Ian Poulter says Europe’s youngsters can make them a Ryder Cup force again
Ian Poulter believes Europe can emulate the United States and bring in a new generation of Ryder Cup stars, even if that means his own playing career is over.
Poulter maintained his proud unbeaten record in the singles with victory over Tony Finau at Whistling Straits, although the overall result had long since been decided as the home side cruised to a record 19-9 victory.
The 45-year-old is well aware that could prove to be his last involvement in the contest as a player as an aging European team faces a changing of the guard similar to that of a United States side missing the likes of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, who was a vice-captain in Wisconsin.
“Tiger (Woods) is not here and Phil’s got a radio in his ear. They’ve handed the baton over,” Poulter said.
“In the team room on Saturday night there were a couple of emotional speakers and you just wish you were 20 years old again. That’s hard, when you’ve played so many, been part of so many successful teams.
“It’s hard when you get old and you know so many of the best days are behind you. We had a 25-minute drive into the course on Sunday and your mind starts wandering. Is this it? Is this going to be the last match in a Ryder Cup outfit?
“I don’t know. We’ll see. I’m 45, see how it pans out. Not saying never but realistically, looking at the strength of the (European) Tour it’s going to be very hard to get in the team next time.
“We’ve got a super crop of young players, the Hojgaard brothers (Rasmus and Nicolai) and more. We can do what America did. Our younger players can grow over the next few years like the Americans have.
“I’ll give it my all because these are the best weeks you’ll ever have. To have played seven is incredible, but you don’t know if it will be your last so it gets to you pretty good on the course. Even trying to close the game out, your mind starts wandering, it was hard to finish the game off. But it was nice to win.”
Poulter admitted he would be “upset” if Europe captain Padraig Harrington came in for criticism following the record defeat, conceding the visitors were simply outplayed by the strongest US side he had faced, and to be fair one quick check of the golf odds before things kicked off would have shown that it went the way it was expected.
“These are the best weeks of your career and I want to be involved at some level as long as I can,” he added. “I’ve been lucky enough to win good trophies but my memories as a pro really all come from the Ryder Cups I’ve played in.
“To have any association with it, there’s nothing like it. You see passion you don’t see anywhere else. Shane Lowry last night, have you ever seen him grow into an angry bear? It was fantastic to see. That’s what it means.
“He didn’t show that much emotion when he won the Open in his back garden. The Ryder Cup is remarkable what it does to people and it’s a joy to be part of.”
Billy Horschel sets out to double prize money at event aimed at boosting diversity
The 34-year-old American hosted the inaugural Billy Horschel APGA Tour Invitational at Sawgrass in July.
Rory McIlroy claims 20th PGA title with victory in CJ Cup
The Northern Irishman put his Ryder Cup torment behind him to win by a stroke from Collin Morikawa.
Matt Fitzpatrick responds to Ryder Cup disappointment with Andalucia Masters win
The Yorkshireman was bogey-free in the final round at the notoriously difficult Valderrama.
Rory McIlroy two shots off the lead after sizzling 62 in Las Vegas
The Northern Irishman shot his lowest score since 2019 to take second place heading into the final round.
Rory McIlroy looking to kick on after emotional Ryder Cup
McIlroy broke down in tears in a rare show of emotion in Wisconsin.
Jon Rahm keen to win at Valderrama for ‘historic reasons and nostalgia’
The Spaniard is hoping to perform on home soil.
‘Stupid is as stupid does’ – Phil Mickelson criticises club length restriction
The R&A and USGA have brought in a ‘model local rule’ to limit all clubs other than putters to a maximum of 46 inches.
Top-level golf tournaments to be given option of imposing limit on club length
This could curb the big-hitting likes of Bryson DeChambeau in their continual quest for greater length off the tee.
THE CJ CUP: Vegas links that could help us hit the jackpot this week
The PGA Tour remains in Las Vegas this week and several players in the field have some home advantage which could prove significant.