Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 15 December 2019

Ian Poulter interview: I'm looking forward to the DP World Tour Championship, it's kind of a big family affair

Englishman, 44, hopes to overcome wrist injury to take part in European Tour's season-ending event from November 21-24

Ian Poulter has twice finished runner-up at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship. Courtesy CSM Sport & Entertainment
Ian Poulter has twice finished runner-up at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship. Courtesy CSM Sport & Entertainment

Ian Poulter is aiming to be fit and firing for next week’s DP World Tour Championship as he seeks to use the Dubai event as a springboard for a successful 2020.

The Englishman, twice runner-up at Jumeirah Golf Estates, is currently recovering from a wrist injury that forced him to withdraw from the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai earlier this month, although he remains hopeful of contesting this week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa.

Poulter sits 24th in the Race to Dubai rankings with two weeks to go having had what he considers a consistent 2019. The 12-time European Tour winner, 44, began the year superbly by finishing tied-6th in both Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia, either side of a tied-3rd finish at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Poulter then recorded another top three at the WGC event in Mexico, and went on to register four more top-10 finishes in the United States. He came home tied-12th at the Masters in April, but failed to make the cut in the season’s other three majors.

Now racing to recover fully from injury, Poulter wants to end the year on a high to set himself up for a strong 2020. Not surprisingly, securing a playing role at the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits - he was part of Thomas Bjorn’s victorious side in 2018 - and finally breaking his major duck, rank as priorities.

“I think 2019 has been a successful season,” Poulter told The National. “When I look at the start of the year, that was very, very strong. Consistency has been very good throughout - only last week it was unfortunate to have to withdraw from Shanghai.

“But for me, looking at the biggest picture, Ryder Cup qualification, coming out as strong as I possibly can moving into 2020, is obviously what I’m working towards. I want to make the team; I want to be competitive in all of the majors next year.

“It’s about trying to play this week - all being well with the wrist - trying to play next week, being extremely competitive there and obviously win, and then a massive push really focusing on the end of next year, which I’m very much looking forward to.”

Poulter said on Tuesday that the wrist felt “about 80 per cent” – the flare-up of an injury sustained in 2009 – and that, if the inflammation does not reduce in time for Thursday’s first round at the Nedbank in Sun City, he would target a return in Dubai.

Poulter has a strong affinity with the traditional curtain-closer to the European Tour season, losing a play-off to Robert Karlsson in 2010 and then finishing second again three years later. He is also a global ambassador for tournament sponsors DP World.

“Playing the DP World Tour Championship at the Earth Course is always a great week," Poulter said. "It’s played in Dubai, which was where I played one of my first events on the European Tour 20 years ago.

“To be able to go to place where friends and family fly in to watch me play, having lots of home support and enjoying Dubai, is always great fun. I look forward to the tournament, just as everybody else loves being there as well. It’s kind of a big family affair. Hopefully we’re fully fit and can give a proper showing next week.”

Poulter will fly to the Bahamas directly after Dubai for some downtime with his family, then host his charity event at Lake Nona Golf and Country Club before using the next four-and-a-half weeks to prepare for the new season. He will again begin his year with the European Tour's Desert Swing, starting with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA, from January 16-19.

“The whole time over Christmas is all about rest and recovery, getting solid fitness work done, so when I come out to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Saudi I’m ready to go,” Poulter said. “I’m quite excited about that. I feel that even though I’m 44 I still have a lot to offer and there’s still things I can improve on.

“So if I can get all that done and have a very good December and early January, I feel 2020 is going to be a big year for me.”

Updated: November 13, 2019 04:41 PM

SHARE

SHARE