and Tiger is going to want to go out and play five matches. I mean, he knows if it clicks, at any moment out there on the first few holes; if he finds his form, then he's going to be a very tough man to beat. So I mean, I think it's completely different.
KELLY ELBIN: A winner this morning, Ian Poulter, thank you very much.
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