Ryder Cup 2021: Bernd Wiesberger aims to 'channel inner Ian Poulter'

History-maker Bernd Wiesberger is aiming to “channel my inner Ian Poulter” on his Ryder Cup debut, which is making people “super-excited” in Austria.

The 35-year-old played in the same group as Poulter during a practice round at Whistling Straits on Tuesday, suggesting that Padriag Harrington plans to play them together at some point in the 43rd edition of the biennial bout.

“I've played for Europe together with Ian in the EurAsia Cup a couple of years back,” said Wiesberger, who secured one of the automatic spots on the European team with a stong finish to the qualifying campaign.

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“I feel like Ian and myself are very similar in character and we have good banter and good fun on and off the golf course.

“You can imagine it's always quite entertaining when you're standing on the golf course with Ian, regardless if it's the Ryder Cup or whenever.”

Poulter, who is making his seventh appearance in the event, has an unrivalled passion when it comes to taking on the Americans. As putts drop, he celebrates by beating his chest as his eyes look as though they could pop out of his head.

“I sure hope you see a lot of that this week from all the European members,” said Wiesberger. “But his intensity is unique, especially during this week.

“'ll try my best to channel my inner Ian Poulter and get some of that going this week, as well.”

Ian Poulter and Bernd Wiesberger during a practice round prior to the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images.

Wiesberger is the first Austrian to compete in a Ryder Cup, earning the honour in the same week that Viktor Hovland does likewise for Norway.

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“Everybody is super-excited in Austria,” said Wiesberger, the 2019 Scottish Open champion. “We have some great talent in Austrian golf. I think it was a little overdue for having an Austrian representing Europe in the Ryder Cup. I'm very proud that it's me and I'm absolutely certain that I won't be the last Austrian.”

Wiesberger’s journey to Wisconsin started when he was working for German TV at the 2018 match in France at a time when he was nursing a wrist injury.

“I never really vocalized it or spoke about it too much, but it was definitely massive motivation for me to be the first Austrian to experience a Ryder Cup firsthand,” he said.

“Those days in Paris definitely started that. Everything that was along on that journey were steps in the ladder, and I've had some really good success since, and I'm very proud to have played my way on to the European team that way.”

In the ‘Make It Count’ theme being used by Harrington this week, Wiesberger has been handed No 164 - the last man in - in a new list to recognise Europeans who have played in the match.

“I think it's a brilliant idea,” he said of that. “I'm forever going to be 164, I'm very, very proud to have that number for life. Everybody is buzzing.

“The individual aspect of the game that we have, but this week we all come together as 12, yet everybody has their number and nobody can ever take it from them.

"I was very, very surprised that it's been this few, actually. The guys really loved it, and it brings a great theme, I think, to the whole week for us.”

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