Lionhearted Poulter revelling in Ryder Cup call-up
Ian Poulter was elated to be named as one of José María Olazábal’s Captain’s Picks for next week’s Ryder Cup contest at Medinah and is revelling in a fourth opportunity to exhibit his renowned passion on golf’s biggest stage.
The 36 year old, who made his debut in the biennial clash in 2004, and Belgian rookie Nicolas Colsaerts claimed the two final spots in the 12-man side that will take on the United States from September 28-30 and Poulter – whose name has become synonymous with the spirit of the event – was understandably ecstatic to be included once again.
“I was thrilled to get the call from José and it was a great moment; I'm going to be thrilled to again pour some passion over the holes at Medinah and try my best as always,” Poulter said after the race culminated at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in late August.
“I take a lot of pride in my Ryder Cup record. I feel I've given an awful lot to The Ryder Cup and everyone can see what it means to me. I went to many Ryder Cups as a kid and was able to watch the passion that I've seen been it bring out in so many people; I'm honoured to be able to give that same passion that I saw as a kid back to the side now.”
Poulter was announced alongside Colsaerts, who played eight of the nine last weeks of the points race in a bid to secure his maiden appearance, meaning the two wild card picks were also the two next players outside of the automatic ten qualifiers.
The Englishman reserved praise for his fellow Captain’s Pick and talked of the unique pressure a place in The Ryder Cup elicits.
Asked what Colsaerts would feel like on the first tee, Poulter replied: "I'm not sure if you can put it into words to be honest.
"I think Nicolas will feel the excitement that everybody and anybody that has played Ryder Cup has felt before him.
"That is a lot of intense pressure, a lot of excitement and I think Nicolas is going to do an incredible job handling that and delivering with the rest of the guys on the team."
As passionate and determined a man as Poulter is, he knows he has a kindred spirit in the man that will lead the European Team in Illinois.
“It goes without saying, José has been there at a number of the last Ryder Cups and everything that he's had to say has been perfect,” said Poulter. “Everybody has a huge amount of respect for José and everybody lives and breathes The Ryder Cup through José and what he means to The Ryder Cup.
“So in that way I think he's a perfect captain, someone that's going to lead us forward in the right way. I'm honoured to be part of that team with the other guys.”
And the European Captain was also quick to hail Poulter's Ryder Cup "attitude and spirit" after naming the Englishman and Colsaerts as his two wild card picks for next week’s contest to be held on the No. 3 Course at Medinah Country Club.
Poulter has won seven of his last eight Ryder Cup clashes and Olazábal recognises that his determination will be key to European success.
"Every one of you guessed Ian was going to be there for obvious reasons," said Olazábal. "He has a great Ryder Cup record, he was playing well - he had some issues earlier in the season, he got ill and he couldn't play as much - but he is cured and his attitude and spirit in the Ryder Cup team has always been great.
"He likes to be in that situation, it gets the best out of him playing The Ryder Cup."
European golf’s most prolific ‘Tweeter’, Poulter received an abundance of congratulations on the social networking site after his selection from team-mates, celebrities and fans alike and he has been quick to respond to his 1.3 million followers in typically dogged and resolute fashion ever since.
“Thank you all for your fantastic Ryder Cup tweets,” he said recently. “This will be another amazing Ryder Cup - my fourth and not my last. Let's have it... Bring it on.”