JUST like Seve Ballesteros and Colin Montgomerie before him, Ian Poulter saves his very best golf for the Ryder Cup where his eye-bulging, fist-pumping passion repeatedly gives Europe a huge boost.
IT was Poulter who earned one of two valuable points late in Saturday’s fourballs to give his team a spark of momentum in what many viewed as a losing cause at Medinah Country Club with the US heading into the concluding singles 10-6 ahead.
Lifted by that faint glimmer of hope, the Englishman was one of eight players who won on Sunday as Europe completed an astonishing come-from-behind victory that left the American team stunned.
“It’s a passion I have; it’s a passion I’ve seen at the Ryder Cup for years and years as a kid growing up, and it’s something that comes from within,” Poulter said after beating US Open champion Webb Simpson two up.
“I just love it. I love the whole fact that I’ve got 11 great team mates, a fantastic captain and vice-captains, and I love the team atmosphere. It’s something very, very special to be a part of.”
Poulter, who made his debut in the biennial competition at Oakland Hills in 2004, ended his week at Medinah with a perfect 4-0-0 record. His overall record is 12-3-0, the highest winning percentage by a European who has played in at least three Cups.
Fellow Englishman Lee Westwood jested that Poulter should be inked in now as a selection for the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland.
“We have actually revised the qualification for next time,” Westwood smiled. “It’s nine spots, two picks and Poults. The Poults clause.”
Poulter embraces the raucous, pressure cooker atmosphere at the Ryder Cup where he is unbeaten in four singles matches.
Tiger Woods, who has twice beaten Poulter in Cup team play, felt the Englishman’s passion for the trans-Atlantic showdown event matched that repeatedly shown by Montgomerie, a long-time talisman for Europe.
“I think Monty was probably the same way,” Woods said. “Monty had a fantastic career and an even better Ryder Cup career. Poults is about the same. I know that he plays well in this event, and he’s tough to beat.”