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Poulter hits the big time at end of extraordinary week

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Iain Carter | 12:30 UK time, Monday, 22 February 2010

The week began with Lee Westwood championing the strong United Kingdom contingent and bemoaning the lack of recognition they receive for their enhanced world standing.

Although Westwood didn't live up to his billing, the two English finalists ensured that home golfers truly made their mark on the world game.

And by winning the prestigious WGC Matchplay Championship title by beating Paul Casey 4 and 2 in the final, Ian Poulter has stepped up to a new level. He became the first Englishman to win a WGC event and the first from the UK since Darren Clarke's win in this tournament back in 2000. It was also Poulter's first win on American soil.

The new rankings show him as the fifth best player in the world, and those much ridiculed comments of "there's only Tiger and me" of a couple of years ago are looking rather less outlandish.

This is a player who doesn't travel with a coach and has no time for the mind gurus. He has his own mental strength, and always has had from the moment he made up his handicap (four) when signing his forms to turn pro back in 1994.

Poulter has turned himself into one of the world's best players, someone who is ready to challenge for the game's greatest honours. He now leads the Race to Dubai and has all but cemented his place in the European Ryder Cup team. Captain Colin Montgomerie must be delighted.

Ian Poulter celebrates on the 16th after winning the final round of the Accenture Match Play Championship

Both finalists provided a fine advertisement for English, British and European golf in a thrilling final. Poulter and Casey's success in this big-money event is cause for great celebration.

In a week of first steps, they took a significant stride in ensuring our talented generation start to gain due recognition.

Unfortunately, the all-English final didn't capture the imagination of the Arizona public, with pitifully small crowds following the final. Much local interest was lost when the last American, Stewart Cink, bowed out on Friday evening.

PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem put the poor numbers down to Saturday's cold, wet and windy weather but did admit that the weekend attendances were not what he would have wanted.

Wentworth was always blessed with sizeable crowds for autumnal World Matchplay finals regardless of player nationalities and the weather. The slim galleries here further strengthen the argument for the WGC events to be spread further afield.

That said, this has been a wonderful tournament, a refreshing change for the norm. Poulter firmly believes there should be more matchplay on the schedule.

It's long been my feeling that all the WGC events (Doral, Akron and Shanghai) should be head to head to make them distinctive and give the golf season a matchplay thread that would identify interesting specialists in this format.

Why not create a league system? Reward wins but by incorporating plate rounds for losers they could still earn some points to boost their league tallies. They don't have to depart after just one round.

The top 16 points scorers could have a season ending WGC shoot-out.

Sadly, the sparse crowds that followed the all-England final will provide ammunition for those who believe in the almost exclusive diet of 72 hole strokeplay.

It has been an extraordinary week, with the championship only truly emerging from the shadow of Tiger Woods at the weekend. Woods was always going to be the dominant story from the moment he revealed he would break his silence last Friday.

Like it or not, even in self imposed/inflicted exile he drives the game. Why else would the PGA Tour have indulged him in staging his statement during the biggest tournament of the year to date?

Tour boss Finchem admitted he had "screwed up" by not informing the players here the reason behind the timing of Woods' appearance.

Since then, every word of the world number one's statement has been dissected in the American media and beyond. The TV networks, newspapers and blogs have voraciously fed on the story. Some have done so to examine the impact on golf, many to satisfy the voyeuristic tendencies of their audiences.

This blog has no intention of joining the frenzy, other than to point out (as it did last Wednesday) that Woods' timing was very poor and unfair to his fellow players.

They are right to feel annoyed, particularly with the Tour, for allowing them to be upstaged. The notion that Woods is bigger than the game was reinforced by this scheduling, and players were right to speak out.

They are also correct to say that the game needs him back. But this must surely be with the changed attitude he promises. As he acknowledged, deed is what counts - not the carefully controlled, choreographed and rehearsed words of his first step back into public life.

Woods has always been a control freak but shouldn't he heed the mantra used by so many athletes to "only control the controllable"? He can only influence the media; he can't dictate what it says or who it pursues.

A more open and engaging Woods when dealing with reporters covering his sport would serve him well. Our desire is not to trawl through his private life, it is primarily to analyse his golf and his impact on the game.

Sir Nick Faldo noted on Friday: "Tiger is a sensitive man; he is sensitive to mere comment let alone criticism." In other words, he needs to acquire a thicker skin and be more respectful to others in and around the game.

If, when he returns, Woods provides more of the same contemptuous and non-committal guff that has been his trademark, then he will leave a vacuum. It will be filled with material over which he'll have little positive influence.

In this regard, he could learn plenty from Poulter, an engaging man who is always ready to answer questions, respect fans and promote himself in the best possible light.

This week, he happily told us of his fears about being relocated to a room ending in an unlucky "13" on the evening of quarter/semi-final day, of his two new cars and eloquently explained why Sergio Garcia needn't be upset with him over a free drop.

He has that "human appeal" that Woods has so often lacked, and it doesn't deflect from the fact that Poulter has turned himself into a very fine golfer as well.


  • Comment number 1.

    Good article. I hope that Poulter can sustain a run of form this season and cement his place in the world's top 10. As you say, he is the kind of character that golf needs - edgy, open, honest.

    I am personally bored by Tiger Woods. Yes he is great, but no one person should have such influence over a sport. In that respect what has happened is probably a good thing for golf in the long term.

  • Comment number 2.

    You mentioned above that it was "He became the first Englishman to win a WGC event and the first from the UK since Darren Clarke's win in this event in 2000 and it was his first win on American soil."

    But didn't Clarke win the WGC NEC Invitational in Akron in 2003?

  • Comment number 3.

    3 Englishmen in the top 6 of the world rankings! 5 from the British Isles in the top 10! Luke Donald is returning to form and Ross Fisher is just outside the top 20 too. Has English golf ever had so much strength in depth???? Very soon the majors will start to be continually picked up by the Brits and after so long without success I can't wait!!!!

  • Comment number 4.

    re-enforced? Is that the long arm of the law again? Or did you really mean reinforced??

  • Comment number 5.

    Good work, Iain.

    With regard to your Lee Westwood comments at the top, it's good to see Lee receiving much more respect from the US Press. If they can figure out his "speak your mind", "dry sense of humour", way of conducting himself, he could become very popular here very quickly. What a refreshing change the likes of McIlroy, Poulter, Casey, leewestwood1 and Donald make from the nonsense most touring pros come up with.

    Finchem has two black eyes right now, high time for the press to start giving him a hard time.

  • Comment number 6.

    No surprise with Tiger's timing going up against his former sponsor's major event for the year. His interruption of the usual course of events seriously cut into the coverage Accenture would normally expect.

    He was always going to get back at them...

  • Comment number 7.

    Good blog, Iain. As a self-confessed Poulter fan for many years(I even wear some of his IJP kit on the course on the odd occasion!!), I am delighted to see him finally push himself up into the game's elite. He has been threatening this for a while with his good performances behind Padraig in the Open, impressive Ryder Cup showing and increasingly frequent appearances fairly high up the leader board on the PGA Tour.

    He is a nice guy, open, honest, accessible, unaffected, who says what he thinks without its having been carefully constructed and sanitised by PR men. He has shown great determination to work his way up and deserves all the success he gets. Looks like Mrs Doubtfire will have to deal with leading him in Wales come the autumn!!

    As for Tiger, I get all the US media on TV where I live (BVI) and the saturation coverage of his statement was crazy, as is the addiction clinic "Woe is me" mentality that pervades US society. The guy has cheated - unfortunately many other men do that every year. He is not a criminal, he is not a freak, he is a rich young man who indulged himself in inappropriate ways once married with kids. He needs to sort out if there is a marriage left to save, if not then come to an amicable financial arrangement with Elin, and get back to doing what he does best, playing golf. The man who stood before the cameras on Friday looked a shadow of his former self, and more of this clinical "treatment" is only likely to make him even more of a basket case.

    Will his invincible aura on the course ever return if he is immasculated in this fashion? I doubt it - which is good news for the likes of Lefty, Poulter, Casey, Westwood, Padraig, Stricker, Sergio et al, but bad news for all lovers of the game as a whole who want to witness the sight once more of the best golfer ever bestriding the game.


  • Comment number 8.

    Robinroyal says 5 from the British Isles in the top 10. That must include Westwood, Poulter and Casey. McIlroy is from Northern Ireland so that would be 4, but I don't see where the 5th one is. Woods, Stricker and Furyk are American so it's not them. Kaymer is German, so it's not him. And it's definitely not Harrington as he's from the Republic of Ireland. Hmm, he must have made a mistake.

  • Comment number 9.

    Glad to see a British winner in an all-British final in the US. Question is, how long before the usual comments surface playing down Poulter's win and it's significance because Woods and Mickelson were not in attendance?

    I believe that European golf is about to hit a "golden era" maybe to rival those heady days of Faldo, Woosnam, Lyle, Langer, Ballesteros, etc. Monty must be a happy man at the moment.

  • Comment number 10.

    "8. At 2:12pm on 22 Feb 2010, redsulu wrote:
    Robinroyal says 5 from the British Isles in the top 10. That must include Westwood, Poulter and Casey. McIlroy is from Northern Ireland so that would be 4, but I don't see where the 5th one is. Woods, Stricker and Furyk are American so it's not them. Kaymer is German, so it's not him. And it's definitely not Harrington as he's from the Republic of Ireland. Hmm, he must have made a mistake."

    In Britain, but not in Ireland I agree, the British Isles covers all islands including Ireland, so rechnically robinroyal is correct.

  • Comment number 11.

    Great column - I have always thought Poulter could be a world force, even with those trousers! Just to comment on the point made about 5 guys from the British Isles making up the top 10 in the world now, this is actually TRUE !!!! Yes, there are only 4 Brits in there as REDSULU states, however, ROBINROYAL is also correct with 5 from the 'British Isles' as Ireland is most definitely a part of the British Isles, Just not the UK !!!

  • Comment number 12.

    Good article Ian. Let us all hope that when ( I assume it will be when and not if ) tiger comes back on the golfing scene he is a changed and more mellow individual.

  • Comment number 13.

    I have to admit i'm not the world's biggest fan of Poulter, but you have to guy all the credit in the world. Now it's going to get even more difficult, as you have to work even harder to stay there, than you do to get there. I hope for him he continues with the dedication that he has shown over the last 18 months.

    As for some of the comments about Tigers on course antics, I think Sergio was hitting the ground in frustration a few times during the WGC, I also seem to remember him running up and down fairways when he first came on the scene.

    I also remember Poulter ranting at a photographer last year in the French open I think, so he's not exactly lillywhite, is he?

    I'm sure there are plenty of golfers up and down the country and across the world who mouth the odd expletive when they hit a bad shot, throw the odd club or hit the ground with their club - so why run Tiger down for it.

    I'm not sure what else Tiger could do and if you ask me he actually boosted the WGC by making his statement on Friday, the worlds media was interested in him and as a byproduct the event, publicity it would not have got otherwise.

    I'm hoping that Tiger goes away and gets himself sorted out and then returns to the course, and wins at least 5 more majors to break Jack's record.

    Gold will be poorer for him not being there, as tv audiences and on course spectators numbers will show and for all those other players bad mouthing him, they should remember that if it wasn't for Tiger they would in no way be as rich as they are for winning a few tournaments and in some cases none.

    Golf took off to another planet when Tiger cam along, before he came, players were lucky to win a million in a season, now they can win more than that a week, pure and simple, down to Tiger, he's the man everyone wants to see.

  • Comment number 14.

    Iain, enjoyed your write up.

    I was lucky enough to attend on both Saturday and Sunday. Really enjoyed the contest yesterday, and the consistency of Poulter in all parts of his games was exceptional. I can recall in the past when he has been in a great position things have gone awry, the Open etc.

    Regards the tournament itself, having only a few hundred people there was great for viewing for us punters who made the effort. Thought the course was great for matchplay, particularly around the greens where watching the pros chip creatively was very interesting to watch.

    Anyway on to Phoenix open now to witness the "tradition" of the 16th stadium hole. Not sure how I will react to a local hollering get in the hole on a Par 5, thankfully there was none of that at Dove Mountain.

  • Comment number 15.

    The reason the crowds were so small is that a lot of people in the US are ignorant to the outside world. If no US representative is present, they switch off and focus on other things. Imagine the crowds present in any other country? True fans are excited to watch the great game live rather than just cheer on one particular person - i seem to have forgotten the name of the one person bigger than golf. Garfield wasn't it?!!!

    I think it is a mistake for the WGC to be held permanently in one country. Why not share it between Europe and the US like the Ryder Cup or even move it to other countries like SA or China? The crowds would be huge!

  • Comment number 16.

    Well written and to-the-point article. Thanks.

  • Comment number 17.

    Has Darren Clarke had his 2003 NEC win revoked?

  • Comment number 18.

    I know not everything golf should relate back to Tiger - he doesn't deserve to be talked about - but I see no reason why his Press Conference needed to be held during the World Match Play. When Ernie Els commented on the timing one of Tigers representatives hit back saying that there was a good reason why they had to hold it then... well having heard what he had to say (i.e. I'm sorry, I might come back, don't know when) I can't see why this was the case. It reeks of revenge, the man (and his spokespeople) have no class, the golfing circuit, less the world, is better off without him.

    Would have liked to have seen Casey win the Match Play, but well done to Poulter. It would be great if he could live up to his previous claims as you suggest.

  • Comment number 19.

    If Tiger Woods is so dull and uninspiring why does Iain Carter mention him in almost every article he posts? This latest effort could have solely covered Poulter's first WGC victory. I think the great irony is that the same reporters criticising Tiger for stealing attention away from the Matchplay are actually contibuting to the problem themselves by giving column inches to Woods rather than the tournament.

    Anyway, I'm off to find Ian Poulter to see if he'll have a beer with me, apparently he's the world's greatest guy...

  • Comment number 20.

    There seems to be a good group of English players in the mix at the moment including Wilson and Fisher besides the more knowns such as; Westwood, Poulter, Casey and Donald. I'm a limey originally but have been living here in North America a long time. One small issue I have with Poulter is that his mannerism and image can easily be portrayed as that of a snob.

    The media circus have helped build Woods into this bigger than life Phenom and money making machine. Quite simply he is a great golfer maybe the greatest. But as a person he lacks character and is void of a personality. Tom Watson said it best "he has to clean up his act both on and off the golf course". His TV appearance last Friday in front of his selected few showed me that he still isn't genuine. His typed script which he read from including those paused sighs came over as a case of bad acting and bad delivery. When he does return many of his fellow PGAer's when they play with him will admire his shot making and be gracious to him but that doesn't mean they will like him as a person. Popeye used to say "I am what I am, a sailor man". Only time will tell if Woods will change for the better.

    Peter HCP:2

  • Comment number 21.

    I'm a geography student and so I'd have a lot of egg on my face if I hadn't carefully selected my words for the 5 in the top 10 comment!

  • Comment number 22.

    For me this week is all about Poulter, he was fantastic. Montgomerie must be happy that he's all but qualified? Why? Monty was not amused when Faldo picked Poulter over Monty though. Good to see an English winner.

    As for bringing up Tiger when an Englishman wins something is ridiculous to be fair. But since it's there - Tiger timing was poor? He was going into therapy the day after the statment. A control freak? Then why does he have so many people who are advising him? He's not in control of anything right now, never has been. The only thing he controlled was his golf.

  • Comment number 23.

    Wow, lot of Carter love in the comments (not that i'm against it)

    Did the BBC put something in the water?

    And well done Poulter.

    Wouldn't exactly call a man dressed in pink a street fighter but he's certainly found his way to the top of sport the old fashioned way

  • Comment number 24.

    Not to be a gloom merchant but I still think the English guys have someway to go. Id like to see a few really big strokeplay wins, especially on the PGA tour.

  • Comment number 25.

    Iain I agree with a lot of the points you make in your post. Compared to Ben Dirs' post on the Woods scandal, this is a masterpiece.

    I find it strange however, that Tiger has had so much criticism for the media event at the TPC at Sawgrass last week.

    Surely Woods' management and those directly in charge of his PR should be slated too?? These guys are being paid millions of pounds to help influence the way in which we perceive the world number one.

    There is no way that Tiger would have turned to his manager and said "right, next Friday, definitely next Friday, is when I wanna speak". There's no way that Tiger told his PR guys what he wanted to do and then they organised it for him. Client and manager may have sat down together and decided that addressing the World would be the best thing to do. But surely his management would have arranged the finer details, i.e. when and where the media event would take place.

    It is unfair to blame the poor timing of last Friday's media event solely on Tiger; his management have to take at least some of the blame, don't you agree?

  • Comment number 26.

    If it was not for Tiger Wood's, Iain Carters blog would be 50% less than it is.

    We are on the verge of a change in the world order of golf, do try to keep up Iain, there's a good chap.

    Do not worry the one thorn in this change will be Tiger, however when he is not even playing leave him out of your report. You are a reporter are you not?

  • Comment number 27.

    I'll come out and say I am an American. I am beyond sick of all the Tiger talk, and I agree golf does need Tiger; yet there are many other great golfers on tour that deserve attention. There are golf fans, and then there are Tiger Woods fans...too many Tiger fans instead of golf fans in my mind. It is refreshing to see Poulter win such a big event. Ian is candid and confident, and how can a person not respect his hard work( to go from an assistant pro 12 years ago to #5 in the world). Kudos to him...hope he wins a major this year.

  • Comment number 28.

    Very well done Poulter old chap.

  • Comment number 29.

    Brilliant to watch Poulter win yesterday. I never used to be a fan but changed my mind after last years Ryder Cup. I also feel he was very badly treated over his 'It's me and Tiger' comments. I think he can justifiably look everyone squarly in the eye now - he has nothing to fear from Mickleson, Stricker and Westwood.

    Oh, and Redsulu (comment 8) - if you are going to make a smart alec, sarcastic comment, please get your facts right!!

  • Comment number 30.

    A quite stunning week for Poulter, the highlight for me being his putting - he hardly missed anything within 10 feet all week long. Just a pity he's an Arsenal fanatic, but you can't get everything right, can you?

    As regards Woods, I'm afraid the excuse that he was due back in rehab and as such his "press conference" had to be screened on Friday is just that - an excuse, which just doesn't wash.

    Given it was a sanitised event, with no question/answer session, I fail to see why it could not have been recorded and aired at a more appropriate time. Very poor form, I'm afraid, and any shred of respect I had for him as an individual has gone, notwithstanding my admiration of him as a player.

    Golf, for me, is a far more attractive proposition without the surly, arrogant, petulant world #1.

  • Comment number 31.

    Do you seriously think Tiger Woods sees Ian Poulter as a threat, what a load of nonsense.

    Poulter wont win any Majors, he may win the odd Tournament, he may be number 5 in the world but Tiger Woods is so far ahead he could take the rest of this year off and Poulter wont catch him.

    Tiger is different class completely, no comparison whatsoever.

  • Comment number 32.

    Tiger may be a different class, but he has no class. Give me someone with a personality any day - it makes golf infinitely more watchable.

  • Comment number 33.

    Personality Poulter may have, Tiger Woods has 14 Majors.

    Now back in the real world, which would you choose.

    Poulter isnt a born winner, but he can always look back at his career as the best personality NEVER to have won a major.

    Real golfers win the Majors, no contest.

  • Comment number 34.

    leeder, at the moment Poulter et al have nothing to fear from Woods, who probably sees the Big Bad Wolf and the Three Bears as more of a threat just now.
    The absence of the Woods circus will make it easier for the rest to play their best golf.

  • Comment number 35.

    @Peter S
    A snob??? Have you listened to him talk? Ian very carefully cultivates an image as a cheeky chappy/barrow boy but certainly not as the stereotypical English upper-class twit.
    What I mean is that he's more Michael Caine than Hugh Grant...

  • Comment number 36.

    Hopefully this good week for the Brits can lead on to a major in the next couple of years? Who and where do you see this happening? It's a shame we are still 2 months from the Masters, hopefully the British momentum will continue until then.

  • Comment number 37.

    It's a bit early, leeder, for Poulter to start looking back on his career. That aside, you miss my point - either that, or you have chosen to distort what I have said in order to support your argument.

    Woods is doubtless a far superior golfer in terms of ability than anyone else around, and that clearly includes Poulter. HOWEVER, to a good number of the viewing public outside the States, Woods comes across as an objectionable individual whose interaction with galleries and those watching on television is minimal, and whose interviews (audiences?) with the press/media are stage managed events where the man gives nothing of himself.

    Whilst I admire his single mindedness I find his lack of personality mind numbing, and watching him on the course (those who watch PGA coverage have little choice other than to watch him such is the network obsession with the man) is about as entertaining as watching Man City and Liverpool grind out a tedious 0-0 draw.

    Life to some may be all about winning, but I'm afraid to say I want to be entertained along the way - that is something which, in the last few years, Woods has been patently incapable of delivering to those of us who want to see their sportsmen and women compete with a smile. An incredible talent, no doubt, but his attitude leaves me stone cold.

    If Poulter or any of the other talented young Europeans win only one Major during their careers then, providing they do it with a degree of flair and personality, that one win will be worth just as much as Woods' 14 to date in my book.

    Real golfers win Majors, I agree. Real golfers with personality win Majors and friends along the way.

  • Comment number 38.

    Agree with the majority of comments in response to this is much more preferable to watch a very good entertaining golfer than an exceptional boring one, especially after 10+ years of saturation coverage of the latter. I live in the USA and they definitely have a different mindset over here as to what they want their sports stars to be.....basically boring but successful. They tend to be sterile probably because most of them are just thinking about sponsorship money and thus appealing to the largest number of people is easier done if you are boring and don't say anything that may upset anyone. Plus I think it is in the American mindset not to offend anyone and the humour is less 'obscure' as well as all the different 'groups' being overly sensitive......hence why there are no Graham Nortons, Johnathon Ross', etc, on US networks at primetime unlike in the UK....and this is perhaps why US fans identify better with the uber successful but sterile people cos that is how they have been brought up to act.

  • Comment number 39.

    "33. At 7:01pm on 22 Feb 2010, leeder wrote:
    Personality Poulter may have, Tiger Woods has 14 Majors.

    Now back in the real world, which would you choose.

    Poulter isnt a born winner, but he can always look back at his career as the best personality NEVER to have won a major.

    Real golfers win the Majors, no contest."

    A case of stating the "bleedin" obvious.
    A few Q's;
    1. How many major's do you intend to win?
    2. There is a reason only a mere few win majors, and even less that amount to double digits.Guess why?
    3. Are you a "real" golfer?

    If a golfer wins only one major he has achieved more than the majority of golf pro's.
    There are a myriad of "real" golfers out there who will never win a major, and one or two who will dominate as in all sports.
    Try not to take away what they do achieve, or does your jealousy sink you to the level that you are a "I coulda been a contender" type man?
    Arrogant name, arrogant comments.
    I think I will go and repose now, and think about what could have been if only .........................

  • Comment number 40.

    Well done to Poults & hope he can keep it up.

    As for IC's drivel about Woods, too many people have an opinion about Woods, he has said many times prior to the affair news that he is working on his personalty however it will be difficult because he grow up in barracks NOT with silverspoon in his mouth or special privileges.

  • Comment number 41.

    40. At 8:58pm on 22 Feb 2010, supergunner07 wrote:

    Well done to Poults & hope he can keep it up.

    As for IC's drivel about Woods, too many people have an opinion about Woods, he has said many times prior to the affair news that he is working on his personalty however it will be difficult because he grow up in barracks NOT with silverspoon in his mouth or special privileges.

    Excellent comment SG, a simple point about his background many choose to overlook.

  • Comment number 42.

    Looks great to have Englishmen in the top 10, but how many big ones have they won? This is really the first. Do any of them have the mental strength to win a major?

  • Comment number 43.

    I would say European golfers traditionally have to perform more consistently than their American counterparts to achieve a decent ranking, tjl, primarily because PGA events carry more ranking points.

    How many "big ones" has Steve Stricker won?

  • Comment number 44.

    You'd have to say Stricker has won the same number of "big ones" as England these past dozen years, plus a couple of FedExtras, and a former Major.

  • Comment number 45.

    I would like to throw an idea out there that is kind of related to some of the comments people have made. For years now the PGA tour has been the biggest. By which I mean it has carried more points due the participants in the events. However, over the last couple of years we have seen the make up of the top players change from mainly American to more world and perhaps even European (5 of the top 10 and all that). Does that mean that the European tour will soon become number one? Will a regular European event in, say, France carry more points than a PGA one in Florida? If so the top 10, 20 etc will be even more awash with Europe's finest and continue to compound until our tour is firmly in the number spot. It is little wonder that the Americans want Tiger back and little wonder too that the powers that be don't want to move any more of the WGC events out of North America.

  • Comment number 46.

    Last year Kaymer earned 44 owgr points for winning in France on the same weekend as Woods won his AT&T with 50 points.
    If Woods doesn't play this year at the AT&T, it is almost certain the France Open will carry more owgr points. And that happens more often than you may think; in fact, you could say that Europeans cherry-pick, as Poulter has said, the events carrying most points in a way the Americans do not.
    Correct about the WGC's.

  • Comment number 47.

    Another excellent blog Iain.
    I am rapidly warming to Poulter. The nature of his win and the way he conducted himself was a lesson to another golfer whose name won't appear here. Even in the face of sour grapes whinging from Garcia, who should know better.
    Poulter looks as though he could reach that next heady level this year. He has a fire in his belly and a desire to win so sadly lacking in many of the top pro's these days. He's stepped up when others are happy to get fat on their appearance money and guaranteed big paychecks for coming 10th.
    I'ts pleasing to read your balanced assessment on you know who. Not everyone is a fawning sycophant crying for the return of a fallen demi-god. As someone else wrote...I'm bored with him and his antics off and on the course. We had a great tournament this week without him. Here's something I would like to see...which will never happen! When he says 'I'm coming back'...Finchem should slap a ban on him for bringing the game into disrepute. It happened to happens in other sports. Why is he still untouchable?

  • Comment number 48.

    Excellent article. Great for UK golf to dominate the final and totally unsurprising that the galleries were a bit thin. Luckily many of the people who stayed away would be the simpletons who chant "Youh essay, Youh essay" when watching an individual event, rather than Ryder Cup where it seems anything goes. The excessive reactions of some players have probably fuelled this behavior.
    Ian Poulter may be colourful and at times a bit eccentric (Tiger & me?) but some commentators here seem to begrudge him this victory, why?

    Alas it seems true that success is measured in majors won. Perhaps the Ryder Cup should become an annual contest. I like the suggestion we have more matchplay events and a plate contest. Why not double points too for these events, as they relate closely to cup play?

  • Comment number 49.

    Well written Iain. The event sadly shows the lack of respect shown by the US public when none of their own are in contention and the weather was an easy culprit to blame. Unfortunately Tiger's well written and well rehearsed public apology is proof that should he not return he will not be missed. There are too many emerging talents out there to concentrate long on Tiger, just ask the likes of Poulter, Casey, McIlroy and Kaymer to name but a few. The king is dead long live the king!!

  • Comment number 50.

    mclaren - Not as well educated as Super Good point, well made. My mistake, total unforced error. As someone said last week I am so sorry!

  • Comment number 51.

    Anyone else think that Sergio's behaviour at the weekend was a disgrace?
    Fair enough you don't need to be smiling ear to ear when not playing well but he treated the tournament/sponsors/opponents with a lack of respect by his demeanour and lack of interest once going 2/3 down in his matches.

    I'm not 100% on the specifics in the lead up to his disagreement with Poulter and Caddy after Saturday's match but he came across like a spoiled 10 yr old on TV.

  • Comment number 52.

    I was interested to read your blog but disappointed to note after you stated you weren't going to join the Woods media frenzy, you followed this with 6 paras about TW anyway.

    I'd be interested to learn more of the "Sergio Garcia free drop" and even Poulter's new cars - just less please about you know who.

  • Comment number 53.

    >A more open and engaging Woods when dealing with reporters covering his sport would serve him well.

    I agree, although he may be more reticent to speak to them now as they will inevitably be wanting to ask questions about his (as was) 'private' life, more so than before.

    Thanks for the blog Iain, I am new to the sport and have enjoyed the articles I've read so far.

    Cheers, Simon

  • Comment number 54.

    "pitifully small crowds"
    ah well - the players are getting used to that now that the powers that be in golf are happy to have most of the tour played in countries that have money, but no history or real interest in golf.
    The Race to Dubai is shamefull.

  • Comment number 55.

    Clearly we have got the most talented group of English golfers for a while but I still think there are some 'bottle' issues when it comes to seeing out big strokeplay tournaments. Even Westwood who has been playing consistently well has failed to see out a number of tournaments in the last year when he has been in or around the lead on the last day which he would have back in 2000.

    I would like to see the likes of Justin Rose particularly win in the States as I think he is one golfer who may just 'go on' if he were to make that breakthrough having been so close to winning big tournaments, including majors, in the last few years. He just needs to get rid of that one bad round he always seems to have when in contention. Of all the English golfers I think Poulter probably has the most bottle were he be in a position to win a major particularly now after his latest breakthrough. But hopefully the confidence they should all have being that high in the World rankings will enable at least one of them to make a major breakthrough.

    On the Tiger front, I am probably in a very small minority here in that I normally prefer watching golf when he's not in the tournamant. That's because I want to see a bit of golf and that includes the other players. It would be fine if you only saw Tiger playing his shots, but you see him arriving, on the range and chatting to his Caddie for about a minute while the networks are usually ignoring his playing partners unless they are in the lead. The US commentary is also cringeably fawning so it will be interesting to see how that plays out if and when he comes back.

  • Comment number 56.

    Firstly Westwood's comment on Friday is ridiculous, even after Poutler won. The reason this crop of English players dont get more recognition is simple. It is because they only have a handful of wins in the US, and not a single major, between them.

    Secondly congratulations to Ian Poulter. I have seen an uglier side of him before when he wasn't playing at his best, but he is also a talented golfer and I've seen far worse behaviour on the course from others like Monty. Poulter has desire and belief, I really think he could go further. His upward trajectory has been a steady one, unlike Donald/Casey who have been afflicted by injuries.

    Thirdly, was Tiger's timing really so bad? If he had held his press conf on Sunday night or Monday morning wouldn't that been worse? Anyway I dont care about that any more, please just let us know when you hear that he is going to start playing again.

    Fourthly, I watched a lot of the WGC mathcplay last weekend and it was pretty slow boring. I think 72 hole strokeplay often reaches a more exciting climax, however your suggestions about points or having a plate competion to keep people involved might be worth more consideration.

  • Comment number 57.

    Congratulations to Mister Poulter.Hopefully he will now start to prove that he is as good as both he and Nick Faldo think he is. He does not deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as Tiger woods when it comes to greatness however.

  • Comment number 58.

    Barry Lane won the 1995 Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf. People too often foprget that accomplishment - he was the first british winner - forgeting naming semantics.

  • Comment number 59.

    Be careful Straeh; if Barry Lane's win is counted, which of course it should be, then so should Monty's win two years later.

  • Comment number 60.

    I'm from Ireland (Republic) and find myself getting heartily fed up with the sensitivity of many my fellow nationals on the whole UK, British Isles thing. The United Kingdom is a political entity of which the Republic of Ireland is not a part. Fair enough. However, "British Isles" is a geographical description: it is the name of the entire archipelago off the north western coast of Europe of which the islands of Great Britain and Ireland are the two largest. Thus Padraig Harrington is a golfer from the British Isles as are Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Colin Montgomerie and Bradley Dredge.

  • Comment number 61.

    The Race for Dubai and the excellent worldwide sponsors on the European tour(World 52 weeks a year tour )has meant that the best players are lining up to play on the European tour and are coaxed over the pond and from around the world.
    Better players in the field means bigger world points. Bigger world points means higher rankings for the EUROPEAN TOUR players (if they do well) . Once you get in the higher rankings you get in the better tournaments (majors ,WGC etc) and the whole thing snowballs so that European Golfers are consistently playing for more points and emerging into the worlds top 50 .
    Great to see Ross McGowan teeing it up this week and beating Stricker and he is a great example of the above

  • Comment number 62.

    Fantastic win for Poulter and great to see such a strong European representation and top displays despite no Scots being anywhere near the world's top 50. I would love now to see any of the guys we're talking about go to the next level and begin to realise some of their undoubted potential. Westwood is really the only one of the current crop who has up till now earned the right (31 professional tournament wins) to even be talked about in the same breath as Woods. Poulter and Casey, despite being fantastic players have only amassed 11 wins each as professionals. Woods has won more majors (14) than either Ian or Paul have in 'normal' tournaments. If you 'forget' Woods and maybe Mickleson, then there are a number of players from across the world (including several of those Europeans represented last week in Arizona) who are vying just to be top of the 'rest'. Whilst it may be good economically for golf to have such an iconic figure as it's top player; I wonder if it is healthy for the rest of the professional game. Good on the Europeans, and yes even the Englishmen for dominating a World Golf event; now go on and lets see if one or more of our rising stars can start to dominate the majors. Even if it is highly unlikely to be a Scot for the foreseeable future!!

  • Comment number 63.

    Well done Poulter...always been a huge fan and so happy to see him win! especially in front of my American pals who of course dnt really like him! great lad and lets hope him and the rest of the british golfers can win a bit more in the U.S.

    On the topic of the pga tour been bigger than european tour i have an interesting view. I believe as soon as Tiger does retire the euro tour will defo become more popular....i reckon it will be the us tour and the world tour which euro tour is pretty much becoming! thoughts?

  • Comment number 64.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on Padraig Harrington's continuing dismal matchplay form? He's been awful in the last two Ryder Cups, and generally underperforms in the WGC Matchplay, including last week when he was knocked out in the first round. Given his world ranking and his strokeplay results (not to mention three majors), he's a certainty for the Ryder Cup team, but will Montgomerie really want him when his matchplay form is so awful?

  • Comment number 65.

    If this is a personal thing for Tiger Woods to sort out with his family (most commentators and Tiger himself seem to emphasise this) why is it that this 'mea culpa' exercise was stage managed by the USPGA at Sawgrass?

  • Comment number 66.

    PS Never a big fan of Poulters but many congratulations. You may have turned a corner!

  • Comment number 67.

    "This blog has no intention of joining the frenzy". You seem a bit hypocritical. You write this and then proceeded to do exactly what you say you won't. The bulk of this blog and many others of yours are about Tiger. Poulter seems the real deal. I wish him continued success.

  • Comment number 68.

    ballsios muscles bulge with rath and formidable rage as my elagant toetsies gleam with mystery and self esteem, yeah im talking to you "voxpopuli" and you shall realise soon that ballsio always riegns supreme.

    signed ballsio.

  • Comment number 69.

    God there is a lot of rubbish being written about Woods having no personality. Its always struck me as an ignorant jibe, whoever it is directed at, suggesting more that people are irritated that he doesnt show more personality rather than not having one.

    We get this all the time in sports these days ..Murray is grumpy and dislikeable, Henman was boring, Lineker was boring, Woods is boring, and so it goes on. I like seeing a true maverick character as much as the next man, but they tend to be exceptionally rare, and often waste their talents, Shane Warne aside. Rather see people inspire through their play, which Woods has done consistently for 12 years.

    Surely its the way of modern professional sportsmen to give pointless interviews, littered with cliches and corporate speak. Dont see quite so many haters dissing David Beckham for having no personality, when he is the very epitome of the boring interviewee. Even Federer, who is for the most part pretty charming, seems to some increasingly to be arrogant....i'm not sure how much any of this really matters to sensible fans.

    If we're being glib, then Woods has shown that he does have a personality, admittedly not to his great credit. I think the apology showed character at least, accepting that it was always going to be a read statement, not a free for all Q&A. While he has been a jerk to his family, i wouldnt put it past him to bring some of his professional focus to a bit of personal self improvement. After all, he just needs to grow up, which shouldnt be beyond him.

    I look forward to the U-turns, subsequent fawning, and reactionary drivel written when Woods wins another major, which he probably will at some point....

  • Comment number 70.

    Congratulations to Poults and Casey. Great for european golf. I am sick and tired hearing about Tiger Woods.

  • Comment number 71.

    Who are these people that bum off Tiger unconditionally? Mickelson's a better bloke, Sergio's got more talent and Ernie's a better ambassador for the game. Always has been always will be. Not really to do with this article, just annoyed.

  • Comment number 72.

    You know what Mr. Carter, don't even write anymore articles, if this is the type of thing that you can conjure up. Tiger could not care less about his number 1 ranking at this moment in time and come the end of the year whether he plays or not, he will still be in the Ryder Cup place automatically and number 1 too unless Phil wins the lot.

    So don't try to add to others who have jumped on the Tiger Woods hate wagon by promoting Poulter, who is a nice guy and is playing some decent golf, but like everything, put an * against it my friend T.W.D.N.P.

  • Comment number 73.

    Real fans of golf cannot wait to see tiger back playing, he is not a celebrity, i dont care what he does of the course. He is by far the best golfer that has ever played the game. I do agree he doesnt deserve all the press coverage he is getting at the moment. Stop talking about him and his private life, who cares??

    Great result for the english boys, Poulter has been a great ambassador for the english game for a long time, not sure about all the people on her saying they love poulter now, bet they wernt saying that when he first came on the seen with his outlandish attire!!! Dont think it will be long before he has his first major, he has far more mental strength than the other guys in the top 10 in the world (maybe even tiger). He has huge belief and confidence in his ability, i can see poults remaining in the top 10 for many years to come. Will be putting my money on Poulter to win the open at St Andrews, even if tiger is back!!!!

  • Comment number 74.

    Post 64 - Padraig

    If padraig had played on saturday when the weather was crap he would have won. give him good weather and a sloggers course and he will never win. Carnoustie is the Toughest Course ever, the year he won the PGA was one of the lowest winning totals ever and the weather at Birkdale was viscious. Paddy will never win a tournament where the conditions are perfect and the weather benine, hes not good enough!! Plus he walks like a penguin, penguins hate deserts!!!

  • Comment number 75.

    Some interesting stuff out there. Poulter definitely has what it takes between the ears, and most of us have seen that this is where it really counts. He might not have the same level of talent as some of the others, but I expect he will achieve more than most because of his determination. Its good to see someone making the most of themselves, and how many people have got the balls to become a pro with a handicap of 4? Now it seems you have to have a hadnicap of +4 to do it. Hope he wins a major or two. Its always good to watch people playing and enjoying themselves, or being supercool, eg Martin Kaymer. Not so good to see them spit the dummy on the course. Even if we all hit the ground or swear occasionally through sheer frustration in hitting another awful shot, we can always apologise or joke about it to our playing partners. Doubt th epros do it, and never heard any of them apologise for their tantrums which are viewed by the people who effectively pay them. The pros sometimes don't think the rules apply to them. How many times do they hit the ball towards the crowd and just stick their arm out instead of shouting "fore"? What is that all about? A bit less contempt and a bit more respect wouldn't go amiss - God I'm starting to sound like Peter Alliss - help!

  • Comment number 76.

    Iain, as regards your "schoolboy error" on Big Darren's 2nd WGC win you were actually copped by "Titliestmad" (comment No. 2) before "McLaren" !!

    Great call about making all the WGC Events matchplay.....although realistically I suppose if we could get one more of them to matchplay we'd be doing well.

    Don't think Tiger will be losing much sleep about Ian poulters win in Arizona though................we need to get things in perspective.....and before you(or Monty) start, this win will have NO bearing on the ryder cup.......

  • Comment number 77.

    poulters okay if a bit big headed but if i had to pick a british golfer give me lee westwood over poulter any day.

  • Comment number 78.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 79.

    lol @ jack lynch.
    He does walk like a penguin though!
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