Ryder Cup: ‘Tournament should build a statue for Ian Poulter’
When Ian Poulter was picked for this Ryder Cup – he did not qualify remember – he said he was going to “pour some passion over the holes at Medinah”. Well, when it came it was a torrent.
Poulter’s five closing birdies late on Saturday night to give himself and Rory McIlroy a one-up victory over Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner did at least give Europe something to get excited about heading into the final day’s play.
“I have never felt anything like it,” Poulter said afterwards. “It was absolutely unbelievable.
“We’ve been outplayed – that’s dead simple – but it meant so much to the team and we have a slim chance. That team room is absolutely buzzing right now.”
The 36-year-old is the eighth lowest-ranked member of the 12-strong side, but once again – almost in the spirit of the late Seve Ballesteros – he was often their heartbeat in Medinah.
It was Poulter’s third win out of three in the match, his sixth victory in a row and his 11th in his last 13 cup games.
No wonder captain Jose Maria Olazabal, who still believes he did the right thing omitting Poulter from the first day fourballs, said: “I think the Ryder Cup should build a statue for him.
“That’s why we say that he has such a special character for this event. He thrives, he loves to be in the spotlight, loves to be in that kind of situation.
“There’s a story about Poulter. I saw him at Celtic Manor on the Monday when every player was getting ready (to play singles). That look you saw on 18 tonight, he has it at all times.
“I looked straight at him with the intention of saying a few words and said ‘OK, you’re ready, you can go’. He looked at me and said ‘yes - and I can guarantee you a point’. That’s Poulter at the Ryder Cup.”
Olazabal was asked if he was reminded of anybody.
“There’s one that is not here with us any more [Ballesteros, of course], but I’m pretty sure that when he looks down on us he must have been proud of what he saw.”
Poulter and McIlroy trailed with six to go on Saturday and it was the world No 1’s 15-footer for birdie that started them off on a sensational back-nine 29. Poulter’s putt ended a memorable day that began with him matching Bubba Watson by rousing the crowd to make whatever noise they wanted as each teed off.
“I’ve done it once in Phoenix,” he said.
“It’s very daunting to stand there and hit a first tee shot. It’s even more daunting when they’re screaming and going bananas, but he was going to do it to us, so I done it back to him.
“Your heart rate goes from 80 to 180 – but you can’t do it all the time!”
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Friday 24 May 2013
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