• PGA Tour

Faldo: Poulter can be next Brit major winner

ESPN staff
January 4, 2013
Ian Poulter was impressive at the Ryder Cup © PA Photos

Six-time major champion Sir Nick Faldo believes Ian Poulter is ready to win one of golf's biggest prizes following his Ryder Cup heroics.

Poulter, 36, is renowned as one of the greatest matchplay players in the world - following a series of impressive Ryder Cup performances, most recently in September in Medinah.

On that occasion, the Englishman proved talismanic as Europe rallied back from 10-5 down prior to the close of play on Saturday to ultimately win the trophy in dramatic circumstances. But Poulter's success in that form of the game has not entirely translated to strokeplay, where he has so far been unable to claim a major title.

However, Faldo - who knows what it takes to win such tournaments - believes the Medinah heroics will have given Poulter the additional self-confidence he requires to go on and win that elusive major

"I think that would have proved to Poults that he really can do it when he's not wearing the blue and gold," Faldo said, according to the Daily Telegraph. "It's funny, but everyone says that matchplay and strokeplay are radically different, but if you look at history the same players have been good at both.

"I heard [former USPGA champion] Don Finsterwald say the other day that the last nine holes in a major are like matchplay, as it's invariably one man versus another another or maybe two others.

"He's right, it is. And Poults must now believe that if he gets into contention on the Sunday afternoon he will be the favourite, considering his bottle and his putting."

The former Ryder Cup captain pointed to Poulter's subsequent win at the WGC-HSBC Champions event at Mission Hills as evidence the Ryder Cup performance had changed his mindset.

"Maybe the eyes weren't bulging as much and the fist-pumps weren't as exaggerated," Faldo said. "But the switch flicked on, just as it did at the Ryder Cup and if he can fine-tune that knack he could be the next British major winner.

"Poults has always been underestimated. When I picked him as a Ryder Cup wild card in 2008 he was 23rd in the world, but I got dog's abuse for it.

"Now he's in the top 15 and people are saying he can only produce the fireworks in the Ryder Cup.

"That's nonsense. This could be a big season for Poults even without a Ryder Cup; perhaps his biggest."

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