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Poulter roars his way to another Ryder Cup win
Turns out Poulter had the last roar of the morning.
“That’s me being me, I guess,” Poulter said. “Ryder Cup is like no other; you can’t do that in any other situation.”
Poulter and Justin Rose made sure the U.S. wouldn’t take a lead out of the morning matches in the Ryder Cup, holding off Stricker and Woods in the alternate shot format Friday in a match they never trailed. Poulter helped seal the win with a 15-footer on the 16th hole that he punctuated with an exuberant stare in the direction of his playing partner.
“I would love to have played five matches but I realize that we are a team,” Poulter said. “That team is very, very, very strong this year.”
The Englishman who’s rarely afraid to express himself verbally or with his flashy outfits played well all day in what for him was an understated European team uniform of dark pants and a lime green sweater. He and Rose took advantage of a tee shot by Stricker in the water in the second hole to take the lead and made four birdies against three bogeys in a format rarely played outside the Ryder Cup.
Their last birdie on the par-5 14th gave the Europeans a seemingly insurmountable 3-up lead, but Stricker and Woods answered with a birdie of their own to cut the lead to 2-up with three holes left as the crowd urged the last U.S. pairing of the day on at Medinah Country Club.
Poulter seemed to give the Americans another chance when he badly pushed his team’s second shot on the 16th hole, and Woods followed with an iron onto the green. But after Rose chipped to 15 feet, Poulter sank the putt to halve the hole, prompting his mini-roar.
“Ryder Cup is like no other, you can’t do that in any other situation,” Poulter said. “That’s why the Ryder Cup is so special, because you can hole that putt at the right time and it does mean that much, so your emotions just come out.”
Poulter and Rose would go on to win the match by making par on the 17th hole, finishing off a morning that ended with the teams 2-2. European captain Jose Marie Olazabal sent Rose out in an afternoon pairing with Martin Kaymer, but left Poulter sitting on the bench.
“Ollie really wanted to kind of get everybody playing on Friday,” Poulter said. “So four guys have got to change from the morning round and that’s obviously going to be difficult. He said to me that he would like to keep me fresh going through obviously Saturday, Sunday.”
“There’s a really good chance I would say,” Poulter said. “If I’m asked by Ollie to play, then I am going to go and play.”
Poulter said earlier in the week that he welcomed both the challenge of the Ryder Cup and the noise made by fans rooting for the home team. That’s not out of character for Poulter, who two years ago in Wales was on the practice range getting ready for his singles match with Matt Kuchar when he declared in a television interview, “I WILL deliver my point.”
Poulter did just that, beating Kuchar in the most lopsided match of the day. Now he’s also beaten Woods, and stretched his Ryder Cup streak to eight wins in his last nine matches as a standout for the European team.
Once again, the man his teammates call “The Postman” delivered.
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