Tuesday 23 October 2018

Tiger Woods an 'inspiration', says Ian Poulter ahead of his Ryder Cup return

Ian Poulter
Ian Poulter
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Ian Poulter has joined the growing chorus of players past and present in praise of Tiger Woods after the American at the weekend completed one of the most remarkable turnarounds in sport when he won the Tour Championship a year after dropping to 1,100 in the world rankings.

Poulter, who himself has struggled with injuries that saw the Englishman sidelined, said on Tuesday that he had been inspired by Woods' triumph on Sunday.

Ian Poulter, who will return to the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in Paris this week after missing Europe's defeat at Hazeltine in 2016, is raring to go in France.

"There were definitely question marks when I was struggling a bit and I looked to see where he has been, it is quite inspirational to see how good he's come back," said Poulter.

"For the Ryder Cup it is great and it is good to have Tiger Woods playing the type of golf he is playing because he makes the Ryder Cup even more special."

Speaking in Paris on Tuesday morning, just three days before the Ryder Cup tees off, Poulter added that he was excited ahead of his return to the team.

"I'm rekindling the thoughts of all the previous times I've played and I'm pretty excited," he said. "Last night was great to get with the guys; it was a relaxed evening and we had some fun. It's always a special week from a team perspective.

"I guess when you are at the low of lows, and that wasn't that long ago, there's a little voice in the back of your head that kind of says 'You might not get back to as good as you was'.

"It was difficult being vice-captain last time knowing how I'd helped the team in the past. This time around I felt I really wanted to make the team and felt if I worked hard, restructured things, I could definitely make this Ryder Cup team – which I have."

Poulter's record in the Ryder Cup – delivering 13 points over five previous events – earned him the nickname 'the Postman' and means he is the man the United States team want to target.

"I take it as a huge compliment," said Poulter. "You can be friends week in, week out, but when it comes to the Ryder Cup there is something there which makes you want to win."

Poulter's team-mate Tommy Fleetwood is one of five rookies in the European side but has already experienced victory at Le Golf National, winning the French Open on the course in 2016.

Fellow newcomer Tyrrell Hatton is the only player in the team not to have a top-10 finish at the venue and Fleetwood believes they have to make the most of that knowledge.

"It's difficult to say how much of an advantage it will be. It can't do any harm we've played the course many times and know it better," he said.

"I played the French Open four times and didn't do any good and on the fifth time I won."

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