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Ian Poulter full of confidence
May 6, 2010

Ian Poulter has never lacked self-belief and the British world number six will settle for nothing short of victory at this week’s Players Championship.

Buoyed by his first PGA Tour success at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in February, the flamboyant Englishman believes he is capable of winning every tournament in which he competes.

“I’m here to win, it’s as simple as that,” Poulter told reporters Wednesday at the TPC Sawgrass. “If you asked me that question every single week of the year, I’m going to give you the same answer.

“I’m playing to win. I’m not going to be happy to take anything other than a win. If I finish second, I’m going to be disappointed this week. I’m here to win golf tournaments.”

Two years ago, Poulter ruffled more than a few feathers when he was quoted in a magazine as saying he could challenge Tiger Woods for the top ranking were he to fulfill his own potential.

Those comments, which Poulter claimed were taken out of context, raised several chuckles among his peers on the U.S. circuit and Woods jokingly dubbed the Englishman “number two”.

“I didn’t quite say it was just me and Tiger (but) I just felt that if I could deliver what I believed I could, then I could put myself in a good situation,” Poulter recalled.

Over the last two years, Poulter has backed up his comments with a string of superb displays in golf’s biggest events.

He finished second at the 2008 British Open and was runner-up at the 2009 Players Championship, the tournament considered the “fifth major” by the players.

His PGA Tour breakthrough at this year’s Accenture Match Play, where he beat compatriot Paul Casey in the 36-hole final, was followed by a tie for 10th at last month’s Masters.

“I want to win golf tournaments and I feel my game is good enough,” Poulter said. “I should feel disappointed if I walk away without winning if I’ve played well.”

The 34-year-old has been drawn with Americans Woods and Hunter Mahan for the first two rounds at Sawgrass and he embraced the challenge of the anticipated media frenzy.

“I have played with him (Woods) a number of times,” said Poulter, who has recovered from a knee injury that prevented him from competing at the Quail Hollow Championship last week.

“It will be obviously very busy, a great atmosphere. I’m very much looking forward to it.”

Woods’s form has been one of the big talking points at Sawgrass after the 14-times major winner missed the cut at Quail Hollow following a surprisingly inept display.

He recently returned to golf after a self-imposed break of five months following sordid revelations about extra-marital affairs but Poulter said he would never underestimate the game’s top-ranked player.

“I think everybody was a little shocked last week but you can never write the number one in the world off at any stage,” added the Englishman, a nine-times winner on the European Tour.

“He needs two shots or an hour on the range to find a swing … and all of a sudden he’s out there winning golf tournaments.”

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