Ryder Cup: Europe's Ian Poulter ready to face US at Whistling Straits

By Peter ScrivenerBBC Sport at Whistling Straits
Ian Poulter (centre) with a 'cheesehead' hat
Ian Poulter and his European team-mates briefly donned 'cheeseheads' on Wednesday - more usually worn by fans of local American football team the Green Bay Packers
43rd Ryder Cup
Dates: 24-26 September Venue: Whistling Straits, Wisconsin
Coverage: Live text coverage, clips and highlights on the BBC Sport website and app; listen on BBC Radio 5 Live, Sports Extra and BBC Sounds; watch highlights on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer. Click here for full details

Ian Poulter says his juices "are flowing" as he prepares to play in his seventh Ryder Cup for Europe against the United States at Whistling Straits.

The Englishman, chosen as a wildcard for the fifth time, has won 15 points and helped Europe to five victories.

"Number seven is mad," Poulter told BBC Sport. "One was special, two incredible and the rest have been magical.

"There's no better feeling I've ever had than pegging it up on the first tee at a Ryder Cup. It's a special event."

This year's 43rd staging of the usually biennial competition, delayed by a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, takes place on the shores of Lake Michigan from 24-26 September.

And Poulter will be trying to build on a superb record that has seen him lose just six of his 22 matches in the event - and remain unbeaten in six singles encounters.

His defining Ryder Cup moment came at Medinah in 2012 when he finished his fourball match alongside Rory McIlroy with five straight birdies to earn Europe the point that laid the platform for a stunning comeback from 10-6 down in the singles.

But Poulter has been a talismanic figure for the European side since scoring one point on his debut in the record 18½-9½ victory at Oakland Hills in Michigan in 2004.

The 45-year-old was also Europe's top scorer with four points in defeat at Valhalla in 2008, beating current US captain Steve Stricker in the singles.

Poulter contributed four points from four matches in 2012 and, while he missed out on playing in the 2016 Ryder Cup because of a foot injury, he was named as a vice-captain.

Ian Poulter gestures to the crowd on the first tee at Whistling Straits
Poulter was in playful mood on the first tee on Wednesday as Europe prepared for a practice session

Poulter returned as a player in Paris in 2018, winning two and losing two of his four matches, beating then-world number one Dustin Johnson in the singles as Europe romped to a 17½-10½ victory in front of a partisan crowd.

He expects the home support to be just as biased this week, but says the European players need to "use the energy of the US fans" to their advantage.

"There will be 99.9% of the volume backing the US team, so it's up to each player to work out how to use that energy to spur them on," Poulter added.

"We need to put blue on the board. We won't have as many fans as we've had in the past, but an away match is always special.

"The golf course is also set up for the US team so any opportunity we have to grab that trophy on away soil is magical."

In an effort to ingratiate themselves with the home support, the European players wore yellow and green outfits and donned 'cheeseheads' - worn by fans of local American football team the Green Bay Packers - before Wednesday's practice round, and then threw them into the crowd.

"It is a nod to Wisconsin and obviously to Green Bay that we've gone with this," said Harrington.

"And obviously the cheeseheads, and throwing the things up, there is a bit of fun for the fans that are here. The Wisconsin fans are very appreciative so we want to show our appreciation back."

Banner Image Reading Around the BBC - BlueFooter - Blue

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC

Also in Sport