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“Mr. Poulter Plays Match Play"

The first round departures of Tiger and Rory opened the floodgates to the usual match play bashing, so it's  nice to read about Ian Poulter proving again there a golfer can excel at the format and is not at the mercy of luck.

Jim McCabe on WGC Accenture semi-finalist Ian Poulter's recent match play success.

• Overall, he is now 22-9 in the Accenture, but 10-2 in his last four trips here.

• He is looking to claim a prestigious match-play crown for a third different season in four years (the others being the 2010 Accenture, the 2011 Volvo World Match Play).

• There have been four trips to the Ryder Cup, three of them European wins (2004, 2010, 2012). In the team matches, Poulter is 8-3; in singles he is 4-0, with one of his wins coming over Stricker (in 2008).

Though interestingly, Poulter doesn't lump individual and Ryder Cup play in the same boat:

“I’m playing for myself this week. As good as my record is in the Ryder Cup, it doesn’t translate into playing just for yourself (and this week) I’m playing for myself,” said Poulter, who will take on defending champ Hunter Mahan in Sunday morning’s second semifinal.

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Reader Comments (18)

As I see it, the only difference between individual match play and team match play is the sometimes requirement to play with a partner in 4somes or 4balls. In those formats, it would be necessary to play to your partner's strengths/weaknesses.
Poulter's record no doubt proves he excels at match play, no question about that. But what I hate is how the masses all of a sudden think his attitude and fiery disposition is the winning formula to be great at match play. There have been many throughout the years with completely opposite personalities that excelled at match play. Larry Nelson, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, come to mind and not many fist pumping was going on with them. Soon enough the debate for Captain's picks will be back in the news and we'll have to read how someone like Jeff Overton or Pat Perez or Jerry Kelly needs to be considered as a Captain's pick because they are fiery and like to throw a fist pump in people's faces.....give me a break.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv

I have aways been a Poulter fan, way befor all the hijinks of the last couple of years. I wish he's go back to the died blonde spiked hair, and lay off the whack fist pumps.

I have always flt the TW would quit the over the top FP's and awul facial expressions, if he just looke at video of himself objectively, and realized how unflattering it is, and now Ian goes all vibrator, and bug eyed from, hmm, making a putt.


Honestly, I think the TW deal is meant to scare his competition, because it sure s hell scares me. And just the same, I believe the Poulter exhibition is meant to frighten his competition, and make for a new face for some ''freddie'' style scary movie.

Show biz.
The fist pump crowd started with Tiger Woods and thrives today. There are those that can't watch golf unless the "big names" are playing or the crowd is yelling and screaming. A player is "fiery" if he or she pounds clubs or does endzone dances after making a putt. And of course the media can't survive without constant "action". To me, the game is always bigger than any one player. I found yesterday's matches to be quite interesting...with two games much in doubt coming down to the last...and the Poulter story is intriguing to say the least. I feel badly for those that can't enjoy golf without a frenzy. I find plenty of drama in each minute detail of the game. Match play has so many twists and turns and can surprise at any moment...but I guess if you don't really understand golf you wouldn't get it. Luckily, there's always WWE or Cage Fighting for those folks.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
Personally, I don't mind the fist pumps, as long as it's not in the other guys face or over the top, which in Woods' junior and am days may have been the case. My point was that it's not the ONLY way to be a good match player. Ultimately it comes down to making the shots. For every Lanny Wadkins or Hal Sutton(external display of emotion) there is a Larry Nelson or Bobby Jones(internal display of emotion).
02.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
McCabe must be the equivalent of the SI cover jinx. Hunter Mahan isn't chopped liver.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteven T.
Compare and contrast-Seve's absolute delight and happiness during his celebrations on the last at St Andrews with the aggressive wild eyed variety as displayed by Tiger and Poultice.I know which I would prefer to watch.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChico
fist pumps, screaming, yelling, spitting, drunken fans taunting players, cell phones going off, cameras clicking in backswings, club bashing, porn stars, pole dancers, testosterone, pot smoking in the porta-pottys, deer spray, gambling, fireplug crashing, 10 million dollar paydays...did I leave anything out?
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
If you turn pro with a four handicap and eventually reach the world's top ten, there has got to be some manic driving force from within. Those wild eyes at Medinah wasn't an act. And that's, I think, a secret to being a good match player - allow yourself to be yourself and react accordingly to any given situation. Els and Nelson, quiet and softspoken men, did their stuff their way, and so does Poulter. Like they say, match play reveals the true character of the man.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
+1 Hawkeye.
Both G Mac and Kuchar said they got better at match play by being less aggressive, even keeled. Poulter said he got better at it being as aggressive as possible, as early as possible.
There's more than one way to skin a cat (or opponent). :)
02.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdbh
Poulter is good at match - play, there's still luck involved. See last yr when he was bounced early at both the WGC and Volvo. But just because there is luck involved doesn't mean match-play is bad. it's part of what makes it fun.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Watch a sumo wrestler in the top division who has just beaten a much higher ranked wrestler.- a steely eyed nod of the head in his opponent's direction, nothing else. The fist pump comes when he's back in the changing room a minute later.
Not a good day today for Poulter. Double doughnuts.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterOWGR Fan
"Not a good day today for Poulter"

But not a bad week...he beat 60 out of 64 players and made a half a million dollars (US).
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
Colin, I like that.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
Colin, you've been in a sumo wrestler'schanging room?

For why? (as characters in '20s fiction used to say).
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGhillie
No Ghillie, they showed the guy on TV.
Harv, there was a great sports moment about 15 years ago when a low ranked wrestler, soon to retire, won the whole 15 day competition, his first, and as he nodded to his opponent there were tears rolling down his cheeks.
''The fist pump comes when he's back in the changing room a minute later.''

So I guess he is changing in to something more comfortable.

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