Team success in the Ryder Cup and individual glory in major championships are not mutually exclusive, as the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal, Bernhard Langer, Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam proved on many occasions.
But if Ian Poulter has to settle for just one of those things in his career, then being known as one of the greatest players in Ryder Cup history, the catalyst for the ‘Miracle at Medinah’, is just fine by him.
Poulter won all four of his matches in Chicago, improving his overall record to an amazing 12 wins and just three defeats, including the momentum-changing victory with Rory McIlroy in Saturday afternoon’s fourball session.
So far, the 36-year-old Englishman has been unable to translate the sort of golf which saw him close out that match with five straight birdies into a major title, but even if his biggest triumphs come in team events rather than individual ones — Colin Montgomerie’s name springs to mind — Poulter could not care less.
“These may be my majors and that’s fine,” Poulter said after Europe came from 10-6 down to equal the largest last-day comeback in the event’s history by winning eight of Sunday’s 12 singles. “I have more pride and passion in winning the Ryder Cup than winning a major.
“I would love to win one, win them all, don’t get me wrong, and I’ve been close (he was second to Padraig Harrington in the 2008 Open). But if I don’t win another golf tournament, Sunday is going to go down as the highlight of my career.”
Time to party: Team Europe’s Graeme McDowell (left), Martin Kaymer (centre) and Justin Rose have a ball. Pics/AFP
After qualifying for the team in 2010, Poulter lost his opening game but won the next three as Montgomerie’s team won by a single point at Celtic Manor, but he needed a wild card from Olazabal to make the side at Medinah.
“We have actually revised the qualification for next time,” Lee Westwood joked. “It’s nine (qualifying) spots, two picks and Poults. It’s the Poults clause.”
Woods: We were not interested in a tie
Tiger Woods claimed neither he nor the United States team were interested salvaging a tie from the 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah.
Woods knew heading to the 18th tee he could no longer affect the trophy’s destiny.
But by holding on to his one-hole lead in the final match, the former World No 1 could at least have ensured the scoreline finished 14-14. He had the opportunity to do that but after missing a putt to beat Francesco Molinari, he then conceded the hole to the Italian and handed Europe an outright 14.5-13.5 win. Woods said: “It was already over. This is a team event. And the cup was already been retained by Europe, so it was already over.”
Olazabal pays tribute to late Ballesteros
Europe skipper Jose Maria Olazabal hailed the victory as the greatest moment of his career and paid tribute
to his close friend Seve Ballesteros, who died last year. “Seve’s been on my mind the whole week, during the whole journey of this Ryder Cup.
“If someone had written a script for it, that would be the ideal one and for it to happen, Seve had to have something to do with it,” Olazabal told Sky Sports News yesterday.
Rory’s time mix-up not my fault: Woz
Caroline Wozniacki beamed with pride yesterday at her golfer boyfriend Rory McIlroy’s heroic exploits at the Ryder Cup, and joked that she wasn’t to blame for him almost missing a tee time. The tennis star said McIlroy, the World No 1, did particularly well despite his mix-up as the European team came back from 10-6 down going into the final day to defeat the United States 14 1/2 to 13 1/2. McIlroy came within a few minutes of committing one of the biggest golfing blunders of all time when he mistook which time zone he was in. Wozniacki denied that any texting or tweeting might have led to McIlroy's late arrival.“I think he mistimed the tee time. He thought he was going to play 12:25, and, well, as we all know it was 11:25. So it wasn’t my fault!” she said, after winning her first round match of the China Open yesterday.