Ian Poulter knows he has a target on his back this week but, far from being intimidated by the prospect, he’s positively relishing it.
The Englishman has been singled out by US captain Tom Watson as somebody his side must contain, particularly after he inspired Europe’s stunning comeback at Medinah two years ago. The 38-year-old won all four of his matches to extend his record in the match to 12 wins from 15 appearances.
“I think Ian, with his record - he’s an 80% victory in the matches he’s played in…we’d like to reduce that,” noted Watson.
Ian Poulter’s reply was characteristic of the man: bring it on.
“I take it a huge compliment,” he said when pressed for a response to the American skipper’s comments. “I’m very proud of my record and that I’ve put a lot of blue and yellow on the board.”
It a peculiar anomaly of Ian Poulter’s career that he has been unable to translate his exceptional form as a member of the European Ryder Cup team into individual success in the majors. However, he reckons there’s a fairly straightforward explanation for that.
"He has embraced it, he absolutely loved it.” - Ian Poulter says Bradley is the player most like him in the US team
“When you walk out onto that first tee, the energy from the crowd is the biggest adrenaline rush you could ever have,” he enthused. “It’s very fulfilling. You don’t get that experience in any other form of golf. Majors just aren’t the same.
“I love the Ryder Cup, I enjoy what it stands for. I played a lot of football as a kid and the way I played football is the way I play golf now.”
Because of his formidable record, it would be reasonable to expect that Ian Poulter might feel extra pressure to deliver. If he does, he certainly isn’t admitting it.
“I don’t think that way,” he said. “I think positively. I never wonder ‘what if’ something doesn’t happen. I put enough pressure on myself in the lead in and work hard to make sure that I deliver.”
Poulter also singled out Keegan Bradley as the player on the US side who most reminds him of himself.
“At Medinah, for a day and a half, he was fist pumping like I was fist pumping,” said the world No.38. “You saw the adrenaline in his body. He loved playing with Phil and they were on an incredible run. He has embraced it, he absolutely loved it.”
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