Bullish Poulter rates 
his chances highly

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Ian Poulter is never one to mince his words and when it comes to the prospects of winning a major championship it is no different.

“I’ve looked at my stats and I think this (tournament) is my best chance,” the Ryder Cup star said ahead of the 77th 
US Masters, which gets under way at Augusta National today.

“I feel very good about my game right now. I’ve played five events since the start of the year and played last week, something slightly different. I’ve never played the week before the Masters.

“I’ve always had a couple of weeks off, but I wanted to get another tournament in before coming here so I could be match sharp. Although I didn’t finish the week off well, I feel that I’m ready.

“I’ve hit the right shots in practice. I generally play the course pretty well.

“I’m fired up to play well again this year and try to slip one of those jackets on come Sunday.

“There’s no anxiety. I know this week is probably my best chance, so I just need to go out there and perform. I don’t have sleepless nights over it. If I did it would be through excitement, and I think I’ll be able to play on no sleep come Sunday if I had to.”

Despite making the cut in each of his eight Masters appearances – his worst finish is a tie for 33rd – Poulter’s best result in a major remains his second place to Padraig Harrington in the 2008 Open at Royal Birkdale.

His best golf also seems to be reserved for the Ryder Cup, winning four points out of five at Valhalla in 2008, three points from four at Celtic Manor in 2010 and four from four in the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ last year.

Much has been made about translating the passion and intensity Poulter brings to the Ryder Cup to individual events, but the 37-year-old has an emphatic answer when asked if that is possible.

“No is the simple answer. I’ve answered that a hundred times,” Poulter added. “You’ve got two sets of fans (at the Ryder Cup) and here you’ve got fans that are wishing 92 players play well.

“It’s very difficult to get that same atmosphere, recreate it. It just won’t happen. But what will happen is on Sunday afternoon, when you’re coming down the stretch, you will be feeling the same kind of emotions.”