Ian Poulter (pictured) is now one of four English players in the top 10 in the world ranking and he appears to have the best chance of the quartet to win the World Golf Championship-Cadillac Championship this week.
Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose are Poulter’s compatriots in the top 10 of the current standings but Poulter’s game looks best suited to this week’s host course at Doral in Florida.
Poulter has played on the European Tour for twelve years and in only three of those years has he failed to win a tournament. However, his most significant impact in 2012 was at the Ryder Cup.
The European team member birdied each of the last five holes to earn a point for European the final match on the Saturday afternoon. That meant the deficit of four points was just about manageable. Poulter then delivered the point he had promised by beating Webb Simpson in the singles.
Poulter was Europe’s top point’s scorer but his contribution was even more significant in inspiring the rest of the team. It has been suggested in jest that the qualifying process for the next Ryder Cup should be nine players who qualify through points won, two wildcard picks and Poulter.
The English player won the 2012 HSBC Champions against one of the strongest fields of the year. He once mischievously suggested that the best player in the world mantle was between himself and Tiger Woods. There is more credence to that flippant remark now but Messrs McIlroy, Donald and Westwood may disagree.
Poulter’s six top 10 finishes in majors include two in the British Open. His best chance came at Birkdale in 2008 when he played flawless golf in difficult conditions on the last day. On that occasion Padraig Harrington broke par over the difficult finishing stretch of four holes to win his second Open.
The next stage of Poulter’s career development is to win a major championship. The next best thing is a WGC event due to the quality of the fields and Poulter can win at this level for the second time in his career this week.