Ryder Cup 2012: Chicago fightback gives golf global lift
Ian Poulter has been the heartbeat of Europe’s team in the past three Ryder Cups and reiterated last night that he would not swap his memories from the biennial event for a maiden victory in a major championship.
Captain Jose Maria Olazabal compared the 36-year-old Englishman to the late, great Seve Ballesteros after Europe produced a remarkable fightback from 10-6 down to beat the United States 14.5 to 13.5 in Chicago on Sunday. “I haven’t won a major and everyone keeps telling me I haven’t won a major,” Poulter told the American television channel CNBC. “But, for me, the Ryder Cup has been my major and I wouldn’t trade my memories or my time in the Ryder Cup. That trophy has meant so much to so many people over the years.”
Poulter, repeatedly displaying an eye-bulging, fist-pumping passion, has won 11 out of 13 points in the past three editions of the biennial team event. Poulter, partnering Rory McIlroy, birdied the last five holes of Saturday afternoon’s fourballs match against Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson to earn a priceless point for Europe and keep alive their hopes of retaining the trophy. On Sunday, the Englishman followed up by beating US Open champion Webb Simpson by two holes in the singles after conjuring a breathtaking birdie from the trees at the 18th hole. “Sunday was very special,” said world No 26 Poulter. “We had to silence the fans. What our comeback on Sunday did for the game of golf globally was very special.”
Meanwhile, the American side have turned their attention to the Presidents Cup as they try and put their Ryder Cup meltdown behind them. Fred Couples, who was assistant captain to Davis Love III during the weekend’s massive disappointment, was at Muirfield in Dublin, Ohio, yesterday to promote the event a year early.
Couples said he would welcome pairing veterans such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker with younger players like Jason Dufner, Bubba Watson or Keegan Bradley. Of the Ryder Cup collapse, he said: “I knew it was going to be close. But I didn’t think we wouldn’t get one point from someone we needed.”
He added many of the Ryder Cup players – after what he termed a “horrific Sunday” – are not making any plans for the near future.
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