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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 January 2008, 15:30 GMT
Poulter backtracks over comments
Ian Poulter (left) and Tiger Woods
Poulter is gunning to become Woods's main rival
Ian Poulter claims he was "misquoted" after comments attributed to him about being the only serious rival to Tiger Woods appeared in a golf magazine.

"I just don't rate anyone else," he was quoted as saying in the March edition of Golf World. "Don't get me wrong, I respect everyone who is a professional.

"But I know I haven't played to my full potential. And when that happens it will just be me and Tiger."

But in Dubai, an angry Poulter said: "It was taken out of context."

The world number 22 added: "That's how it has come out but that's not how it was said and that's a shame...a great shame.

"When you do an interview three months ago, it's hard to try and go back in your mind and think exactly what you did say and how the question was asked.

"And then you do remember and you have given an answer to a question that's very lengthy and a small piece gets quoted, it gets taken out of context and that's unfair, very, very unfair."

I couldn't get my word in before everybody else has tried to humiliate me

Ian Poulter

The 32-year-old Poulter was pictured nude in the magazine with only a golf bag guarding his modesty.

Responding to a question about who would win the Masters, he reportedly said: "Put Tiger down for that one".

And for the year's second major, the US Open, he said: "You can put me down for that one".

He did, though, add that Woods was "one in 10 million".

But, speaking in Dubai, Poulter defended the idea that he could be a viable challenger to the 32-year-old American.

"As long as he's playing golf I'm not going to get to number one, so number two is the spot," he said.

"Justin (Rose) has moved up so far in the world rankings last year. If he has the same year he had last year this year, there's a chance of him taking the number two spot.

"So to say it would be a dream to see Tiger Woods and then me in the world rankings as you look down, what's wrong with saying that.

"Is it being rude? Is it being disrespectful to everybody else? I don't think so.

"I have respect for everybody that plays golf. I play against them week-in, week-out. They are my friends. That's not how it was supposed to come out and that's not how I believe I actually said that. If it's been published the way it has then it's a great shame."

He added: "I'm not going to turn up at a golf tournament and not want to win, so why should I say who is going to win a golf tournament, I might as well say me."

606: DEBATE

Poulter said he had been shocked to see how much adverse reaction there had been following leaks of his comments to newspapers.

"The phone is ringing, you wake up in the morning or put the telly on, you put the internet on and it's that story and the story is that I couldn't get my word in before everybody else has tried to humiliate me," he said.

Poulter, known for his colourful taste in clothes, did defend his decision to agree to pose almost naked in the photographs.

"You know, everyone sees me with my clothes on week-in, week-out," said Poulter, a member of Europe's victorious 2004 Ryder Cup team at Oakland Hills.

"It's a bit different when you have your clothes off, isn't it. I thought they were different and I always like doing different things.

"It would be a boring cover shot if I'm standing there in a pair of trousers and a T-shirt. It wouldn't have had the same impact."



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