Ryder Cup: External pressure no greater than own expectations – Poulter

Europe's Ian Poulter during a press conference at Gleneagles Golf Course
Europe's Ian Poulter during a press conference at Gleneagles Golf Course
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He has a number of alter egos – Mr Ryder Cup, The Postman (because he always delivers) – but there is no mistaking Ian Poulter when the biennial contest against the United States rolls into town.

The 38-year-old seems to grow in stature in the trans-Atlantic battles, and no wonder as he has been Europe’s leading points scorer in the last three meetings and was the team’s inspirational talisman who sparked the miracle at Medinah two years ago.

He has been identified by US captain Tom Watson as the man they want to take down as a statement of intent and while Poulter’s form was not good enough to earn him a place outright, his selection as a wild card was never really in doubt because he has a history of raising his game to a level rarely, if at all, seen in his individual performances.

“As someone that has loved the Ryder Cup I take Tom Watson’s comment as a huge compliment,” said Poulter.

“I’m very proud of my record and proud that I’ve put a lot of blue on the board. I’m passionate as a team player to be mentioned with the likes of Seve (Ballesteros) and Monty (Colin Montgomerie) and those players is an absolute honour.

“I’m not sure whether I transform (in a Ryder Cup) but I love it and I enjoy what it stands for and I embrace that.

“My record in the Ryder Cup is exceptional and my stroke play record isn’t, so quite clearly I’ve struggled to take what I have in the Ryder Cup and put that out for 103 other weeks in between them.

“It’s hard but (you have) to realise that what every putt means in the Ryder Cup is the equivalent of winning a tournament and the emotion that goes through your body is the same as the putt that you experience on a Sunday in a big tournament.

“Potentially, you’re holing lots of winning tournament putts throughout a three-day spell and sometimes that all adds up to more wins than you would ever have in your professional lifetime.”

Poulter enters this Ryder Cup, his fifth, with expectation weighing heavier than ever before on his shoulders, purely on the basis of the role he played in 2012.

“I put enough pressure on myself leading in and I work hard to be able to deliver in Ryder Cups,” he added. “I put more pressure on myself than the millions or billions of people who are out there wanting me to hole putts.”