An Interview With: IAN POULTER
KELLY ELBIN: In his third straight Ryder Cup and fourth overall, Ian Poulter of Europe joining us at the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club.
Ian has a career Ryder Cup record of 8 3 0, including a record of 3 0 0 in singles.
Welcome. Always good to be back on The Ryder Cup Team, isn't it?
IAN POULTER: It's absolutely magnificent to be wearing this jersey with a crest on it, is always a very proud moment to be part of a great team.
KELLY ELBIN: How has it gone so far, both in the team room, which is always a topic of discussion, as well as what you've seen out on the course?
IAN POULTER: Well, we was unfortunately victims to Lee Westwood and Luke Donald yesterday, and we got absolutely trounced. So that was not much fun when you pop into the ATM machine. But apart from that, it was good fun on the golf course and great to see the golf course finally and play it in kind of the new conditions that we will see.
KELLY ELBIN: Ian, by the way, tied for ninth at the PGA Championship here in 2006.
Q. I know it's been sort of funny quiet out there, still early days, but come Friday, we are promised a pretty fiery atmosphere. You're the sort of guy who might attract a particularly sort of fiery reception; are you ready for that and is that something you relish?
IAN POULTER: Sure. I guess I'm one of those guys that are going to be out there enjoying the electricity. I think Chicago is a great sporting town, and this is going to be a very loud week.
So I would expect them to be very vocal. I think everybody's ready for that. And I think for me, it adds to the electricity, adds to the adrenaline rush, and I can't wait to be obviously part of the fun for three days.
Q. You had the two weeks off, probably not intentional the second of them; just wonder what you were doing during that
IAN POULTER: Say that again.
Q. You had two weeks off, didn't you, going into the FedEx?
IAN POULTER: Yes, I did.
Q. Just wonder what you did during that time, and did you watch much of Justin in the FedEx?
IAN POULTER: The first week I had a corporate outing in Omaha. So I took a few days off, I went to Omaha, played in that golf outing, and then pretty much tuned up the whole of last week. So I hit a lot of balls last week, getting prepared.
I watched some of the golf. I didn't watch all of the golf but obviously watching how Justin played and a number of guys play. Yeah, Justin played fantastic. I think he played very, very solid. I played with him yesterday, and he's still hitting it very nicely. So it's been a good two weeks' preparation, some good fitness work done and some good practice work done. So hopefully I can come out firing on all cylinders this week.
Q. This may be impossible to quantify, but can you put your finger on why you have such a good Ryder Cup record; why do you play so well?
IAN POULTER: I don't really know to be honest with you. I just love this event more than any other event in the world. I get very excited to play. I get very proud to put this shirt on and have that crest on my chest. I want to give it my all.
I just love it. I was transfixed in '93 watching my first Ryder Cup, and things haven't changed since.
Q. More so than other tournaments, do you kind of have to remind yourself to block out the crowd more than you might at other tournaments?
IAN POULTER: They are there for a reason, and that's why it's one of the best, or probably the best event, in the world. They add to the excitement. They add to the fun. And I love to draw the electricity that they give and the passion that they give. I think you should embrace that and use that to inspire you to hit good golf shots.
Q. Do you thrive on the us against the world mentality of when you're playing one of these away from home? There's basically 12 of you against 40,000; is that something that you get off on a bit?
IAN POULTER: Yeah, I quite enjoy it to be honest. You know, we are coming to Chicago, a place that's going to be very vocal. It's going to be intimidating, but it's going to be brilliant. I mean, I couldn't I couldn't or wouldn't want to be in any other situation this week. It fills you full of pride and passion to go out there.
Yes, there is a divide this week, and there should be a divide this week; but Sunday night, we'll all have a beer together and enjoy what hopefully should be a great spectacle.
Q. How important do you see the Friday morning foursomes being to setting the tone for the whole weekend, and given the strength we have in that department, you, Justin, Rory, G Mac, Luke, Sergio, Lee, can you see anybody losing a point?
IAN POULTER: Well, I think Friday morning is going to be key. I think both sides obviously are going to want to come out very, very strong to make a statement, and if we can do that early, as a European Team, then you know, it definitely opens it up obviously into Friday afternoon and Saturday morning to have lots of other potential pairings, which I'm sure José is going to want to use.
So it's definitely key to get out of the blocks very, very quickly here. You know, we're going to try and keep their crowd as quiet as possible.
Q. You've got so much self confidence and self belief that teeing off first would be a breeze, wouldn't it?
IAN POULTER: I wouldn't say it's going to be a breeze, but I would relish the opportunity to go out there and hit that first tee shot. I think if I got asked, I'd be honored to go and do that.
It's going to be foursomes, so it might not be you who hits that shot. If I play first thing Friday morning, you'd have to work out with your partner which is the right tee shot to hit. There's a couple of different scenarios that you get with teeing off on the first hole. But we'll have to wait and see.
If I was asked and it was my shot, then I would love it.
Q. Why do we have such a good record in The Ryder Cup? I think we've won four of the last five, when the Americans always dominate the World Rankings. They always seem to have 20 guys in the top 40 year after year. I know we have a few at the top but we are well outweighed.
IAN POULTER: That's just golf. I think we have been more of as a team, team team; what that means or how you can break that down, I don't really know. It gets spoken about an awful lot.
But I mean, I would say that we're all very, very, very comfortable with each other in the team room, as people, as personalities, and I think that's been that tiny little edge factor.
Q. Speaking of edge, as more Europeans take up U.S. membership or even move to Lake Nona and beyond, do you ever see this losing its edge? And if not, why not?
IAN POULTER: Because it's the Ryder Cup. It means too much to it means too much to Europe; it means too much to us for it ever to lose that edge.
This event is unique. I mean, you know, I hate to say we don't get on for three days, but there is that divide, and it's not that we don't like each other. We are all good friends, both sides of the pond. But there's something about Ryder Cup which kind of intrigues me how you can be great mates with somebody, but, boy, do you want to kill them in Ryder Cup.
It's great. I mean, it's passion like I've never seen before. I love it. I love that chance to be able to go out there and beat one of your mates.
Q. When you promised Monty that you would deliver a point in the singles two years ago, was that confidence in the way you were playing or was it a bit of bravado you hoped would rub off on the other guys?
IAN POULTER: I wasn't thinking about the consequences when I said it. I said it for a simple reason, that I felt that my game was good enough. I felt that I was playing great, and I felt that I if I would have played like I played for the first two days, that I was going to be really, really tough to beat.
And I wanted to go out there and I really wanted to put a point on the board, and that's why I said what I did. When you sit back and look at it, of course it's going to fire the other team up. I mean, but I went out there and delivered.
Q. With Luke having gone to Northwestern, having some strong ties to this area, has he given you some tips on some things you've got to see around here or has he offered to show you around the area?
IAN POULTER: We don't have time this week. We're pretty busy for kind of 16 hours a day. So this event could be anywhere in the world right now and I'm just transfixed on trying to play golf. There's no sightseeing this week, apart from the inside of that team room and 18 holes.
Q. We've been playing up this idea all week that Rory McIlroy is going to be targeted by America; he's the guy they all want to get. Is it possible to do that in a Ryder Cup, and if so, do you think Rory is ready for that role?
IAN POULTER: I think there's 12 bull's eyes on every one of our backs this week. I don't think you can single out any one player. I think this is Ryder Cup; I don't think you can just pull a player and say that person is going to be targeted more than the other.
I think we are all targeted this week. They all want to get their hands on that trophy. We have been very dominant in The Ryder Cup over the last ten years, and you know, they really want to turn that around. So I don't think there's a player; I don't think Rory is singled out. I know he's world No. 1 and he's played incredible golf over the last year. I don't see that as being an issue. I don't think it's an issue for Rory at all.
KELLY ELBIN: Ian Poulter of Europe, thank you very much.
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