Qualification for this year’s Ryder Cup is at the forefront of Ian Poulter’s mind as he vowed to ‘bring the trophy home’ this September.
Poulter has been called Mr Ryder Cup for his inspiring performances in the team format down the years, winning four out of the five tournament’s he has played a part in.
After missing out last time at Hazeltine, when the US regained the trophy for the first time since 2008, Poulter has put himself back into contention to make the European team, climbing back into the top 25 in the world rankings again.
And with selection for Thomas Bjorn’s squad still very much open, Poulter believes he is peaking at the right time.
“I won in Houston which was great and I’m putting myself on the board a lot which is great too,” he told the Citizen.
“My confidence levels are high, I’m playing great golf and I’m getting back to the ways I was playing a few years ago. In 2010, I was in the top 5 in the world, but 18 months ago I was 208th. To get back into the top 25 is a good move, but I’ve still got a way to go.
“I have to continue my good form, and there are a lot of great tournaments to play this summer.
“I posted my schedule on social media the other day, and it’s a very busy time. But I’m looking forward to it - the Open Championship is obviously the next major, and the FedEx Cup too.
It’s a busy run but I’m in good form and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
“I would hope the form I’m carrying can continue over the summer and I make that team. It’s no surprise to anyone that it’s my goal (to qualify for the Ryder Cup), I want to make the team, I want to be in Paris, and I want to help the rest of the guys bring that trophy back home.”
Despite missing out through injury in 2016, Poulter joined Nick Faldo’s squad as a vice captain.
“It’s a different experience, which I enjoyed last time,” Poulter continued. “I was injured for five months, so to see the other side of the Ryder Cup, fro ma working perspective, was very interesting.
“Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald are doing it this time. It helps spark a little bit of fire in your belly as well.”
The Woburn pro tied 25th at Shinnecock Hills after sharing the lead on the opening day. But controversial pin placements and green maintenance on Saturday saw many struggle, prompting the 42-year-old to blast officials, and indeed US fans on social media.
“Being in position after two days was good meant I could enjoy what US Open golf stands for, and then the conditions got tricky on Saturday afternoon... it made it interesting, a but frustrating.
“Unfortunately, that week turned into a disappointing week, but it hadn’t looked that way earlier.”
It's a busy schedule between now and the Ryder Cup for Poulter. With the Open Championship, the FedEx Cup, the French Open, the Canadian Open and the Scottish Open to name but a few, Poulter has plenty of opportunities to boost his ranking. But with what little free time he has, he is glad to be back in the area for the summer, a place he calls home.
He added: “It’s a very busy schedule I have, but it’s always nice to come home and spend a bit of time in the UK. I just enjoy being based back in the UK. We get the opportunity to bring the kids back every summer, so it’s fantastic.”
>>The Citizen caught up with Mastercard ambassador Ian Poulter at the launch of the American Golf campaign for The 147th Open Championship at their store in Central Milton Keynes.
Anyone making a purchase with Mastercard in store or online with American Golf during the campaign has a chance to see Ian in action on a priceless trip to the Championship at Carnoustie Golf Links, courtesy of Mastercard, Official Patron of The Open.