Monday, 25 August 2008

The Poulter Ultimatum...

You are Gold, gold... always believe in your soul, you've got the power to know, You're indestructible, Always Believing...
...that you'll get a wild card...

Okay, so either Ian Poulter has the biggest balls in the world or he just has the biggest head. It's one of the two. He's already the object of derision for his comments earlier in the year that he was the only golfer out there who will be able to challenge Tiger, being mockingly dubbed World No.2 ever since by his fellow golfers, who were not best pleased to be so cheaply written off in the Tiger chase. He's also commonly an object of fun for his fashion sense (see above, resplendent in gold lamé), or arguably lack-there-of. I think most of his stuff actually looks pretty snazzy, wouldn't wear it myself though.

Now he's gone and set himself up for what could be an almighty fall. He could have played in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles this week and attempted to qualify automatically but has chosen instead to stay in America and play in the Deutsche Bank Championship. It's the final week in the Ryder Cup Qualification Race and Ian's only chance of making the team lies in the European Race. He is too far behind to make it on the World points list, but he is well within striking distance of automatic qualifying. Justin Rose, eighth in the standings has given up his chances in the Fedex Cup to play at Gleneagles and make sure of his place on the team. But renegade Poulter ain't such a kiss-ass and has backed himself by saying to Captain Nick Faldo, either I'm good enough to be there or I'm not, you decide...

On the surface it seems like a very egotistical approach but let's be fair to Ian, he has some valid reasons for taking this stance.
  1. He needs to play in this event to remain in the Fedex Cup Race and have a chance of the big bucks at the end. He is a bit far behind to be thinking that he has a real chance but the next reason is...
  2. If he doesn't go to the Deutsche Bank he is one event short of the required 15 events on the PGA Tour in America to keep his card there, the event will be his last chance to do that -though that's an oversight perhaps he should have been thinking of when he took the week off after the USPGA (Casey played that week, why didn't he?)
  3. He did finish second in the Open this year and is the world Number 23, perhaps he feels he is deserving of a wild card on the back of that.

His only problem is, how do you pick a guy above others who are winning, or have done everything they could to qualify, when he has turned down a chance to qualify automatically? Can you reward that sort of arrogance? I don't know what Faldo's response to Poulter was on hearing the news from him this morning, but it seems to have given him the confidence to go through with it. I guess he has backed himself to do well enough this week to make a wild card choice inevitable - by winning or coming damn close. But it's still a ballsy decision when Clarke won last week, Casey's playing great and he had the opportunity to play at Gleneagles and ensure Faldo could take all three of them. Especially when you consider Poulter has only managed one other top ten outside of the Open this season;TheAbu Dhabi Championship at the start of the year.

Whoever he leaves out now, the team is weaker for it and you have to wonder if Faldo will be angry with Poulter for not thinking ahead and leaving him this situation. Casey said last week he was hoping Poulter could play well enough to qualify automatically and free up a wild card slot for him. I reckon now he'll be hoping that he has a 'mare this week and the cocky bugger doesn't take his spot.

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