Ian Poulter has played in six Ryder Cups and remains undefeated in singles; Englishman was handed a wild card for this year’s event at Whistling Straits; watch the Ryder Cup live on Sky Sports, with coverage of the Foursomes on Day 1 beginning at 1pm on Friday
By PA Media
Last Updated: 23/09/21 6:52am
Steve Stricker admits he is the latest US Ryder Cup captain with no idea how to “contain” European talisman Ian Poulter.
Poulter has been a central figure in the contest ever since winning four points in a losing cause on his second appearance in 2008 at Valhalla, where he beat Stricker 3 and 2 in the Sunday singles.
The 45-year-old Englishman also won four points as he inspired the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in 2012 and was given a wild card by European captain Padraig Harrington for this week’s contest at Whistling Straits – live on Sky Sports – despite being without a win since April 2018.
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“We just don’t know how to contain him, I guess,” Stricker admitted on the eve of the 43rd Ryder Cup in his home state of Wisconsin.
“We’ve had a difficult time. I played him in a singles match back at Valhalla and lost to him. He’s a tough competitor and this brings out the very best in him.
“He seems to make some very crucial putts, hit crucial shots when he needs to, and then just rises to the occasion.
“It seems like he plays better at the Ryder Cup than he does at any other PGA Tour event throughout the year. He just elevates his game to another level.
“He’s kind of the backbone of that team at times. He’d be a good guy that if we could figure out – and hopefully we can this year – to give him a couple losses for a change. But it’s tough to do.”
The pairings for the opening foursomes matches are set to be revealed during the opening ceremony on Thursday evening but Stricker said he had already told his players who would be involved.
“Yeah, we have that down,” the 54-year-old said. “We went over this on Monday. I wanted the guys to know what the plan was for Friday on Monday so we can prepare that way.
“I think that’s something that in previous teams that I’ve learned, the communication part, getting guys to understand their position and their roles, so we’ve taken a lot of time and energy in trying to talk to these guys and define both their roles and tell them what we expect from them and what they expect from us.”
Ian Poulter accepts “everything is stacked against Europe” as they prepare to take on the United States in the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits this week.
However, the 45-year-old Englishman is relishing the underdogs tag for the visitors as they bid to retain the trophy they won in Paris three years ago.
“I guess it’s a lot more difficult [to win a Ryder Cup on the road] and it doesn’t happen that often, even though we’ve had the upper hand of that. I guess it’s just more enjoyable,” he said.
“Course set-up is obviously this week heavily weighted in [favour of] the US as opposed to how we set things up back in Europe, so I guess everything is stacked against us.
“When you have that, when you can go in as underdogs, when you can turn the tide and actually come out victorious, it means a little bit more.
“You only have to look around and all the grandstands are red. Everything that you look at, the fans, 98 per cent are obviously going to be US fans this week. It’s difficult from start to finish. It’s hard. It’s not easy to play away from home.
“As much as we feel comfortable as a team, to know we’re underdogs, to know that, we have to play extra special this week to get the job done. It feels pretty rewarding at the end of the week if we can get it done.”
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