By Paul Myers
Perhaps no other modern player embodies everything that the Ryder Cup is about than Ian Poulter – although a similar thing could be said about Sergio Garcia. Thanks to his incredibly clutch play and fiery attitude on the course, Poulter has divided the fans on both sides of the event more than any other – to American fans, he is an annoyance, and to European fans he is a hero. Where some players shrink away from the spotlight and see their performance drop at the Ryder Cup, Poulter has proven time and again to be able to step up to the occasion and come through at the most important moments.
No Major Titles Just Yet
In comparison to some of his other Ryder Cup teammates and opponents, Poulter has yet to grab a signature win in terms of a major championship. He does have two World Golf Championships to his credit, but those events don’t have quite the same recognition among fans as do the majors. However, Poulter has amassed a total of 16 professional wins and has done plenty to keep himself among the best in the world on a consistent basis. No one in golf will be surprised if at some point Poulter breaks through and get a major title of his own.
Not a Power Player
When taking a quick look at the swing speed statistics from the PGA Tour in 2014, it is easy to see that power is not the main strength of Poulter’s game. While he can move it out there plenty far enough to keep up with the rest of the Tour, his average speed of 111.95 leaves him below average. What he lacks in power, however, is made up for with impressive ball striking consistency and an amazing short game. While that short game seems to show up even better when the Ryder Cup rolls around, it is solid seemingly every week on Tour and has propelled some of Poulter’s career to where it is today.
It is no secret that Poulter will be one of the leaders of the European team when the 2014 Ryder Cup gets going. The Europe team will not only be looking for Poulter to record some points on the course against the U.S. team, but it will also look to him off the course and in the locker room for support and motivation. It only takes watching a couple holes of Ian Poulter playing in the Ryder cup to see just how important those several days every two years are in his career.
It will be interesting to see over the next few years if Poulter is able to get a major championship title to go along with his impressive Ryder Cup performances and other pro titles. Either way, he will probably continue to be an important part of the European Ryder Cup team and will likely continue to be loved by the European fans and loathed by those in the U.S. The Ryder Cup has risen to become one of the most recognized and loved events in all of sports, and players like Ian Poulter are a big reason why.
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