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Europe will have Ian Poulter at the Ryder Cup after all as he's named vice-captain

The Englishman is set to be out sidelined for the next four months with a foot injury.

Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

IAN POULTER HAS joined the ranks of Europe’s Ryder Cup vice-captains, it was announced today, after injury scuppered his chances of playing in this year’s edition.

The 40-year-old Englishman is set to be out sidelined for the next four months with a foot injury, effectively ruling him out as a player from the biennial clash between Europe and the United States, which this year takes place at the Hazeltine course in in Chaska, Minnesota from September 30 to October 2.

Instead, he has become European captain Darren Clarke’s fourth vice-captain after Thomas Bjorn, Paul Lawrie and Pádraig Harrington were appointed to similar roles last week.

Europe hold the Ryder Cup and Poulter has four times been on the winning side in five editions, including the most recent at Scotland’s Gleneagles course in 2014.

Although he has never won one of golf’s four major championships — the US Open, British Open, US Masters and US PGA — Poulter has a superb Ryder Cup record.

Of all European players who have appeared in at least 15 ties, none has a better winning percentage than Poulter’s 72.2.

“Everyone who knows me knows how much the Ryder Cup means, having given me memories to savour over the past 12 years and created friendships that will last a lifetime,” said Poulter in a statement issued Monday.

“Therefore when it became clear, given my current foot condition, that I would not be in a position to try and qualify for the team for a sixth time this year or indeed be able to justify a wild-card pick, I was truly honoured and delighted to be asked by Darren to be a vice-captain.

“The best moments of my career have come when I have been wearing the blue and gold crest of Europe on my chest, knowing at the same time that the contest means so much to every European player and to every European fan, either in the crowd or watching back home on television.

“Darren shares that same passion and he knows I will be there to assist him and the 12 players who will line up at Hazeltine in any way I can.

“We have a tremendous record in The Ryder Cup in recent times, having played with passion, desire and commitment. It is something we should be proud of and, rest assured, I will do everything in my power to maintain that intensity and help Europe’s quest to retain the trophy.”

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Poulter sparked visitors’ Europe’s so-called ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in 2012, with five straight birdies to partner Rory McIlroy to victory in the Saturday afternoon fourballs against the United States’ Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson.

Northern Ireland’s Clarke, who was Poulter’s partner in the latter’s first Ryder Cup match in 2004, said: “I am absolutely delighted to name Ian as my fourth vice-captain for the match at Hazeltine.

“Ian’s Ryder Cup record speaks for itself and stands comparison with anyone in the history of this great contest. It goes without saying what a vital presence he will be in our team room come September.”

- © AFP, 2016

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