Ian Poulter makes late bid to retain European Tour card

Ian Poulter
Ian Poulter has not ended a year out of the top 50 since 2005

Ian Poulter made a last-minute journey from Florida to Hong Kong in an attempt to save his European Tour card - and perhaps his 2016 Ryder Cup chances.

Poulter, 39, dropped out of the world's top 50 on Sunday, meaning he would be unable to complete the 13 events required for European Tour membership.

But former US PGA champion Rich Beem gave up his place in the Hong Kong Open to allow Poulter to compete.

Beem, 45, said he "did what any other professional would do".

Poulterexternal-link thanked the American on Twitter, writing: "Where would you like me to take you for dinner?"

Englishman Poulter fell to 51st in the world rankings on Monday after Andy Sullivan won the Portugal Masters and Emiliano Grillo was victorious at the Frys.com Open.

That meant he was ineligible for next month's WGC-HSBC Champions event and would only have played in 12 events this year on the European Tour.

Only players with European Tour membership can be considered for Europe's Ryder Cup team.

After Beem stepped aside, Poulter flew to Hong Kong, landing at 19:00 local time on Wednesday.

He will tee off at midday on Thursday and be assisted by a local caddie, as regular bagman Terry Mundy is on holiday.

Beem said he was "bummed out" to miss the tournament, adding: "If he goes and cranks up four wins in four weeks, he better send me a nice Christmas gift.

"The only true favour I ask is he misses a few putts in the Ryder Cup."

Ian Poulter tweets about his last-minute dash to play in the Hong Kong Open
Poulter had to get his passport couriered to him to make the flight on time