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Ian Poulter feels players pressured in to playing

October 31, 2013

Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter feels the top players are "pressured" into playing too much golf and fears it is affecting their performances.

Speaking at a press conference Wednesday before playing in a pro-am at the $8.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, defending champion Poulter said players who have trimmed back their schedules seemed to be reaping the benefits.

"I feel sometimes we are pressured in some ways to play golf as much as we are. We have to be very, very careful with our schedule to make sure we have a fine balance of a good home life and a good business life to make sure we're playing the best golf we can," he said.

"We've seen a number of players who have shortened their calendar and have done exceptionally well: Tiger (Woods), Adam Scott, Steve Stricker just to name a few."

But with the current structure of the US PGA and European Tours, Poulter said he was resigned to another busy year in 2014.

"Obviously 15 events Stateside, 13 events in Europe, adds up to a lot of tournaments and we have to play a few in the back end of the year to qualify for the (season-ending) DP World Tour Championship."

His comments were a swipe at the new "Final Series" of four events as the European Tour tries to emulate the success of the FedEx Cup playoffs in the United States. The players are required to play at least two of the first three -- two in Shanghai, one in Turkey -- to qualify for the hugely lucrative finale in Dubai.

"I won't be changing my schedule an awful lot to be honest. I'll still maintain my two cards (US and Europe). I need to do that because I want to play Ryder Cup," said the Englishman Poulter.

Playing too much was a fear echoed by current major champions Phil Mickelson (British Open) and Justin Rose (US Open).

Mickelson said he was considering trimming his schedule to focus on the majors next year and, in particular, the US Open, which he needs to win to complete a career slam.

"It took a lot out of me these last couple of months where we played nine out of 12 weeks," said the five-time major winner.

"I think spacing the events is important," said Mickelson. "I will play Memphis (the week before the US Open at Pinehurst), and plan to play the Memorial the week before that.

"I like having a three-week stretch heading into the majors, although next year that will be the only three-week stretch."

Rose said he skipped the BMW Masters in Shanghai last week simply because he did not want to be away from home for four weeks.

"Just very hard for me to be away for a month with two young children, four and two years old," said Rose, adding he was "trying to create a balance in my career".

"It's very hard to justify a month away from home," he said.

There has been disquiet among the players in Shanghai over the past 10 days about the new end-of-season format, given the travelling distances involved to China, Turkey and Dubai - especially for those based in the United States - and the requirement to play two out of the first three events.

Players committee chairman Thomas Bjorn is understood by AFP to be considering holding a meeting of players this week in Shanghai to discuss the way forward. "We may need to tweak it," conceded the big Dane last week, when asked about the "Final Series".

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