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Poulter: Euros knew a comeback was possible

Ian Poulter
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Sleep has been an afterthought for Ian Poulter, the Man of the Match at this year’s Ryder Cup. After their stunning comeback at Medinah, the Europeans had a “very heavy Sunday night drinking session” until about 4 a.m., he said, and the Englishman is now in the midst of a New York media blitz, attempting to explain how his team erased a 10-6 deficit on the final day and eventually won, 14 ½ to 13 ½.

It’s no surprise, then, that after going 4-0 at Medinah to run his career Ryder Cup record to 12-3, Poulter is planning to take three weeks off. In fact, on Friday he is headed to the Bahamas, where he’ll kick up his feet and enjoy a few glasses of champagne and beer.

Said Poulter, “I’m going to come out as strong as I possibly can for the end of the year. I love to compete.”

Certainly, that much was evident during three rollicking days outside Chicago.

Chosen by Jose Maria Olazabal as one of his two captain’s selections, Poulter responded by electrifying the crowd and helping spark the largest Ryder Cup comeback ever on foreign soil.

As he explained Tuesday on “Morning Drive,” the pivotal match likely was his stirring comeback in the Saturday afternoon fourballs, when alongside Rory McIlroy, Poults birdied five consecutive holes to edge the U.S. team of Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson, 1 up.

“We had been annihilated,” Poulter said. “At one stage it looked like a rout. For us to be able to turn that match back, it gave the whole team the biggest of lifts, and there was some atmosphere and buzz in the team room on Saturday night. We just had that great chance that we could rewrite history books.”

In the team room that night, each European player was asked where he preferred to be slotted in the singles draw, and why. Poulter wanted to go early. So did Luke Donald. Justin Rose was more specific – he hoped to go fourth, given his past success in that slot in the past.

After the singles pairings were announced, Poulter, who would eventually beat Webb Simpson, 2 up, in singles, said the entire team realized then that they had a chance. “Everyone’s match just looked like it was very, very even,” he said. “It was very uplifting to be in that team room and see that list.

“That night, I said, ‘Seriously, let’s go out and give it everything. We have nothing to lose; we’re four points behind, but it didn’t feel like it. Let’s take our shots, and see if we can pull off some history.’”