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Ian Poulter insists pressure won't affect his style

By Carl Markham

He has a number of alter egos – Mr Ryder Cup, The Postman (because he always delivers) – but there is no mistaking Ian Poulter when the biennial contest against the United States rolls into town.

The 38-year-old seems to grow in stature in the trans-Atlantic battles, and no wonder as he has been Europe's leading points scorer in the last three meetings and was the team's inspirational talisman who sparked the miracle at Medinah two years ago.

He has been identified by US captain Tom Watson as the man they want to take down as a statement of intent and while Poulter's form was not good enough to earn him a place outright, his selection as a wild card was never really in doubt because he has a history of raising his game to a level rarely, if at all, seen in his individual performances.

"As someone who has loved the Ryder Cup I take Tom Watson's comment as a huge compliment," said Poulter.

"I'm very proud of my record and proud that I've put a lot of blue on the board.

"I'm passionate as a team player to be mentioned with the likes of Seve (Ballesteros) and Monty (Colin Montgomerie) and those players is an absolute honour.

"I'm not sure whether I transform (in a Ryder Cup) but I love it and I enjoy what it stands for and I embrace that.

"My record in the Ryder Cup is exceptional and my stroke play record isn't, so quite clearly I've struggled to take what I have in the Ryder Cup and put that out for 103 other weeks in between them.

"It's hard but (you have) to realise that what every putt means in the Ryder Cup is the equivalent of winning a tournament and the emotion that goes through your body is the same as the putt that you experience on a Sunday in a big tournament.

"Potentially, you're holing lots of winning tournament putts throughout a three-day spell and sometimes that all adds up to more wins than you would ever have in your professional lifetime."

Poulter enters this Ryder Cup, his fifth, with expectation weighing heavier than ever before on his shoulders, purely on the basis of the role he played in 2012.

It cannot be underestimated how significant his run of five birdies in the last five holes to win the Saturday afternoon fourballs with Rory McIlroy was with the United States leading 10-4 at that point.

That was both the beginning of the most remarkable comeback in the history of the event and the start of Poulter's step towards Ryder Cup greatness.

As a man not short of self-confidence the Englishman is happy to carry the burden which will undoubtedly be on him this weekend.

"I put enough pressure on myself leading in and I work hard to be able to deliver in Ryder Cups," he added.

"I put more pressure on myself than the millions or billions of people who are out there wanting me to hole putts.

"I'm very demanding of what it is I have to do out there and deliver upon and I feel that I can manage that level within myself, because that's what I expect to do.

"From all the previous Ryder Cups that I've witnessed, being there from 1993, I don't think negatively.

"I think positively that we are going to go out there and deliver. I never feel that I'm going to go out there and think, 'What if something doesn't happen?' It's more to the point of, 'Let's go out there and do the job'.

"You don't need to control it. You've been waiting for it for a long time so you just need to grab hold of it and let it go."

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