Ian ‘The Postman’ Poulter delivered a simple, straight forward message to Europe’s three rookies who will join nine other players heading next week to Wisconsin to defend the Ryder Cup.
Poulter was handed one of three Padraig Harrington ‘wildcard’ picks that guaranteed the now 45-year-old Englishman a seventh Ryder Cup appearance. Poulter had made his Ryder Cup debut in 2004 under Bernhard Langer’s successful leadership and three years ago was just an important cog in Thomas Bjorn’s victorious Versailles team.
And with the experience, knowledge and passion of earning a seventh European Team cap, Poulter passed on the wealth of his advice to rookies Viktor Hovland, Bernd Wiesberger and Shane Lowry.
“Embrace every piece of it,” said Poulter’s simple advice.
“When you look at Viktor, Viktor’s just outside the top-10 in the world and he plays mainly on U.S. soil and what he brings to the team is a lot of firepower. He will bring passion and somebody at such a young age has done an incredible job.
“Bernd Wiesberger has been close to qualifying for the team a number of times but then look at what he’s done in the last few months to push his way onto the team. He nearly won in Switzerland a couple of weeks and he would have been disappointed to have finished the way he did but the way he played this week, under the pressure he was under, showed what mettle he’s got.
“You then take Shane. He’s a winner of the Open Championship, a WGC winner and somebody who gets on amazingly with everybody on the team.
“The three guys Paddy picked all bring a lot and they add a lot of value to this team. I think Paddy is in a great position as he said moments ago that he’s got lots of options in foursomes and fourballs, and it’s a good, solid team.”
Knowing what Poulter does bring to the team, he was asked if it was his record of earning 15 points from his six Ryder Cup’s or his current form.
“I think it was a mixture of all of that,” said Poulter. “Statistically this year, I think I’m fourth in putting for the year. You have to hole putts at the right time. The Ryder Cup lends itself to that. The Match Play, I played well at the Match Play this year. I finished high up at the WGC. I finished fourth in Scotland a few weeks ago.
“So, not only do I bring obviously a bit of current form but you know, that extra bit that Paddy wants me there in the team room to inspire some of the players and kind of be an adaptable player to play with many people throughout the team.
“Hopefully I can do the job I’ve done in previous Ryder Cups and that is deliver quite a few points, and my percentage conversion of that has been pretty good. Just very happy to get that nod from Paddy today.”
Poulter was quizzed by Irish Golfer Magazine if, as we saw unfold at the Solheim Cup, the distinct lack of European supporters could work to Europe’s favour?
“It’s going to be brand new for us to experience that scenario and especially on away soil to have smaller numbers of European spectators,” he said.
“I still think we are going to have a decent number of people, expats that are going to be out there, that have even travelled to be in a position to spend ten or 14 days out of the country to make sure that they are there at The Ryder Cup, it’s going to be different.
“I think we are going to have to use that energy. And you know, it’s pretty self-motivating when you can hear a lot of that energy, which is being used against you in a way to motivate their team.
“But I think it’s a very – it’s going to be a different scenario that we are going to have all the experience and hopefully we can put all of the energy from that that we need. You saw it at the Solheim Cup that we say, and the girls did a simply incredible job to be in that position.
“It would have been quiet; it would have been lonely. Pretty hostile position to go and play golf but the girls managed to deliver and did an amazing job. So hopefully we can do just exactly what the girls did.”