Ryder Cup legend and DP World Ambassador Ian Poulter took time out of his European Tour schedule to surprise a group of youngsters when he attended a coaching clinic being hosted by DP World in Dubai last week.
Here, we spoke to the 44-year-old about some of his stand-out moments, as well as some of his notable interests off the golf course.
2000: ITALIAN OPEN VICTORY
I remember it very well. For me, to be able to win in Italy, to win Rookie of the Year, to win my first European Tour event was super special. I even have that putter in my office still. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a great week, hitting a six-iron into the 18th. You could see how much it meant back then, to win a tournament and to get the job done, to put my foot firmly through the door and to say I’m a European Tour winner.
2012: MIRACLE OF MEDINAH
It’s a great picture. Medinah will stay with me for a very long time. The picture was from Sunday afternoon when we got the job done. I have the outfit from Saturday’s round of golf in my office on a manikin. It means so much to me, from the perspective of being part of a team. Being six points behind deep into Saturday’s afternoon rounds, and Sergio and Luke turning their match around into a point to make it 10-5. Then Rory and I turned that last match around to give us an opportunity to go out on Sunday to be able to enjoy this moment. It was a magical week. I love my team sport and this being one. Medinah is going to be in the record books for a long time.
2012: WINNING THE WGC-HSBC CHAMPIONS
It was a strong field that week. For me to like the golf course we played – the Olazabal Course – and there were a lot of good players in contention as well. I just remember, coming into that final round knowing I was a few shots behind. I just tried to be super aggressive, and tried to take the opportunities that I had and make it up and down on the last to grab my hands on another WGC title.
2018: VICTORY AT HOUSTON OPEN
There was so much significance on winning that week. I thought I’d done enough to make it into the Masters. Technically, I hadn’t. I came up a tiny bit short. I didn’t have a good first round and I think I was lying 108th. It’s amazing the power of the mind sometimes to be able to focus and to get the job done. That putt to get into the play-off was a huge putt, 25 feet. To get back into the winner’s circle and get to Augusta and to have the opportunity to enjoy another great week. It was magic. It had been a long time between wins and I think you could see that emotion come out on me on the last hole.
2018: RYDER CUP SUCCESS
There were a great group of lads who followed me around all week. They wore a Postman outfit. One of the caddies called me the Postman a few years ago at Celtic Manor when I said I’d deliver a point. Because of the delivery they decided to call me the Postman. We have some fantastic fans in Europe. I think there were six of them in the postbox that week. When I finished on the 18th, they were right in front of the crowd. I asked one of the lads if I could take the postbox, and I proceeded to put it on. It was great fun.
2018: CELEBRATING WITH HIS SON LUKE
It’s always difficult talking about it because you get emotional about the time you have with your kids. This is one of the proudest moments I’ve ever had on the golf course. It meant a lot to him and meant more to me. To spend a little bit of that time bonding with your kids is very special. That picture is something I’m going to cherish forever. It means the world to me. Hopefully there is a lot of learning exercises in there. Family time is always special. It’s probably the best picture I have at home right now.
2020: RYDER CUP AT WHISTLING STRAITS?
It would be amazing to play again. There’s a lot of focus this year to up my game. I definitely think I’ve got the opportunity and definitely think I’ve got the game. It would please me no end to play another Ryder Cup. If that is the case, and we could get our hands back on that trophy again, it would mean an awful lot to do that.
ON CHARLES LECLERC AND FERRARI…
It’s in good hands. As someone as young as Leclerc is. When you think about the quality of driver he has turned out to be very quickly. To have as many pole positions as he had last season, it was absolutely remarkable. At such an early age to be that good is mind-blowing. To see him in a red car is incredible. To see the healthy rivalry that exists in Formula One right now, it’s going to be really exciting for years to come.
ON MIKEL ARTETA AT ARSENAL…
I think when you look at the football Arsenal have played through the years, it’s been great football. Already since Arteta’s been at the club, there is a different energy in the players and the formation looks a bit cleaner. Yes, he will need to bring more players in to strengthen the squad. I’m excited. He has learned from one of the best managers ever in football. It’s exciting times ahead as an Arsenal fan. We can only improve from the position were in today. Hopefully he’s the man to take us there.
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