An Interview with: IAN POULTER, JUSTIN ROSE
Q. You’re playing on day one, it’s what you both wanted and what a match?
IP: It was always looking like Justin and I would be playing together and that we would be out in the first session and it is going to be a really great match, I just know it is. I hinted to Justin, just before going on stage, that it was my gut feeling that we would get Tiger and Strick and that is what we have got. Tiger and Strick are a very good pairing and they are going to come out at us with all guns blazing and will have all the local support obviously, and we know we will have to play well to beat them.
JR: It is certainly not an easy game, there are no easy games in The Ryder Cup, but from a crowd perspective if we do manage to go out there and get a point, it could be one of those huge swing and momentum moments. We are expecting a tough match but they will be expecting a tough match too. The crowd are going to want them to get that point, so if we can take it, it will be huge for the European Team. From my own perspective, I have gotten to know Tiger pretty well over the past few years and I played with him last week so I feel comfortable about what I am going to face out there on the golf course and I know I have a great partner alongside me. It is going to come down to who can hit the key shot at the key time.
Q. You both look pretty calm but you must be pretty excited about what lies ahead?
IP: I’m ready. You know what, we’ve both been ready since the moment we set foot on the golf course at the start of the week. Justin is in great form, I’ve been playing pretty good lately so I’m ready. It is a long week to get to Friday, there are a lot of practice rounds to be played and a lot of functions and bits and pieces to do which are now out of the way. Let’s get the show on the road.
JR: The butterflies will be flying in the morning that’s for sure, I’d be lying if I said they wouldn’t be but that is part and parcel of the whole Ryder Cup experience. It is about harnessing that and turning that into adrenalin and good golf. Practice and all that is fine but as soon as the pairings are announced, you know it’s for real and that’s when you do get that excitement. Like Poults, I’m ready. It should be fun.
Q. They are an experienced partnership but so are you. You must be fairly comfortable with how you are going to approach tomorrow?
IP: We’ve discussed the scenarios. We’ve had a lot of success in World Cups and have a lot of experience playing together, certainly in foursomes, we’ve gone exceptionally low in that format in the past so I am relishing that opportunity to get out there tomorrow morning and try and bring home that point.
JR: I think we can play the course both ways with either of us pretty comfortable on the odds and even holes so I think it suits both our games either way. We’ll fine tune the details tonight and we’ll be set to go in the morning.
Q. Are you going to sleep well?
IP: I have two fantastic new pillows in my room this week so I’ve had no problem sleeping at all this week – tonight will be no different.
Q. Ian, you’ve played Tiger twice in Ryder Cups before with different partners and he has won twice. Is this going to be third time lucky for you?
IP: Let’s wait and see shall we.
Q. Justin you haven’t played Tiger competitively. Your thoughts?
JR. He is one of the greatest players to have played the game, if not the greatest, so he is the scalp. I think we go into this game with nothing to lose. They are at home, they will have the crowd behind them, so we have everything to gain tomorrow.
Q. And if you are looking for inspiration, there surely can be no better inspiration than Jose Maria’s speech at the Opening Ceremony. You must have been so proud to stand behind him as he spoke?
IP: Seve unfortunately is no longer with us but we have his right hand man in Jose and we also have Seve on the bag and that for us is huge. Jose Maria did an incredible job on stage today. It is going to be an emotional rollercoaster for him this week and for us to have Jose Maria as captain and Seve in our hearts means everything to everyone on this European team.
JR: I can only echo those comments one hundred per cent. It is great to have Jose Maria as our captain and there will be times out there when I know we will draw on the memory of Seve as an inspiration when we really need it.