EURASIA CUP presented by DRB-HICOM
Thursday, January 14, 2016
PAUL SYMES: Thanks for joining us. Ross, you’ve obviously played in The Ryder Cup before, got a wealth of experience in match play. Looking forward to the responsibility of maybe taking Kristoffer under your wing a little bit in fourballs?
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, definitely. I obviously have a little bit more experience than Kristoffer, but I think we’re just going to go out there and have some fun. He’s playing well, won a Final Series event last year, so it’s a good, solid pairing, so hopefully we can gel well together and make as many birdies as we can.
PAUL SYMES: Ian, important to get off to a fast start and get an early point on the board?
IAN POULTER: For sure, when you look at the lineup right now, there’s a lot of youngsters on this team. Westy and I kind of bring up the rear end of the age group there. We’ll definitely hold a bit of experience and we’re there for reassurance to the young guys. Obviously it’s going to be very new to them and a number of this team are going to find themselves there in September, as well.
So if there’s any questions or if there’s any experience that we can hand over to these guys, then that’s what we’re there for. Obviously going out there in match one tomorrow, try to put a point on the board, we’ve got obviously a tough match tomorrow but hopefully we can go out there and do a good job.
PAUL SYMES: Obviously first time at the EurAsia Cup. You’re out last. How much do you enjoy the prospect of going out with Lee in the final group?
CHRIS WOOD: Yeah, for me, Lee is probably the ideal partner for me in fourballs. Like Ian said, to have somebody with that sort of experience, I can only learn from someone like that. I’m pleased Clarkey has put me out with Lee tomorrow.
Q. Can I ask again, so much is being said about you turning 40, but do you feel 40?
IAN POULTER: Maybe after last weekend, yeah, I feel probably 40. It was a long weekend in Vegas. But no, I mean, in my mind, I don’t feel 40 at all. I feel it’s just another year. I feel I’ve got a lot of mileage left in this body. I’m a confident person, and I feel 2016 is going to be a big year for me. I need to get back to my best golf.
I need to — I’ve sat down and analysed what has not been as good in the last couple of years, and I’m working hard to continue to improve, and obviously that’s right there for me to do.
Q. With so much talk about The Ryder Cup, does that take away from the challenge of the EurAsia Cup? Of course Ryder Cup being what it is, it’s a much bigger thing, and a lot of the youngsters on your team have an eye on The Ryder Cup in September. But for starters, what does this mean?
IAN POULTER: What does this mean? This is obviously very new and obviously this is only the second one. But when you look at The Ryder Cup, it’s played every two years, and obviously this is thrown into that kind of ten months before The Ryder Cup; I think it is a very good steppingstone for the guys, and certainly Darren to be able to take a lot of notes out of this week.
As I said earlier, you’re going to have a lot of guys playing on this team that are going to find themselves on The Ryder Cup side. That’s going to mean invaluable data for Darren to see how guys perform, see how guys play as pairings. And it helps a lot.
Obviously this event is an event that needs to grow. Asian golf has started to grow over the last five years, ten years, and I think it’s very fitting for us to be able to have this event, which is definitely going to continue to grow in the next five or ten years.
Q. Would he have all seen the image of you fist-pumping and how much it means to you. Can you explain what it is that’s so special about representing Europe?
IAN POULTER: It’s a team environment and it doesn’t happen often enough. When you get a good group of guys together, ten guys last time, 12 this time; there’s something about being able to have other teammates around to be able to talk to, to be able to laugh and joke with, and also to be able to gain a lot of experience. This EurAsia Cup is something that means a lot to both teams and it certainly means a lot to these European players.
The reason why I certainly like Ryder Cup and obviously this format is because it’s the purest form of golf. It’s match play. You see your opponent right in the face and you can go out there and you can make a difference: You can hole a chip shot; you can hole a bunker shot; you can hole a long putt; you can turn a match around. In stroke-play events, that doesn’t really happen, but in match play, it does.
The second you hit that first tee shot, you want to get your opponent off the golf course as soon as possible. This format really excites me.
PAUL SYMES: Maybe talk about your pairings, sending Ian out first; your thoughts from the start?
DARREN CLARKE: Obviously we all know Poults. We know what he brings to the team. We know what he brings to the team room. And to have him leading off Europe, we couldn’t ask for a better player. With Bernd, you’ve got a very, very young, exciting talent, who won The French Open last year, on one of our most difficult golf courses and won comfortably; a very strong pairing. I could say the same about everyone.
You go down to Danny and Fitz, two young guys — everybody has been playing wonderful in practise. Victor and SÃ¸ren, the whole match with Ross and Chris, and finishing off with Lee and Willy, very strong pairing, as well. There isn’t one pairing there that stands out to be stronger than anything else. The team have been, as I said, wonderful to work with this week. It’s been a pleasure for me to try and figure a few things out. I have had a few ideas and so far they are listening to me. I feel very fortunate and humble that I am their captain this week.
Q. What kind of a taste does this give to you in these first two, three days, as for your Ryder Cup ambitions?
CHRIS WOOD: Well, like Ian said, being amongst the team for a start, and being captain under Darren who is obviously The Ryder Cup captain this week, it will give me a huge insight into what it could be like at The Ryder Cup.
Obviously Ross has been there at Celtic Manor. He’s one step further down the line that I am. But there’s six or seven guys in my position this week that are going to be learning the same sort of stuff.
So I’m not on my own, which is great, but then we’ve got the experience of Ian, Lee, Ross and Victor who have all played Ryder Cup. That’s what, like Ian said, they are there the in team room and they can speak to them and pick their brains, and that’s why for me, playing with Lee tomorrow is sort of the perfect sort of pairing for me.
Q. Is the draw blind?
DARREN CLARKE: They are all blind. We put the names in and Jeev doesn’t know what order I’ve put mine in, I don’t know what order he’s put his in. It’s just the way that the luck of the draw comes out. Certainly I’m very pleased with what I’ve seen — in fairness, it could be any draw. I have that much belief in my team that whatever the draw was going to be.
Q. Ross, you started playing really well towards the middle and end of the year last year, and knowing that The Ryder Cup is again coming in year, how does that — how is the year going to pan out for you, do you think? How are you looking forward to it?
ROSS FISHER: Yeah, obviously The Ryder Cup is in everyone’s thoughts. Obviously it’s great this week to have our Ryder Cup Captain captain us this week. I’m just excited to be here. I’ve never played in this event before. Like you say, I’ve experienced The Ryder Cup, experienced Seve Trophys and similar to Poults, I just love the whole team environment.
It feels like we’ve got a real good bond. We’ve got a real good mix of players, a lot of youth and inexperience, and like Poults and Westy, we’ve got a lot of experience. Obviously having a captain like Darren that’s played umpteen Ryder Cups and been a vice himself, it’s just a real positive vibe among everyone.
As for me personally, this is a great start to the year for me, not having played any tournaments. The Ryder Cup is something that I’ve experienced once, and I think someone — once you’ve experienced once The Ryder Cup, don’t want to miss it and I definitely felt that in 2012, 2014. I’d like to be back in the team but I know looking at the paperer in front of me, there’s a lot of good players that are here, a lot of good players that aren’t here, that are going to be fighting to be on that team.
I need to go out and have a good week this week and then try and press from this week onto upcoming tournaments and get myself back into the majors and just try and put in a good, solid performance. If I play well, hopefully I have a chance. But it’s in my own hands to play well and try and make Darren’s team.
Q. The shirt —
DARREN CLARKE: It was such a thoughtful present for all of his teammates to sign his shirt and give it to him. He couldn’t get rid of it.
IAN POULTER: It was a lovely thought. But I think I’ll auction it off for charity because it won’t be coming in my house. It will be very fitting in somebody’s house but it won’t be fitting in minor my closet.
DARREN CLARKE: It will make a suitcase home —
IAN POULTER: If it makes a suitcase, I can tell you one thing, it won’t be my suitcase. (Laughter).
Q. You’re the last man in. Is that going to be a factor at all?
IAN POULTER: Last man in, meaning?
IAN POULTER: Well, who knows? I haven’t had as much heat as everybody else, so it might be the best thing. We’ll have to wait and see.
PAUL SYMES: Thanks very much and best of luck.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports