After Europe’s thrashing at Whistling Straits last year it seemed like the end for the likes of Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood in the competition. Since then the whole golfing stratosphere has changed beyond belief and Poulter seems further away from another Ryder Cup appearance than ever.
But, Poulter being Poulter, still fancies his chances of one final hurrah as well as reacting to some of Rory McIlroy’s comments in The Guardian this week.
Speaking before the final LIV event in Miami, the Englishman said: “We can still qualify for the team as far as I’m aware. Unless we’ve been told we can’t qualify, then I’m still ready to play as much as I possibly can and try and make that team.”
it is interesting that Spaniard Adrian Otaegui, who has played three LIV events, won the Andalucía Masters earlier this month and is currently fifth on the Ryder Cup world list and sixth on the European list. The top three from each list qualify for the team.
For the record Poulter is now 133rd on the world rankings and is at the heart of a legal challenge to the DP World Tour aimed at being allowed to play on the tour.
McIlroy said in the Guardian interview that he felt ‘betrayed’ by his former team-mates’ move to LIV – “It’s a weird thing. I think it is the first time in my life that I have felt betrayal, in a way. It’s an unfamiliar feeling to me. You build bonds with these people through Ryder Cups and other things. Them knowing that what they are about to do is going to jeopardise them from being a part of that ever again? There was a great opportunity for GMac to maybe be the captain at Adare in 2027. Most of Sergio’s legacy is Ryder Cup-based, same with Poulter, Westwood.
“I would like to think the Ryder Cup means as much to them as it does to me. Maybe it does. But knowing what the consequences could be, I just could never make that decision. OK, it might not be 100% certain but that it could be the outcome? It just isn’t a move I would be willing to make. I thought they felt the same way. I feel like the place where they have been able to build their legacy and build their brand, they have just left behind.”
When asked about the comments Poulter played them down, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
“Look, my commitment to the Ryder Cup I think goes before me. I don’t think that should ever come in question. I’ve always wanted to play Ryder Cups and have played with as much passion as anyone else that I’ve ever seen play a Ryder Cup. I don’t know where that comment really has come from, to be honest.”