• WGC-Match Play Championship

Poulter: I hate losing, I'm here to win

ESPN staff
February 19, 2014
Ian Poulter was in typically good form as he chatted to the media ahead of the WGC-Match Play © Getty Images

He has been Europe's star man in almost every Ryder Cup he has played in, so it comes as little surprise that Ian Poulter is seeking a good performance at this week's WGC-Match Play Championship to kick-start his season.

Poulter finished 2013 in spectacular style with runner-up spots in Shanghai and Dubai, but the Englishman's PGA Tour campaign has failed to get going, with a tie for 47 at Torrey Pines and a 59th at the LA Open sandwiching a missed cut in Phoenix.

But match play is a whole new ball game - and it is Poulter's favourite.

The 38-year-old won all four of his available points at Medinah, including a flurry of birdies that saw him and Rory McIlroy overcome Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner in the Saturday afternoon fourballs - a win that triggered the famous comeback from Jose Maria Olazabal's men.

Speaking ahead of the season's opening World Golf Championship at Dove Mountain, Arizona, Poulter said: "In a normal week there are 154 guys in the field, and you can come up against a lot of great players who managed to play better than you.

"When it's one on one, you can see what you have to do right in front of you.

"You're playing somebody, you're in control of your golf ball and you can see what they're doing with theirs. So it's easier in match play to control of the game, I guess."

He added: "I hate losing. I absolutely hate it. I don't know any great sportsman who's a great loser. I've always taken defeat pretty badly. I enjoy winning a lot more."

Ever confident, Poulter - a winner in this event in 2010 - believes he has every chance of repeating his previous success.

"I do think I've got a good chance to win this week, if I play good golf. I feel if I play the golf that I know I can play and I hang tough when I need to, then I believe I've got what it takes to win.

"It's one of the purest formats in golf. You can play fantastic, shoot 6-under par and be going home. You can shoot level par and be staying. So you just have to do enough to dispatch your opponent, and hopefully I can do that tomorrow.

"I've worked harder over the winter than I worked to get ready for the back end of last year, but it hasn't quite clicked in the first few tournaments like it clicked in the last four of 2013. It doesn't make sense sometimes.

"Certainly a match play event might be the spark that I need to get going."

Poulter's first-round opponent at the WGC-Match Play Championship is young American and good friend Rickie Fowler. Click here to see the full draw.

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