SHEBOYGAN, Wisconsin (TBEN) – Ian Poulter is a very good player writing the final chapters of a very good career – 17 world wins, $ 27 million in earnings and no major titles but enough top 30 and top 10 not to never be overlooked.
When he swaps his iconic plaid pants for a European Ryder Cup uniform, as he does this week at Whistling Straits, he transforms into something even better.
Specifically, Poulter becomes an adrenaline rush that can crank the ‘W’s’ while getting under almost anyone’s skin, whether it’s Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, or even Michael Jordan. His teammates call him “The Postman” – because in Ryder Cup time, he always keeps his promises.
“I’ve never really sat down to try to assess how it happens and why it happens,” Poulter said Wednesday when asked about the games and the Ryder Cup bringing out the best of him. “It’s just a very simple form of golf.”
Poulter enters the seventh Ryder Cup of his career at No. 50, the lowest ranking of the 24 players who will compete from Friday. But there was no doubt that Padraig Harrington would use one of his captain’s choices to ensure that the 45-year-old Englishman, an avid Arsenal fan who is also a sports car collector, would be in the game. team.
“You have players that you just want to focus on golfing,” Harrington said. “And you have other players who want a little bit hectic week, and Ian is the one who can take that pressure and deal with it.”
Poulter is 14-6-2 in his previous six Ryder Cups. He is 5-0-1 in singles. He was part of five winning teams and only one loser.
He eliminated Woods, with whom he has an interesting and not always fluid past, as well as Phil Mickelson and Johnson. Also, Matt Kuchar. Kuchar was on his way to winning the silver PGA Tour title in 2010 when the United States and Europe came to Celtic Manor. He was paired with Poulter, who was warming up for their singles match when a Sky Sports reporter stopped him on the pitch for a quick pre-match interview.
“I’ll deliver my point,” Poulter guaranteed.
He did. The 5 and 4 win was the biggest blowout for Europe as it clung to a one point win.
Although Poulter had scored four points two years earlier at Valhalla, it ended in a loss. It came in a victory, and thus, a legend was born.
But the match that could best illustrate the impact he had on these Ryder Cup teams came in Medinah in 2012, when Poulter netted five straight birdies to end the four-ball game on Saturday afternoon. and allow him, along with Rory McIlroy, a 1 win over Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner.
This sparked a return to the final for the Europeans en route to a 14 1 / 2-13 1/2 victory. Most notably, he came with none other than Jordan, a longtime American golf fan and honorary vice-captain, following the game against Poulter. At one point, Jordan dug his finger into Poulter’s chest in hopes of killing his momentum as he made his way to the 16th green.
It did not work.
“In the Ryder Cup, he has it,” Jordan said in a 2014 interview with The Golf Channel. “I don’t know how, what he does. He has it. I learned not to play with Poulter. I can’t get under his skin.
Poulter can, on the other hand, get under the skin of others.
“He thinks he can beat anyone,” Billy Horschel told Golf Digest earlier this year. “He’s not the guy you want to play. He grinds things up.… He puts you in your head. He’s Ian off a tee. And that’s why he’s so great.”
“A bit of a pot,” is how Harrington described Poulter, using a British term for a person people either love or hate.
Poulter, who also has two match-play championships under his belt at regular events, said the strategy and excitement that emanates from man-to-man (or 2-on-2) confrontations puts more emphasis on things. for him. .
“Stroke play, you get into position,” he said. ” That’s not the case here. You can’t expect a par to win a hole.
He says it brings out the best in him. Others think it brings out the worst. Poulter doesn’t care.
“I’m sure I got bored a lot,” Poulter said. “I mean, my percentage has been really good, for me, and not for the guys I’ve played against. So I’m sure it’s quite frustrating to be the recipient of it. “
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