BETH MURRISON: Good afternoon, and welcome to the 2010 U.S. Open here at Pebble Beach Golf Links. We're pleased to be joined by Ian Poulter. Ian is playing in his 7th U.S. Open. His first at Pebble Beach. You had mentioned that you are making your first visit to Pebble Beach this week. Can you talk about your impressions of the course and how you found it thus far.
IAN POULTER: Sure. Yeah, this is my first trip here and I was very happy to get out on the golf course on Monday. I played the front nine and I was pleasantly surprised. It was better than everything I read and I felt the golf course was a good test of golf. So I played 18 holes yesterday getting ready to go and play nine holes again, back nine this afternoon, and that should have me ready for the week.
BETH MURRISON: I also read that you mentioned that you played it on Play Station before. Anything that you see in there and how does that work when you come out and actually see it? Does it help you at all?
IAN POULTER: Yes and no. I mean you try and get some visual but there's nothing like playing it for real. So it's very different than what it obviously looks like on a video game.
Q. When you're on the range sometimes you have your ear buds in. What kind of stuff are you listening to and what's your?
IAN POULTER: Sometimes it's on, sometimes it's off. Just stops people coming up and interrupting me while I practice to be honest with you. I'm guilty to kind of talk to too many people sometimes and I kind of think that sometimes people have found that a habit to come up and kind of I went interrupt you while you're working. So sometimes it's on, sometimes it's off. Sometimes I'm, when it's off I can still hear what people are saying, but I choose to ignore them. If not I've got a variety of music that I listen to. Sometimes it's some house music, some garage music, something upbeat to get me going and then before I tee off something slightly ‑‑ a little less, slightly a little more mellow to get me ready.
Q. Do you have one favorite?
IAN POULTER: I have many. Too many on there to choose one favorite.
Q. I hope this hasn't been asked, how much are you following the World Cup and I wondered what your impressions were so far?
IAN POULTER: I'm following it a little bit right now. I'm staying with ‑‑ I've got a house full of guys this week and they were up this morning first thing watching the football and I was fast asleep. But when I come downstairs I realized that had Spain had just been beat, which was a big shock. So we're watching as much as we can. But hopefully England can come out strong on Friday and no more silly little slips and hopefully we'll be fine.
Q. Were you good at the Play Station Pebble? Were you good at it on the computer?
IAN POULTER: I was better at it than what I was on yesterday, for sure, yeah. Kind of seemed to be a little easier to make birdies out there on the video game than it is for real.
Q. You said that the front nine was better than what you had read. What had you read about the front nine and can you elaborate a little bit?
IAN POULTER: Well, sure. I just think that when you finally get here and you actually see how they have sculptured the holes around the ocean it's pretty amazing. There's a lot of undulation changes, which kind of you don't kind of expect and you don't obviously pick that up from TV. So that's kind of a given when you can't quite get the perspective from television to what it is for real.
It just blew me away. I just felt it was probably the best golf course I've ever played so far.
Q. How would you describe the difference in being in one of the final groups on the last day of a regular tournament and of a Major? Is it a lot more difficult mentally to keep yourself focused or just what are the differences?
IAN POULTER: Don't know. I've never been in the last group in a Major on Sunday. Yet. Well, really you're mentally trying to make sure there is no difference, to be honest with you. It is just another golf tournament, although a very big one. But you don't want to put too much pressure on yourself before you go out into a final round. So you've just got to try and think of it as a normal tournament and go out there and understand that any Sunday at a Major's going to be difficult as opposed to a regular event.
Q. Two questions. Firstly, there's usually a bit of rough down the right side on some of the ocean holes.
IAN POULTER: Yeah, it's cutaway.
Q. I wanted some comments on that, if I could.
IAN POULTER: I can only pick up on it from what I've previously seen on television. This is my first time here. So there are a couple of holes which obviously I've now played and realize that you can't afford to leak a couple of tee shots right, where in the past you probably could get away with it. It would still give you a shot to kind of lay up or even if you got a good lie, go for the green. So there's a couple of holes, I think 9, if you get it over the ridge on there they might even move the tee forward enticing people to get it right down the bottom of the ridge. If you do that, you've, I say even ‑‑ if you ‑‑ you potentially can cause yourself some problems. So you do have to be very cautious and I think you'll see guys laying up well short and playing those holes pretty cautiously.
Q. Have you been down on the beach?
IAN POULTER: No, I haven't sunbathed yet.
Q. Secondly, from what you've seen of the course so far, the winners here, Nicklaus and Watson, Tiger and Kite, why do you think that is? Why do you think that caliber of players win The Open here?
IAN POULTER: Pure ball strikers I think more than anything else. Very methodical players. Guys that understand the game probably better than anybody else, to be honest. They know what it takes to win.
Q. To that earlier question about the ear buds, sound to a lot of players is very important. And is that something when you're working on a swing, is that something that is important to you or does that give you maybe a little different feedback? And then second question, real quickly is, are there any interesting holes or green light holes out here that you see that you need to try to take advantage of?
IAN POULTER: First question, obviously sound is a huge thing. If you put the ear plugs in or have music in when you're putting obviously you can't hear the sound of the ball off putter fairways but therefore it does give you a slightly different sensation through the fingers, so therefore it should help feel. I've worked on that from time to time.
Second question, green light holes. There's a number of holes providing you get a good tee shot away, which you should be going in with kind of 8, 9 and pitching wedge, if ‑‑ those are the holes I really feel that you should be taking advantage of. You really do need to keep it below the pin. The greens are tiny, as we know. And it is key to put it ‑‑ it's key to put it in the fairway. Not just in play, but it needs to be giving yourself a good look at trying to keep it below the hole so you've got ‑‑ a 20 foot birdie putt uphill is better than a six foot birdie putt downhill. So you'll see a lot of guys trying to be very careful where they position the ball on the green.
Q. In terms of suitability to your game, where would you rank yourself in the U.S. Open among the Majors?
IAN POULTER: I would think it's one of the ones I feel pretty comfortable at. I've been driving the ball not only the last eight weeks but I've generally been driving the ball very solid over the last 18 months and you do have to put it in play around this golf course. You can't afford to be missing fairways at U.S. Opens and expect to be winning the trophy. So with that in mind I feel I'm driving the ball better, over the last couple of days, than I have been and I'm starting to hit my lines nice. So if you are going to drive it well and be good with distance control this week, you definitely are going to have a good chance to win.
Q. Talk about the rise of the young guys like Rory and Ryo and you were a bit of a late bloomer, what were you doing at that age and can you just fathom what these guys are doing at this age and how much of a factor they can be this week?
IAN POULTER: Sure. It's pretty impressive, obviously to see those guys burst on the scene so quickly and win so quickly. I think we all know how good Rory is. Ryo is shooting 58 to win a tournament. They're kind of ahead of the game although certainly they were ahead of where I was. Working in a pro shop, playing off a 4. Selling Mars bars and tee pegs and, yeah I couldn't kind of fathom being able to get out on the golf course and play against the best players in the world and beat them at that stage.
I was eating chocolate and having ham, egg and chips every day, so, you know, these guys are working hard in the gym, hitting hundreds of balls, and winning golf tournaments. It's all very different.
Q. Can you expand a little bit more about what makes Rory unique and whether or not he can contend this week?
IAN POULTER: He for sure can contend this week. He's got great ball flight, the greens are obviously going to be very firm this week, he hits it very high, he hits it long, he likes to shape the ball, and that I think suits this golf course on a number of tee shots. He can work it right‑to‑left and left‑to‑right to kind of stay away from trouble and he's been working hard on his putting, and when he putts very well, he runs close. So he's just very, very good, very, very young. And it's not often you see that.
Q. You've often said that you can turn up to a turn and having not seen the course before it doesn't really matter because you treat the golf course itself almost like walking a map. Have you found that has worked here this week or have you been terribly surprised by some of what you've found?
IAN POULTER: I haven't been surprised, I mean there's a number of holes out there which we have been hitting irons off of and the holes that were downwind kind of I was expecting the ball to run out 20, 25 yards and we had a couple of surprises where the ball would practically run 40 yards. So, yeah I mean your club selection off the tees might change a little bit because of that. The course is definitely going to dry out over the next four days, certainly if the cloud cover passes and we get sunshine like we did today then you're going to have to work out exactly the number you're going to want left and work out how far you've got to pitch it to finish with 40 yards of roll.
But it is a numbers game and provided you can work that out, then you're not going to get any surprises and find yourself running through fairways or running into the ocean and getting caught out. We haven't been really caught out so far but we have come close on a couple of tee shots.
Q. Following up on your response to a couple questions ago about the young guys, Ryo and so forth, do you wish that you had had that kind of thing that they have going when were you that age?
IAN POULTER: I wouldn't want to change anything. I've been quite happy to go through the pro shop for six years and be PGA qualified and have something like that I always felt as a kid that I had something to fall back on. So I wouldn't regret or change anything that I've ever done, so they want to do it their way, I'll do it my way.
Q. A lot's been made about these greens being the smallest on the PGA TOUR. You having played in Europe on the European Tour I know you all see a lot of small greens. Can you comment on that and how it may play to your advantage and to the advantage of some of the Europeans that are out here?
IAN POULTER: I haven't really thought about that. Yes, the greens are very small. But I think ‑‑ I don't think it's an advantage to a European the fact that the greens are small. I mean if you take and have a look at the proximity to the hole that everybody hits it, nowadays, it's generally the guy who putts best at the end of that week as opposed to someone that averages 25 feet from the hole for the week.
So it's definitely going to come down to one of the best ball strikers this week and somebody who is definitely finding their way on the greens. I don't think it's just generally whether Europeans suit small greens as opposed to big greens. I mean we're all, to be honest with you, whether a green's big, whether it's 50, 60 yards deep and 30, 40 yards wide, that's irrelevant. We're not actually looking at how big the green is, we're only kind of looking at a 15 yard radius around the hole of where we want to hit it. So I personally think every green that we actually ever look at is not really a green, it's a 15 foot target. So I think most guys will work from that philosophy.
BETH MURRISON: Ian, thank you so much for joining us today. We wish you well this week.
IAN POULTER: Thanks.