Major success beckons for Poulter
Last updated: 4th January 2013
England's Ian Poulter could be the country's next major champion, six time winner Sir Nick Faldo believes.
The 36-year-old Poulter is widely regarded as one of the best match-play players around after a series of impressive performances in the Ryder Cup, particularly at Medinah in September last year.
At the Medinah Country Club, Poulter was instrumental in helping the European team come back from a 10-5 deficit late on Saturday to eventually win the trophy in dramatic circumstances. However his success in match-play conditions has yet to translate to a major title in stroke-play.
Nevertheless, Faldo believes that his heroics for the European team will give Poulter the additional self-belief to go and win a major title.
"I think that would have proved to Poults that he really can do it when he's not wearing the blue and gold," Faldo told the Daily Telegraph.
"It's funny, but everyone says that match-play and stroke-play are radically different, but if you look at history the same players have been good at both.
"I heard [former USPGA champion] Don Finsterwald say the other day that the last nine holes in a major are like match-play, as it's invariably one man versus another or maybe two others.
"He's right, it is. And Poults must now believe that if he gets into contention on the Sunday afternoon he will be the favourite, considering his bottle and his putting."
Faldo, a former Ryder Cup captain, also suggested that Poulter's win at the WGC-HSBC Champions event at Mission Hills shortly after the his success at Medinah illustrated that his mind-set had changed.
"Maybe the eyes weren't bulging as much and the fist-pumps weren't as exaggerated," Faldo said.
"But the switch flicked on, just as it did at the Ryder Cup and if he can fine-tune that knack he could be the next British major winner.
"Poults has always been underestimated. When I picked him as a Ryder Cup wild card in 2008 he was 23rd in the world, but I got dog's abuse for it.
"Now he's in the top 15 and people are saying he can only produce the fireworks in the Ryder Cup.
"That's nonsense. This could be a big season for Poults even without a Ryder Cup; perhaps his biggest."
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