This is the first in a new series of interviews in Q&A form called Undressed, profiling dynamic, influential golf personalities. Look for a new 'Undressed' monthly.
Ian James Poulter is one of golf’s unique personalities. Known for his gritty determiantion and flair for style, Ian was was the unquestionable star of the 2012 Ryder Cup.
In addition to being one of the best golfers in the world, Ian has expanded his success to the business world, having launched IJP Design, www.ijpdesign.com, his apparel and lifestyle brand in 2007. IJP Design can now be found in over 30 countries around the world. Chapeau Noir Golf recently caught up with Ian to get some insight into what makes Ian tick.
Chapeau Noir Golf: You followed-up your dramatic play and stirring victory at the Ryder Cup with a great stroke play win at the WGC- HSBC Champions event in China. How would you rank your 2012 season and what can you attribute your success to?
Ian James Poulter: I think the best way to describe the 2012 season is consistent, it has been well over a year since I missed a cut and I have played solid for a long time. I have to attribute my late season success to patience and determination, not getting the results I felt I was playing well enough to achieve early in the season was frustrating but I knew if I hung in there I would eventually see the fruits of my labor.
CNG: Besides your on course success you have become extremely successful off the course with IJP Design. Tell us about what led you to the design business.
IJP: I have always had a a high level of interest in fashion and clothing, as soon as I had the opportunity to start my own brand I jumped at the chance. I have always believed in our company mantra of "be yourself" and when you where IJP Design clothing it gives you the opportunity to do just that.
CNG: You obviously spend most of your energies on your full-time job, playing golf. However with IJP Design now available in 30 countries, how much time and to what extent are you involved with IJP Design.
IJP: As you mention most of my time goes towards practicing and preparing for golf tournaments. I have a great team in place at IJP Design and they do a great job of keeping me informed of what is going on without creating any distractions for me, I am extremely fortunate to have found such a creative and hard working group of people.
CNG: When you turned pro you were a four handicapper. With the amount of great young talent on tour now how hard would it be for a four handicapper to achieve the type of success you have had on tour?
IJP: No matter what handicap you start at making it on tour is extremely difficult, especially the PGA Tour where they have now changed the Q school rules. Regardless of handicap or pedigree I think the most important thing is to believe in yourself, if you can do that then pretty much anything is possible, I am living proof of that.
CNG: Your home base is Orlando. What prompted you to move your family to the States full time and was it a difficult decision?
IJP: The decision to move to Orlando was based around the number of tournaments I now play in the US each year, by having my family in the states it means I can see them a lot more than I would have been able to should we be based in the UK. As touring golfers we spend enough time away from our families, it is extremely important to me to see them as much as possible!
CNG: One of your other noted hobbies is collecting high priced/fast automobiles. We noticed that they are all white-a little bit surprising considering how much color there is in your clothing collection. What started your fascination with expensive cars and do you have a favorite?
IJP: I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie and have always loved fast cars. I love a number of different cars but in the last few years I have become a huge fan of Ferrari's, the history behind the brand and the cars is truly remarkable and something I have really enjoyed learning about.
CNG: Getting back to IJP Design. Earlier in your career you were famous for wearing some pretty outlandish outfits. While your new collection has a great deal of style to it, it is a bit more mainstream. Have you mellowed or just changed with the marketplace?
IJP: I wouldn't call any of our clothing mainstream! The thing I am most proud of with our collections at IJP Design is how comprehensive they are. They really do allow you to mix and match and put together outfits that match the way you are feeling that day and that are appropriate for the occasion. If you want to stand out from the crowd you can, if you are going for a more subtle look then you can do that too, that is the real beauty of our line and something our designers should be commended for. I obviously wore some pretty daring outfits, they were a lot of fun and really helped establish me and IJP Design as a brand.
CNG: Charity seems to be very important to you. Is there any one charity that really touches your heart?
IJP: Charity is extremely important to me, I am extremely fortunate to have been as successful as I have and giving back is something that I and all of my colleagues on the PGA & European Tour love to do. There a number of different charities that are close to my heart but I have a special affinity to Dreamflight in the UK and the Nemours Children's Hospital here in Orlando.
CNG: You are very active in social media including over 1.4 million followers on Twitter. How has social media changed the way you interact with your fans, clients and general public? Has this changed the way you are perceived in public?
IJP: Social media has completely changed the way we can communicate with people. I can share my views, thoughts and general day to day experiences with millions of people at the touch of a button, it is awesome! It also allows them to tell me how they are feeling whether it be good or bad! LOL. I have always tried to be myself and I think Twitter has allowed more people to get a taste of what I am like and who I am, some people like it, some people don't........you can't please everybody!
CNG: As a globetrotting world class athlete (Ian just traveled 120,000 miles in 6 weeks) what are two or three things you can’t travel without?
IJP: That’s easy.....my phone (to keep in touch with everyone) my ipad (so I can watch all my favorite movies and shows on the long flights) and headphones, you have to have a great pair of noise cancelling headphones so you can get some rest on the flights!
CNG: Finally, If you can give one fashion tip to the average golfer, what would it be?
IJP: "Be yourself!!!"
CNG: Thank you Ian. Best of luck in 2013.