Snarling Tyrell Hatton can be Europe's talisman at the Ryder Cup - Nick Westby
From the magical stretch of five birdies in a row in the Saturday afternoon fourballs at Medinah in 2012, sparking the mother of all comebacks from 10-4 down, through to an aging but still menacing presence at Le Golf National in Paris six years later, Poulter was Europe’s front-line of attack.
The self-styled Postman always delivered. If not always the points, then certainly the passion.
He was fearless, the first over the top, the player the Americans loved to hate.
Poulter is gone now, a victim of his own Ryder Cup downfall in taking the Saudi money and moving to LIV.
He probably wouldn’t have made the team at 47 anyway.
At Marco Simone Golf Club outside of Rome over the next three days, Europe need to find someone in Poulter’s stead.
Not necessarily the best player – a Rory McIlroy, a Jon Rahm or a Viktor Hovland – but some little bugger who can get in the Americans’ faces and right under their skin.
Step forward Tyrell Hatton. The 31-year-old from High Wycombe is primed to step into Poulter’s Footjoys (other golf shoe brands are available).
Hatton has the requisite chip on his shoulder to take the fight to Zach Johnson’s United States team in Rome.
He has the game for it, the edginess on the golf course, the fighting spirit in spades.
If he can turn the anger he often shows at himself onto his opponents, he will make for a formidable matchplay proposition and a real emotional talisman for Europe.
If he can translate that fire into faultless golf out on the course – something he has not quite managed on enough occasions in individual strokeplay tournaments – then he can be the man to inspire Europe to victory this week and a regaining of the Ryder Cup that in the height of the Poulter era, they never looked like relinquishing.
No wonder European captain Luke Donald has put Hatton out in the first foursomes match on Friday morning.
And alongside Rahm, too, the equally-combustible Spaniard who has shades of the great Seve Ballesteros.
“I don’t understand why Jon doesn’t swear in Spanish. Why does he swear in English? I don’t get it,” said Hatton in his press conference this week, before it was revealed at Thursday’s opening ceremony they would be playing alongside each other against Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns.
“He would probably get away with it if he just swore in Spanish. Maybe the English language has a bit more punch to it with certain words.”
Asked if he knew any Spanish swear words, he added: “I’d give it a pretty poor attempt. I wouldn’t want to embarrass myself or to just upset Jon in front of him.
“I think I would probably win in a swear-off. I’ve got everyone covered when it comes to that.”
Donald has already tinkered with the format by putting the foursomes out first, something not done on European soil since the last time they lost a home match in 1993.
He has done that because of Europe’s recent good history in alternate shot.
If his desire is to rile up the crowd with two of his most passionate players, he has certainly sent out the right men first and the right message to the 10 other European players and the thousands who will fill the grandstands and line the course in this picturesque foothold of Roman territory.
“I think we’re both fairly similar, pretty fiery people, but Jon is obviously a fantastic player and naturally brings a great energy,” said Hatton.
“I genuinely enjoy being in Jon’s company. It’s always nice, as well, when you’re playing with a great player.
“He does like to call me Ty-Rell, which is an interesting move. He started calling me that at Whistling Straits and I might have actually hit a decent shot after that.
“They were few and far between that week, so hopefully I fare better this week.”
As for his emotions out on the course, is a man who has won six times on the European Tour and once on the PGA Tour driven by the disappointment of what happened two years ago when Europe were beaten by a record margin at Whistling Straits?
“Ultimately deep down you want to get some revenge,” said Hatton. "We have a fantastic team trying our best to make that happen.
“You don’t want to be trying too hard, so you give it 100 per cent but being aware of not trying to force the issue and be natural.
“I’m not one to usually fist pump after putts unless they have true meaning but the Ryder Cup is different so on the positive side you will see more (from me) for sure.”
If Europe are to win, they need Hatton at his snarling, fist-bumping, chest-thumping best.