Thursday, September 23, 2010
Ryder Cup Profiles: Euro Flare
But Phil still looks like a good ol' American schlub.
While all the euros seem to be able to pull this kinda thing off, no one executes quite like Ryder Team member Ian Poulter.
The "Ian Poulter started as a club pro" story is well worn by now, but it still deserves repeating. In his late teen years, Ian was ready to become a touring pro but just couldn't string together the consecutive rounds in qualifying tournaments to make his way on tour. And coming from a family of modest means, his parents couldn't afford to enroll him at a private club where he would be hired as the head pro. As a result, he was forced into taking a job as an assistant pro and golf shop manager at Chesterfield Downs Golf Course in Hitchen, UK.
At Chesterfield Downs, Poulter's talent wasn't appreciated. The Head Pro went out of his way to make Poulter's life difficult and even made him pay to play in official tournaments. As a result, his handicap stayed at 4, and he wasn't able to qualify for any serious events.
Don't worry, this one has a happy ending. Poulter finally qualified for the European Challenge Tour, and made it to the big time a few years later. He now has 13 worldwide wins and has earned nearly $19.8 million dollars in his career. His most recent win came at the 2010 Match Play Championship in Tuscon, as he soundly defeated fellow Brit Paul Casey 4&2.
In addition to the Match Play win, Poulter has an impressive record in Ryder Cup play which is highlighted by his 2008 performance where he earned 4 of Team Europe's 11.5 total points.
Poulter's clothes have always made him a notable figure, but his mouth and temper have sometimes made him downright controversial. In 2006 Poulter was fined for mouthing off to Officials at the Irish Open and at the 2007 Mercedes Championship at Kapalua, Poulter smashed a tee after hitting a poor shot. Most memorably however, Poulter made comments in 2008 that "only Tiger" would be able to compete with him when he was on form. While his words were unquestionably taken out of context, he is still a hot heat with a hot mouth.