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Poulter was European stalwart

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MEDINAH, Ill. – Maybe Jose Maria Olazabal was correct after all.

The European captain said Saturday evening that the Ryder Cup should erect a statue in Ian Poulter’s honor because he closed Saturday’s fourball match with five consecutive birdies.

The epic performance was impressive then. It was even more impressive 24 hours later after Europe made an improbable comeback to stun the American’s 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 and win the Ryder Cup.

Ultimately Poulter added a singles victory to his already perfect record to end the week 4-0 to easily make him the man of the match.

Europe was down and out late Saturday with the U.S. holding a commanding 10-4 lead. Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald held off Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods before Poulter and Rory McIlroy beat Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson with the help of Poulter’s birdie barrage.

Poulter completed a perfect performance Sunday with a 2-up singles victory over Webb Simpson in the day’s second match, one that was part of a clean sweep for Europe among the firstfive matches.

“I love this format, I love this team, everything about it,” Poulter said. “I’ve got Seve (Ballesteros) on my arm, Seve on the bag, we’ve got Ollie. It’s pretty special.”

In four Ryder Cup appearances Poulter’s career record has reached an astounding 12-3.