Intimidation welcomed by fun-seeking Poulter

Europe's Ian Poulter
Europe's Ian Poulter
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Ian Poulter has asked himself a question about taking on the Americans every two years – “how can you can be great mates with somebody, but, boy, do you want to kill them in Ryder Cup?”

Poulter is preparing for his fourth cap in Chicago this week and expects to be just as fired up as he was on his first three appearances.

Asked if he could see a future in which the match loses its edge because so many Europeans have homes in the States, the 36-year-old Florida-based Englishman gave the expected answer.

“It means too much to us for it ever to lose that edge,” he said.

“This event is unique. I hate to say we don’t get on for three days, but there is that divide – and it’s not that we don’t like each other.

“We are all good friends, both sides of the pond, but there’s something about Ryder Cup which kind of intrigues me.”

This time half of Europe’s side – Poulter, Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell, Peter Hanson and Martin Kaymer – have bases in America, while Lee Westwood is soon to join them and world 
No 1 Rory McIlroy is selling his home in Northern Ireland, although he has no immediate plans to buy property in the US.

Poulter was also asked if captain Jose Maria Olazabal, who is expecting the crowds to be as noisy as they were in Boston in 1999 for the infamous “Battle of Brookline”, had spoken about toning down celebrations.

“Are you kidding me? For real?,” responded the man who won four points out of five four years ago and three points out of four last time in Wales.

“You are going to tell someone not to enjoy holing a putt? That’s the Ryder Cup, that’s what it means. You should enjoy it. Why not give it the fist pump and see them go bananas?

“It’s like scoring a penalty in the Champions League final.”

Eight years ago Paul Casey found himself heckled in America after saying in the wake of the victory in Detroit that for the week of the match “we properly hate them”.

He soon regretted using the word.

Poulter has always been outspoken and has also always lapped up the atmosphere wherever the match is being played.

“I think Chicago is a great sporting town and this is going to be a very loud week,” he added. “I think everybody’s ready for that.

“For me it adds to the electricity, adds to the adrenaline rush and I can’t wait to be part of the fun for three days.

“I just love this event more than any other in the world. I get very excited to play, I get very proud to put this shirt on and have that (Ryder Cup) crest on my chest. I just love it. It’s going to be intimidating, but it’s going to be brilliant.”