- Unbeliebable: White House turns Bieber petition response into immigration screed
- Obama signs law denying Iran ambassador’s visa, but says law is ‘advisory’
- Mich. judge to laughing convicted killer: ‘I hope you die in prison’
- Man charged in Kansas City-area highway shootings
- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
Column: A tough guy in magenta stops US rout
So Poulter decided to do it first, urging the crowd to yell and scream as he hit his first drive. There would be no first tee intimidation on this day.
Poulter and Rose would go on to win that match, the only one the Europeans took in the opening session. For most of the afternoon, though, it looked as though his streak had run out when he and McIlroy struggled against Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson.
Then Poulter went on a run that will be part of Ryder Cup lore.
By the time he made his third birdie in a row, curling in an 18-footer on the tough par-4 16th, he and McIlroy were suddenly up. He matched birdies on the tricky par-3 17th with Johnson and had a 12-footer for birdie to win the match after Dufner made one of his own.
His teammates gathered around the 18th green to watch knew it was in before it left the putter. They call Poulter “The Postman” because in the Ryder Cup he always seems to deliver.
“I’ve got me teammates right behind me,” Poulter said. “I’m not going to miss it for them, am I?”
It’s that kind of attitude that endears him to his colleagues and irritates his opponents. He’s become the guy on the European team no one likes to face, as much for his fiery demeanor as his impressive record.
Olazabal said Poulter reminded him of the late Seve Ballesteros, who thrived in the format.
” I think the Ryder Cup should build a statue for him, you know? You know, that’s Poulter,” Olazabal said. “That’s why we say that he has such a special character for this event. He thrives at this event. He loves to be on the spotlight. He loves to be in that kind of situations.”
On Sunday, mild-mannered U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson will be that opponent as Poulter tries to kick-start yet another comeback. With Europe trailing 10-6, Olazabal sent off Poulter in the second of 12 matches, just ahead of McIlroy. The best of the European team goes out early as Olazabal tries to mimic the strategy of the 1999 U.S. team that came back to win from the same score at Brookline.
Instead of being cheered to victory as the U.S. team was back then, the Europeans will find themselves up against not only the Americans but a loose and loud Chicago crowd.
“That’s fine by me,” Poulter said. “I guess I’ve had a bull’s eye on my back for a while. Guys want to beat me, That’s fine. I want to beat them just as bad as they want to beat me, and I’m not going to roll over. I’m going to go down blazing. It’s dead simple.”
If that sounds intimidating, it should be.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Justice at last: 'Evil woman' outed for grabbing girl's game ball
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- EDITORIAL: More Lerner smoking-gun emails at IRS
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- EDITORIAL: Mark Warner running scared?
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.