Poulter aims to end on a high

  • Last Updated: November 21 2012, 15:56 GMT

Ian Poulter has vowed to do everything in his power to turn himself from Ryder Cup superstar to major winner - but one suggestion has stopped him in his tracks.

Ian Poulter: Delighted with his form

On the eve of the European Tour's season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai - a £6million event that sees Jose Maria Olazabal's 12 Medinah heroes reunited for the first time - Poulter was asked if he might consider consulting a mind guru.

"Do you honestly think I need a sports psychologist? Are you crazy?" said the 36-year-old, whose self-belief has been a distinguishing feature of his career since he turned professional with a handicap of four.

"Wow. I think people would pay me a fortune to be a sports psychologist. That's incredible."

Poulter, unbeaten not only in Chicago but also in his last three games at Celtic Manor two years ago and top scorer with four points out of five in Louisville in 2008, does not even rule out taking on the role for his eight-year-old son in due course.

"I'd certainly like to help out little Luke Poulter and turn him into a little green monster".

That was a follow-up remark to Rory McIlroy describing his Medinah team-mate as "like the Hulk" that week.

"He turned into this big, green putting machine," said the world number one, who was Poulter's partner when he birdied the last five holes of their Saturday fourballs to inspire an incredible recovery from 10-4 down.

McIlroy has since clinched the same double of European and PGA Tour money lists achieved by Luke Donald last year, but Poulter started this month by grabbing a second World Golf Championship title and on Sunday was runner-up to Adam Scott at the Australian Masters.

Another win this weekend would take him back into the world's top 10 for the first time in nearly two years and he has good memories of the Earth course.

Poulter was in a play-off with Robert Karlsson two years ago, losing it in bizarre circumstances after he dropped his ball on his marker and by moving it incurred a penalty.

The Woburn golfer hoped that performance would lead to major glory. He is still waiting, but his hopes are even higher after events of the last two months.

That said, he knows it will not be easy. Not with 23-year-old McIlroy looking as if he might dominate the sport just like Tiger Woods did in his prime.

The Northern Irishman won last year's US Open by eight shots and repeated that margin at the USPGA in August.

"I certainly think he would expect to win at least a major a year the way he has been playing," Poulter added.

"You would expect him to be on the leaderboard come Sunday at most of the majors next year. I think everybody's impressed.

"There are so many good players it's difficult to win one, but since September my golf's been an extension of the Ryder Cup.

"It's in me and it comes out at the Ryder Cup, so why shouldn't I be able to produce that week in, week out."

It was in Dubai four years ago that Poulter caused a stir by saying he thought that when he hit his peak he could be the closest challenger to Woods.

He is not risking saying the same thing about himself in relation to McIlroy, but this is another chance to move closer. They could finish 2012 as one and two on the European Tour money list.

The tournament is for the circuit's top 60, but the field is down to 57 with Thomas Bjorn and Retief Goosen out injured and Ross Fisher preparing for the PGA Tour qualifying school next week.

Even though McIlroy has the Order of Merit crown in the bag there are other issues at stake. The top 30 on the final money list earn spots in next year's Open at Muirfield and those in the world's top 50 on Sunday night will be a lot closer to securing places in the US Masters at the end of the year.

Jamie Donaldson, the only Welshman playing, is currently 48th in the world and abandoned plans to try for a PGA Tour card to focus on trying to secure his position in the top 50.

"That was one of the goals for the year," the Irish Open champion said. "As a kid you dream of playing at Augusta. I would love to achieve that, so there's lots to play for."

At 56th and 57th in the world, Scot Richie Ramsay and Ireland's Shane Lowry have a chance of making it to the Masters too, although the difference between them was that Ramsay was there as US amateur champion five years ago.

The players go out in money-list order in the first round, meaning McIlroy partners Swede Peter Hanson, the player who denied him the BMW Masters in Shanghai four weeks ago.

When it comes to a battle with Poulter, though, McIlroy can already claim bragging rights in one respect this week; he has just overtaken the Englishman in the number of followers they have on Twitter.

Both are just over 1.4million, but perhaps they should bear in mind that Woods is now up to 2.7million.

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