In a very short period of time, Ian Poulter has gone from sitting behind a counter eating Snickers and teaching golf swings to the go-to guy on all questions Ryder Cup.
Playing in his fourth Cup at Medinah in September, the Englishman, who has a obsession for fast cars and all things electronic, was the spark that led a European comeback on Saturday that flowed into Sunday. The Europeans erased a four-point deficit, and observers praised Poulter for his exploits that Ryder Cup weekend.
Poulter has ridden that victory to more success, including a win at the WGC-HSBC Champions to earn a return trip to Maui for this week’s season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
But the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles is not really that far away, and Poulter wants to be careful not to inflame U.S. passions – particularly the choice of Tom Watson as the American captain.
“You’re lining me up there to be absolutely crucified,” Poulter said. “I wasn’t expecting it. So I guess it’s a little surprise from – for it to come out so quickly.”
Like most of the golfing world, discussion about Watson being a captain came out of Australia just a week before the U.S. Ryder Cup announcement and generally was dismissed by the rank-and-file who follow the sport. But now the reasons seem clear, especially to Poulter.
“He’s been there; he’s done it,” Poulter said. “I guess five of the last six have gone the European way. What is it they’ve got to do obviously to change that around? I don’t know. So they’re obviously asking the question. They’ve gone back to a captain that’s been there and done it. They’ve gone back to a captain that’s been in amongst it now. So I do think it’s a little surprising, though.”
Poulter was more to the point when asked about the possibility of Colin Montgomerie coming back as European Ryder Cup captain in 2014.
“I think it’s between Darren (Clarke) and Paul McGinley.”