Ian Poulter has revealed how the European team kept their egos in check in pursuit of team glory in the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.
Poulter has been a talismanic figure in the biennial contest, earning the nicknames of ‘Mr Ryder Cup’ and the ‘Postman’ because he always delivers a point for the side.
The 38-year-old was given a wild card by European captain Paul McGinley and expected to feature prominently once more after winning 11 of his previous 12 matches, but played just twice before the singles.
“There are no egos that week, it’s about holding that Ryder Cup trophy,” Poulter said. “Everybody in this team would have wanted to play five times. You’re a player, you want to be on the golf course, you don’t want to be rested, but we knew what we had to do and we knew we had a strong enough team to be able to win that trophy.
“It’s about winning the Ryder Cup, it isn’t about personal records.
“Yes, everybody wants to play, but the masterplan was to play everybody on the first day, keep as many people fresh as possible, only fatigue a couple of players but those players could take it and therefore we would come out victors at the end of the week.”
Poulter suffered his heaviest ever Ryder Cup defeat with a 5&4 loss alongside Stephen Gallacher in the opening fourballs, but almost found it equally painful to be listening to former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson address the team as news came through of Arsenal’s Capital One Cup loss at home to Southampton.
“He had a little pop at me,” Poulter added. “He took great enjoyment out of Arsenal losing as he was standing there in front of us.
“I was watching the results come through as he was talking and I said to him ‘You know Arsenal lost?’ and he looked at me and started laughing. I’m not going to get any sympathy as an Arsenal fan from Alex Ferguson.
“He was great to listen to. He has managed to win some obscene number of trophies, you have to respect people in that situation. If he isn’t the best manager, he’s one of the top three ever. You have to respect that, being an Arsenal fan doesn’t matter. We’re European, this is the Ryder Cup week, Alex Ferguson is speaking, you sit there and listen. Fair play to Paul for bringing him in.”
The discussion over who will follow in McGinley’s footsteps has already begun, with Lee Westwood unsurprisingly adding his voice to those backing Darren Clarke to be captain at Hazeltine in 2016.
World number one Rory McIlroy has already backed Clarke and the former Open champion’s long-time stablemate and friend Westwood agrees.
“It’s about the right time in Darren’s career to take up the captaincy,” Westwood said on Sky Sports News. “He is very popular in the United States and I think he would make a good captain.”
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