Ian Poulter’s Ryder Cup hopes fading

Ian Poulter is expected to miss the next four months of the season due to a foot injury, effectively ending his chances of qualifying automatically for the Ryder Cup.
Ian Poulter’s Ryder Cup hopes fading

Poulter is currently 42nd on the European Points list, but could still feature at Hazeltine as one of European captain Darren Clarke’s five vice-captains.

Clarke appointed Thomas Bjorn, Paul Lawrie, and Pádraig Harrington last week, with Poulter, Lee Westwood and Jose Maria Olazabal understood to be in contention for the remaining places.

“I am obviously disappointed to be in this situation, especially during a Ryder Cup year,” Poulter said: “Right now, rest and rehab take priority in me returning to full strength later this season. I look forward to resuming a full schedule as soon as I am able.”

Poulter’s doctor added: “Ian has been hampered by an arthritic joint in his right foot for the best part of two and a half years.

“The condition has progressed rapidly over the last year warranting numerous cortisone shots (within therapeutic limits) to allow him to play. Unfortunately, he continues to be in pain whilst walking and practising.

“Further cortisone shots run the real risk of thinning the bones (osteopenia) and stress fractures, which might require treatment in a cast and significant time away from the game.

“We feel that the best option at this stage is to take some time off to allow complete recovery and rehabilitation (including customised orthotics and modification of footwear) of his foot. This will give him the best chance of returning to the game sooner and preventing further deterioration of the affected joint.”

Poulter has played in five Ryder Cups and been on the winning side four times, as well as finishing as the leading points scorer in the 2008 defeat at Valhalla.

The 40-year-old famously sparked the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in 2012, carding five straight birdies to partner Rory McIlroy to victory in the Saturday afternoon fourballs against Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson.

Meanwhile a late decision to contest the Nordea Masters could pay massive dividends for England’s Matt Fitzpatrick after he claimed the halfway lead in Stockholm.

Sixty two players were separated by just four shots after the first round at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club, with Fitzpatrick one shot off the six-way tie for the lead following an opening 68.

But after firing seven birdies and no bogeys in a flawless 65 yesterday, the 21-year-old found himself with a three-shot lead over compatriots Andrew Johnston and Ross Fisher, former Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsaerts, Scotland’s Scott Henry and Sweden’s Alexander Bjork.

A second European Tour title tomorrow would see Fitzpatrick regain third place in the Ryder Cup qualifying race from Chris Wood, who won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth last week.

“It was a last-minute scheduling thing for me,” said the former US Amateur champion, who led from start to finish in the British Masters at Woburn last year and was seventh at April’s Masters.

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