Poulter relishing cut-throat match play

Ian Poulter

Ian Poulter

First published in National Sport © by

If Ian Poulter was put in charge of world golf - now there's a thought - half the tournaments during the year would be match play.

As it is, there are only two, the second of which is this week's Volvo World Match Play Championship at Finca Cortesin near Marbella.

"I like the pressure of you have to hole a putt to win the hole or halve the hole or you have to hole to make your opponent hole his. It's pretty cut-throat. You have to do something - it's black and white. If you miss you lose the hole. Dead simple," Poulter said. "Stroke play just doesn't give you that mindset at all. The more match play we get to play the better."

What gets Poulter's juices flowing even more is that this is Ryder Cup year and he is currently outside the automatic qualifying spots.

"It's important for me to have a big week this week. I want to make the side more than ever - Ollie (Jose Maria Olazabal) is going to be an incredible captain. I have a time-frame and a number of events which I need to play well in to make the side. I'm fully aware of what I do."

His chances of a repeat win are obviously enhanced by the fact that the world's top eight all turned down the tournament this time. Last May Poulter delayed Luke Donald going to world number one - for only a week - by beating him in the final.

"We would love the strongest field possible, but schedules are difficult and I'm certainly looking at it as a week to be able to go out there and play well."

Despite being only the eighth seed - based on world rankings - Poulter has to be one of the favourites given his victories last year and at the 2010 Accenture Match Play in Arizona, plus his record in the Ryder Cup.

His 2006 cup partner Justin Rose, seeded second behind Martin Kaymer, said of Poulter: "He seems to make clutch putts.

"In 72-hole tournaments it's only coming down the back nine on Sunday that it's perceived to be like that, but in match play it's all the time. And he's obviously one of those competitive guys - eye-to-eye, hates to lose. Whether it's just chipping competitions at Lake Nona or whatever, we both hate to lose."

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