SOUTHPORT // Ian Poulter strolled quickly toward the car park at Royal Birkdale, his wife and their two young children tailing along. Off in the distance, the crowd was still cheering for Padraig Harrington as he posed with the claret jug on the 18th green under a slowly setting sun. As he zigzagged between the vehicles, Poulter challenged his children - Aimee-Leigh, six, and Luke, four - to a race. They sprinted to the car, daddy getting there first.
Poulter threw up his arms, dancing around giddily before they all piled in the vehicle. Who says he wasn't a winner on Sunday? Poulter made his most sustained run yet at fulfilling the lofty expectations he has of himself, most notably spelt out when he was quoted as saying there was no reason he couldn't be No 2 in the world behind Tiger Woods. Plenty of people were amused at Poulter's bravado, especially since he's known more for what be pulls out of the wardrobe - he went with peach-coloured trousers here - than what he pulls out of his bag.
Here he finally showed a game to justify all the flash. He was second at the British Open, sending the English galleries into a frenzy as he made a charge up the leaderboard that briefly brought him into a tie with Harrington. "I've known that I can perform and can play good," he said. "I guess I'm just trying to let that come out in me. "There's plenty more in me, and I know I can go better. I'll take a lot of confidence from that."