What to do with Ian Poulter.
That’s just one of the many problems US captain Tom Watson is dealing with this week. And it’s an itch no other US captain has managed to scratch.
Poulter, nicknamed ‘The Postman’, as he always delivers, has 12 wins from 15 matches in the Ryder Cup. Watson, 65, feels that stopping him might be the key to the United States grabbing their first Ryder Cup win on European soil since 1993, ironically, the last time he captained the US side.
"I think Ian, with his record – he’s an 80% victory in the matches he’s played in…we’d like to reduce that.” - Tom Watson
“Right now, we’ve got a lot of players to look at,” said Watson, who was sitting next to European captain Paul McGinley yesterday as the two met the press for the first time at Gleneagles this week. “I think Ian, with his record – he’s an 80% victory in the matches he’s played in…we’d like to reduce that.”
The last time the United States won the trophy, at Valhalla in 2008, Poulter won three of his four matches. Even in defeat, he stands out.
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Tom Watson also highlighted world No.1 Rory McIlroy, who he called “the stud” of the European side, as one to bring down a peg or two.
“Certainly, whenever you beat the stud on the opposing team, that gives your team a boost, no question,” he said. “But when it’s all said and done, it’s 12 guys out there trying to win a point each match.”
Tom Watson :: US has great team spirit
Watson said the plane journey over to Scotland gave his team a further chance to bond and get to know the members of the PGA of America, who are always a strong force within the United States Ryder Cup backroom. But he says he’s never short of being busy doing his duties as captain.
“It seems like I’m constantly doing housekeeping stuff as a captain,” he said. He’s not banned his players from social media, instead saying they are all “media savvy” to deal with any issues.
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He also faced questions regarding Rickie Fowler’s new haircut – he’s shaved ‘USA’ into the right side of his head - but said it was “great” and “terrific”. “It brings a spirit to the team,” he added.
Watson also said that he had some “pretty solid pairings” already in his mind, which would suggest the unbeaten pairing of Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson – they won all three matches together at Medinah in 2012 - would likely resume.
“They will evolve throughout the match, depending on how well or how poor you do. We have a pretty good idea what they are going to be on Friday.”