Playing The Game In Style: Interview With Golfing Superstar Ian Poulter
We sit down with British super star Ian Poulter to talk golf and fashion. Here is what he said.
LLM: How would you assess your season so far? It goes without saying that the primary goal of the season is to capture a major, but how will you look back at 2013 if you don’t manage to achieve that?
Ian: “The season got off to a good start at the beginning of the year, but has been slightly disappointing, for the standards I set for myself, in the middle. That being said I’m still positive about my prospects for the rest of 2013, I’m really looking forward to having a good summer and a really strong back end of the year. Ryder Cup points for Gleneagles 2014 can start being accumulated from September onwards, so I’m really keen to kick start from the French open and continue moving forward.”
LLM: Does the British Open hold special significance for you over the other majors? Do you revel in home crowd support or do you prefer to play overseas where you might be under the radar a bit more?
Ian: “Yes, of course, it’s the home major. I absolutely love it. I don’t shy away from home support or feel an added sense of pressure, it always gives you a lift to know that the crowd is behind you and wanting you to do well. I’ve always received a great reception from British golf fans and hopefully it will be the same for the rest of my career.”
LLM: How important is the world ranking system to you?
Ian: “It’s everything. Just like any other sport or profession, you want to be acknowledged as the best you can be and, if you have the confidence and self-belief, the best in the world. The world ranking system is the method by which the best players in the world are identified, and as such it is something I want to be as high up in as possible. We’ve had a good period in British golf in the last few years with Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and of course Rory McIlroy all reaching world number one, and I’d love to add my name to that list at some point in the near future.”
LLM: Do you do any training/coaching to improve your management of the mental side of the game? Do you think that this is a big part of being successful?
Ian: “No, I don’t but if you think you need it then of course it’s a big part of the game. Sport at the highest level is in part mental and well as physical, and there are plenty of examples in other sports where working with a sports psychologist or someone similar has dramatically improved their career. That being said, it’s not something I’ve thought too much about.”
LLM: How do you go about managing your schedule with so many tournaments available to play? Is that a decision you take advice from people around you on and what are the critical factors in making those decisions?
Ian: “It’s all down to me. I choose where I want to play and when I want to play. There are key tournaments across the year that I would never want to miss, and then others which act as good preparation for major competitions. It’s all about balancing your schedule properly, and I am the best person to know where and when I should be playing to achieve the best results I can.”
LLM: What’s your favourite course you’ve played? Are there courses that host the majors that suite your game more than others?
Ian: “I really love Augusta, in part because we get to play it every year. The aura of The Masters is spine-tingling, the place contains so much golfing history, the course is always pristine, and the scorecard is packed with iconic holes, so it’s always a privilege and a joy when you get to play there each year.”
LLM: How important are commercial agreements in golf? Is there competition between pros to get the best sponsorships/deals?
Ian: “There’s no competition between pros for deals. Commercial agreements are different for every player. You try and align yourself with the right brand, and look for one that you feel is the right fit for yourself.”
LLM: You have your own golf clothing line, IJP Design, how did that come about?
Ian: “I have always been interested in fashion, from a very young age. My Mum worked in the fashion industry, and one of my first jobs was as a merchandiser at a market! So I think you definitely need to have an interest in what you wear and what looks good. My philosophy has always been ‘Look Good, Play Great’ – this may not be as important to others but it works for me!”
LLM: Where does inspiration come from for the range?
Ian: “I draw inspiration in a variety of ways both on and off the course, but current trends in the game particularly appeal and influence me. There is extensive research involved with the design process to make sure we’re creating lines that are on trend and versatile.”
LLM: How much influence do you have in the designs/fabrics for the collections?
Ian: “I have a great team of designers that put together the collections and colours. I regularly give feedback on performance, comfort and look and they do a great job of incorporating all my thoughts and ideas into the finished product. I am extremely proud of the product we are putting out into the market.”
LLM: How do you feel the IJP Design collection has grown since the first range was launched?
Ian: “The collection has come so far – we’ve grown quickly and really listened to what golfers want from what they wear. Our junior range launched last year and is doing brilliantly. There’s been a huge demand for a ladies range which we’re launching later this year, and we’re currently expanding our market to focus on Korea and the USA. The focus now is on the technical fabrics and designs as well as the style of the pieces to make sure we’re offering the best products on the market. I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved so far.”