How Ian Poulter prepares for an Open Championship
How does Ian Poulter prepare for the Open Championship?
For four straight days, Poulter's sponsor, HSBC, has released a short video feature highlighting what Poulter does each day before the tournament. From getting his many outfits picked out ahead of time to his superstitions, Poulter's pre-tournament routine is quite interesting.
Would you expect anything else from one of golf's most colorful personalities, though?
Here's a little bit of what Poulter does each day, along with links to the videos:
• • •
Travel day: picking out the wardrobe, packing the suitcases and getting relaxed.
"It's hard to be in the zone for seven straight days," Poulter said. "I think what you have to do is slowly build into the week."
Once he arrives at his rental home for the Open, Poulter makes sure everything is in order and ready to go, including getting his outfits picked out for each day, pressing and ironing his clothes, and lining his shoes, belts and hats out.
"The more stuff I already have taken care of and done and checked off in my OCD box, the easier it is for me to be able to focus on the job in hand, " he said.
• • •
Arrival day at the course: checking in, moving into your locker and, of course, getting tickets.
"Everybody wants a ticket," Poulter said. "Everybody becomes your friend."
Then it's practice time for Poulter.
Poulter said Muirfield is unique in that a number of the holes play opposite winds. But he still loves links golf.
"I like hitting the low-driving chip-and-run shot from 190 yards out with a 2-iron," Poulter said.
"It's a fearless golf course. . . . you really do have to be on your game," he added.
One thing about the Open that Poulter is looking forward to is playing in front of the fans.
"The best fans in the world," he said.
• • •
The busiest day of the week for Poulter: A full round of golf to "asses the book, assess the course, get the right line off the tee," he said.
Of course Poulter goes over the information with his caddie of six-plus years, Terry Mundy.
"He really is the jockey that kind of needs to bring that horse home," Poulter said.
Poulter said he doesn't have any superstitions, but then rattles off a list of some:
• He never uses No. 3 golf balls.
• He never marks a ball with a coin tails up
• He never carries more than three tees, and he always uses a white tee
• His bag has to be neat and his clubs always have to be in the right slots
"Yeah, but I don't have any superstitions," Poulter quipped.
Poulter said he learns something new every day he plays. The urgency to win a major grows along with that experience.
"The years are rolling," Poulter said. "I'm 37. I'm not getting any younger, so I've got to work harder to win one of these big tournaments."
• • •
The most important day of preparation: An hour on the range, an hour on the short-game area, and that's it for Poulter, who said he normally doesn't pay any holes at all on the Wednesday before an Open.
"I never ever come to Wednesday thinking,'Oh, I'm playing bad; I'm going to have a bad week,'" Poulter said. "If I'm not playing to my best I still think I have a chance to win. . . . You have to start that week believing you have a chance to win because if you don't then you might as well just put your clubs away and go home."
As for working on his mental game, Poulter relies on his own judgment.
"I'm too mental to have a mental coach," he said. "I think any mental coach or psychologists will probably need some psychology themselves after a session with me. And I think I understand what's going on in there (my head) more than anyone else."
Poulter said he'll bring about 18 clubs to an Open Championship and depending on the wind he'll choose a different combination of clubs – "It could very well be that we change the morning of a round of golf," he said.
"Get my mind away from the golf and relax that complex brain so that it's fresh and ready to go for Thursday," Poulter said.
• • •
On Thursday, it's game on for Poulter as he attempts to win his first major championship.
"The Claret Jug, for me, is the one trophy you need your name etched on," Poulter said.