MEDINAH, Ill. – Ian Poulter has single handedly kept Europe in this Ryder Cup. He’s the only man on his team to collect a perfect 3-0 record and his five consecutive birdies to end his Saturday fourball match with Rory McIlroy against Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson was a performance for the ages.
In fact …
“I think the Ryder Cup should build a statue for him,” European captain Jose Maria Olazabal said. That’s not going to happen, especially to a player who is likely to be on the losing end of a Ryder Cup, but you get the point.
Had Poulter not done his thing in the day’s last match, Europe would be on the wrong end of an insurmountable lead. A 10-6 deficit is no picnic, but at least the boys from Europe can research the 1999 cup where the American’s rebounded from 10-6 to win at Brookline when Ben Crenshaw had a “good feeling.”
If Poulter had this much passion four other times during the year, he’d have collected a couple major championships by now. Instead, it’s the Ryder Cup that makes him concentrate, makes his eyes bulge and, frankly, makes him make key putts that he doesn’t often make.
“I’m tough to play against in match play, that’s important,” Poulter said, never at a loss for confidence. “Guys want to beat me, that’s fine. I want to beat them just as bad as they want to beat me and I’m not going to roll over.”
Poulter’s singles match will be important for Europe’s momentum. He goes off in the day’s second match against Webb Simpson.