Ian ‘The Postman’ Poulter has fired back at those critical of Rory McIlroy post last week’s disappointing result at the Abu Dhabi Championship.
McIlroy has been again under the golfing microscope following his ninth top-five finish in 11 appearances in the UAE capital. McIlroy had led by a shot entering the final day but ended-up finishing five strokes behind England’s Tyrrell Hatton but Poulter will have nothing untoward said of McIlroy’s showing.
“It’s ridiculous,” Poulter said to Sky Sports News. “Rory is probably, pound-for-pound, the most consistent golfer on the planet. When you look at how many top-5s and top 10s he has, his record is incredible.
“We all expect so much of him because he is such an incredible talent. And when someone like Rory is a prolific winner in his early years, and then hasn’t won a major for a few years, the questions get asked. But Rory McIlroy is one of the most motivated golfers I’ve ever seen, and one of the most professional. He’s extremely knowledgeable about the game of golf, and about his own game, and he’s always looking to make improvements.”
And while Poulter missed the Abu Dhabi cut in making his way to this week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the future European Ryder Cup captain knows the worth of an all-round player like McIlroy.
“I guess it’s hard being in his position, when there are huge expectations and none more so than the expectations he has of himself,” said Pouter. “So, finishing third in Abu Dhabi is probably a disappointment for him when he was leading going into Sunday.
“But it was still a third-place finish, it’s not like he completely blew up and finished outside the top 10. He is one of the most consistent players we’ve ever seen in golf.”
And Poulter’s compliments were not just for McIlroy as the recently-turned 45-year-old was praiseworthy for fellow Englishman and also new British No. 1 Tyrrell Hatton who moved-up to No. 5 on the world rankings and bumping McIlroy back to No. 6
“World No 5 is a big position to be in, and I know that because I got there myself,” Poulter added. “It takes a lot of hard work, Tyrrell is putting in the hard work and has spent a of time on his fitness.
“He’s become mentally stronger, he’s a character, but he can be very hard on himself and we’ve all seen that in his personality. But he’s become a very good golfer. He hits the ball very straight, and he holes putts. Over the last 18 months, he’s won four times around the world, so he’s a force to be reckoned with. And it’s great to see English golfers moving up in the world rankings and doing some great stuff.”