by Jeff Skinner
Ian Poulter has been picking himself up his entire golfing career. At The Volvo World Match Play Championship we saw him do it again, literally. After a wayward tee ball landed in the scrub on the side of a hill on the eighth hole Poulter tried to whack the ball out to the fairway only to slip from his perilous stance and slide down the hill on his backside coming to a stop in the drain that bordered the cart path. As he has done all his life he picked himself up, dusted off his Ian Poulter Designer trousers, conceded the hole and headed to the next tee.
Poulter beat Luke Donald 2 & 1 in the finals in a match that looked like Poulter had little chance of winning. Donald was looking to claim the top spot in the World Golf Rankings but unfortunately ran into Poulter whose putter finally warmed up. Donald took the lead after the second hole but Poulter battled back to go 1 up after five. Then the match see-sawed back and forth until the twelfth hole when Poulter drained a 40 foot birdie putt to go all-square. Another birdie at 14 gave Poulter his one up lead and all the confidence in the world. Donald had no answer for Poulter’s recovery game as he got up and down from all over and putted better than he has all year. Poulter’s birdie at 16 put him 2 up with 2 to play and when he sunk his par putt on 17 it was over and he celebrated with a fist pump and a loud yell. This man was made for match play.
Donald can look to his own putter for his failure here as he three-putted the 13th, missed two putts from within ten feet and then blew a four footer. While Donald was playing from the fairway, Poulter spent plenty of time in the rough but somehow managed to score when it mattered.
Poulter wished his son a seventh happy birthday as he left the green and said his putter has finally come around. “Happy birthday Luke,” he said. “I thought it would be pretty special to win this today.
“I finally started holing some putts. I’ve been frustrated for a few months and you have to hole putts to win.”