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Ian Poulter plays down injury

Britain's Ian Poulter seemed relatively unconcerned after hurting his left hand during practice for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Golf Championship which begins on Thursday.

The stylish Poulter, with the blond-tipped hair and exotic wardrobe, played down the extent of the injury.

"It's a bit sore," the 30-year-old Ryder Cup player told reporters on Tuesday. "I played about seven holes out there just now and it's pretty painful.

"It's nothing serious (though), I just need to keep icing it."

World number 63 Poulter, who wore striking Union Jack-patterned trousers at the 2004 British Open, said he would be launching his own clothes range at the end of the year.

"As long as I feel comfortable in what I am wearing, I am happy," he said. "If I feel I look good then that (wearing outlandish clothes) doesn't put any extra pressure on me."

Poulter is looking forward to taking on a high-class field at the European Tour event in Abu Dhabi which will include world number two Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia of Spain, fellow Briton Colin Montgomerie and American pair Chris DiMarco and John Daly.

"It will be great to compete with so many high-ranked players," said Poulter.

"I'm really looking forward to playing here. I'm feeling comfortable right now and, more importantly, my golf game is in shape."

Paul Casey, who won the China Open in November, was not quite as upbeat as his compatriot.

"My game is not bad, I think it could be a bit rusty," said Casey. "I've had a lot of range golf for the last three weeks and I need to quickly remember how to shoot a low number.

"I just have to play some golf. It could be very good this week or it could be rusty."

Course superintendent Mike Clarke said the Abu Dhabi Golf Club would test the skills of the best players in the field.

"We have built new tees on some of the holes to add some length to the course," said Clarke. "We have also added bunkers and grown the rough so that the course is a bit more of a test and ready to host a tournament like this.

"It's quite a length for a championship course at more than 7,300 yards."

January 18, 2006


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