Monday, February 22

Poulter Wins All-English Match Play Final

2010 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship Recap
Winner: Ian Poulter
Score: 4 and 2 over Paul Casey in 36-hole final
Quote: “It’s been a long time coming.”
Fact: Moved up to No. 5 in Official World Golf Rankings.
Thought: Is a major in Poulter’s future?

YOU KNEW HE HAD game. Ian Poulter sold me at the 2008 Ryder Cup when as a controversial captain’s pick he pretty much outplayed everyone on either team. On Sunday “Poults” broke out in an even bigger way with his first win on American soil (actually, on American sand, the Sonoran Desert), a 4 and 2 victory over fellow Englishman Paul Casey in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

The color pink hasn’t had a better day on the golf course in quite some time. Which got me thinking: If Paula Creamer is the Pink Panther, can we call Ian the Pink Poulter? Probably not, I suppose. Too limiting. It’s just one fave in his rainbow-hued wardrobe.

I didn’t see much of the 36-hole match, but I did watch most of the final holes. Casey cut Poulter’s four-hole lead in half early on the final nine. Just when I thought it might get interesting, the Pink Poulter converted some exquisite par saves to stall Casey’s comeback. I guess that’s the way he played all week. About his short game, Poulter said, “The last 12 months, it’s been up there with the best of them.”

Poulter has won nine times on the European Tour, including the Barclays Singapore Open last November. But Sunday’s victory was by far the biggest moment of his career, and vaulted him to number five in the world rankings.

It was the second year in a row that Casey lost in the finals. Last year he ran into a match-play buzzsaw named Geoff Ogilvy. “He [Poulter] did a fantastic job of making putts and keeping the ball in play,” Casey said, “and he kept the pressure on.” Finishing second again must sting, but reaching the finals two years in a row is an impressive accomplishment. Don’t be surprised if Casey someday wins one of these. In the meantime, a runner-up check for $850,000 is a nice way to pad the bankroll, no?

Tour Notes

• LPGA Tour: Ai Miyazato won the season opener in Thailand.
• PGA Tour: Cameron Beckman took the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
• Champions Tour: Bernhard Langer won the Allianz Championship.
• ARMCHAIR GOLF plans to attend the Puerto Rico Open in March.

−The Armchair Golfer


Tom Collins said...

I saw one of the most interesting things while I followed Poulter on Sunday...he whipped out his yardage book on every green to help him read the putts. Even he said in the interview room later that he didn't want to give up the secret to what he was doing, even though I tried to ask nicely. But for him, when yardage books use a grid over the green to map out a putting surface, watch out for Ian Poulter.

Patricia Hannigan said...

Agreed, I was pretty surprised to read my old Ian Poulter posts from 2007 and 2008 and see all the negative comments people left... as in: he's just a wannabe, he doesn't take the game seriously, what a bufoon, etc. I do believe most minds have been changed by now. :o)