Team USA’s most feared man is back - Ian Poulter

Team USA’s most feared man is back - Ian Poulter

Over the years, Ian Poulter has been an integral part of the European Ryder Cup team, by playing crucial roles in getting historic Ryder Cup victories for Team Europe in Valhalla 2008, Medinah 2012.
 
Ian’s first-ever Ryder Cup appearance was 17 years ago in 2004 when Team Europe won the Ryder Cup on the American soil, after that Ian has made many more appearances for a total of 6 appearance for the continent.

In his 6 appearances, Ian has a phenomenal record of 14 wins, 6 loses, 2 draws. From his 14 victories, 5 came in singles and the skilled English golfer has never lost a singles match in his Ryder Cup career by winning five singles matches, drew one.
 
Ian might be the last ranked golfer in the top 50 with a world ranking of 50 but when it comes to match play format, he is just too good, the past editions of the Ryder Cup are a proof to it, which has seen Ian defeating Team USA’s Captain Steve Stricker in 2008 Ryder Cup, beating Matt Kuchar in 2010 Ryder Cup, his most recent singles victory came in 2018 Ryder Cup against Dustin Johnson.
 
However, when it comes to “stroke-play” format, Ian has not been that much dominant, like he is in match-play events like the Ryder Cup. Till date, Ian has won three-times on the PGA Tour, he has never won a major championship in his career. Ian’s closest finish to the no. 1 spot came in 2008 Open Championship where he finished at solo second.
 
And also in world rankings, Ian has never achieved the world no. 1 ranking in his professional golf career. His best-ever rank in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) was 5th, a rank he achieved after winning the 2010 WGC-Accenture Match-Play.
 
Many British golf fans were against the decision of choosing Ian over the “2013 US Open” champion Justin Rose as Captain Padraig choose Ian for 2021 Ryder Cup, left out Justin.
 
The possible reason for selecting Ian, might be because of his ability to play tremendously well in significant matches, for example in 2012 Ryder Cup, Team Europe were trailing 5-10 in the overall session.
 
Rory McIlroy and Ian played the last fourball event on day 2 against Jason Dufner/Zach Johnson. In that match Ian/Rory got a behind from victory to defeat the duo of Jason/Zach. That victory, on the Saturday afternoon-foursomes, uplifted the sprits of the Europeans as they went on the win 8 singles matches on Sunday against the Americans where Ian also got a victory in his singles match against Webb Simpson to win the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah which is now dubbed in the media as the “Miracle in Medinah” following Team Europe’s spectacular comeback in Medinah, Illinois.



Ian Poulter (Photo Credit: Getty Images).

In the 2012 Ryder Cup, Ian was unbeatable because he won all four matches he played, lost none.
 
It will be interesting see, whether Captain Padraig’s decision to select Ian was a brilliant move or was it a miss pick by the European Ryder Cup captain, it all depends on how Ian plays this week in Wisconsin as the Europeans prepare themselves to defend their title away from home, on the Whistling Straits Golf Course.


[COVER PHOTO CREDIT: ANDREW BROWNBILL/AP]


Refrences: ESPN, Golf Channel, Daily Mail.

Connect to us: dhruv@dktsports.com

September 24, 2021 in Golf

Strange Golf Rules that rules the game

Strange Golf Rules that rules the game

Recently when a young Aarav Shah declared disqualified at the end of first round in PGTI Players Championship for not signing his card, not many people outside the Golf circuits know that strict Rules of Golf have rendered many players disqualified at a very last moment. Many players across the globe have lost their title and declared disqualified (DSQ) just when they were about to be declared winner. All just because like Aarav they too had forgotten to sign on their scorecard in the final stages of the tournament because of the rule 3.3 b (2) in “Rules of Golf”.
 
Some very strange and apparently trivial rules that changes the fate of winning player at the very last moment of the game. Rule 3.3 b (2) of the Rules of Golf states that a player needs to sign on the scorecard at the end of each round or it will result in a DSQ. Thus, Aarav breached the Rule 3.3 b (2) of the Rules of Golf which resulted into his immediate disqualification.
 
Rules of Golf are controlled by The Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R&A), St. Andrews, Scotland and endorsed by the United States Golf Association (USGA) and strictly followed by all the professional body of Golf all over the world. That means any golfer who fails to sign his or her scorecard, will be disqualified regardless if his stature as stalwart like Tiger Woods or a new comer Aarav Shah.
 
We are quoting a very interesting observation of Indian Golf veteran Sampath Chari. While talking to DKT Sports a couple of months back, Chari who is also the Rules Official and Tournament Director of PGTI, said “Disqualification, I mean that’s the most serious ruling that can happen, I had the unfortunate incident of disqualifying so, many players because they did not know right from equipment, wrong scores to entering wrong, they all call for disciplinary measures. We handle those kinds of situations, there are many times you track with the committee who takes the ultimate decision based on what I tell them and on subsequent interrogation with the players and it has led to a lot of disqualifications something which you don’t like but again like I said being fare to the entire field playing been I am very happy because they always made the right decision.”    
 
21 years ago, Team Europe’s Ryder Cup Captain Padraig Harrington was chasing his third European Tour title in the 2000 Benson & Hedges International Open. Padraig was the 54-hole leader going into the final round with a staggering 5-stroke lead over José María Olazábal but a day before Sunday, Padraig, was informed by the rules official that, he had failed to sign on his scorecard which resulted in an immediate DSQ. Just like that, Padraig lost his chance of winning the 2000 Benson & Hedges International Open. Disqualification of Padraig helped Jose to become the eventual champion of the event.
 
If you think that was worse, than what Lexi Thompson went through in 2017 ANA Inspiration was perhaps the worst. In the 2017 ANA Inspiration, Lexi was leading the major, till 66 holes while, going into the 67th hole Lexi, was informed that she had undertaken double penalties. According to golf.com, first for not signing her scorecard, second for replacing her ball incorrectly, this all resulted in a four-stroke penalty as Lexi lost her chance of winning her second career-major at the ANA Inspiration.
 
The most recent incident of breaching rule 3.3 b (2) was seen in the 2021 KIA Classic where major winner In Gee Chun was disqualified for failing to sign on her scorecard after her second round was over.

 

dhruv@dktsports.com

September 09, 2021 in Golf

It feels great to be back walking the fairways after a gap of five months !!

It feels great to be back walking the fairways after a gap of five months !!

“It’s longer than expected.” That’s the phrase I would like to use to describe the recent situation for women golfers in our country.
In the last 17 months, Indian golfers competing in the Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour (HWPGT) had gone through one of the worst times that one could imagine where they were unsure of what the future holds.

Let us explain the chronology of the last 17 months.
Till 2019, the Women’s Golf Association of India (WGAI) was conducting tournaments almost regularly but from the early part of 2020, the quick spread of the deadly pandemic changed everything within a couple of weeks.
WGAI did stage events till March 2020 but after that, from April 2020 almost everyone was forced to stay home following a nationwide lockdown, imposed across the country for the next four months.

From June 2020, while Korean LPGA launched its event, India was ending its lockdown state-wise. However, it was only in December 2020, the post-pandemic first tournament of the season - Leg 7 was held. WGAI had organized a total of nine tournaments in 2020 which included three events in December and six events in the early part of the year.
 
Golfers started a new year – 2021 hoping for a fabulous season. The first Hero WPGT event of 2021 was Leg 1, played from 13-15 January, Ridhima Dilawari won the event. Pranavi Urs won the next event.
In the next three events, three players Avani Prashanth, Seher Atwal, Jahanvi Bakshi had their first maiden victory in Leg 3, 4, 5 respectively. Jahanvi won Leg 5 on 12th March 2021.

From the second quarter of 2021, India was hit by the second wave of Covid 19 hence the tour was stopped for an indefinite period. All WPGT events were stopped following a quick spread of the second wave from March 2021, the same as March 2020.
It was a hard time for the players. Unfortunately, some of the players contracted Corona while some who survived Covid were gazing at an uncertain future.
At last, the tour was resumed for the second time in two years. The last time it took seven months to restart the tour was in December 2020. This time the tour took five months to resume play from September 2021.
The WGAI have planned to play five events from September to October 2021, the first event after March 2021 is Leg 7 in WPGT.

It’s an exhilarating feeling for the players.

“It surely is a fantastic feeling to compete after such a long break, just to be walking the fairways again bathed in the sun. I think we’re all aware of the physical and mental health benefits golf can provide, unfortunately, due to COVID tournaments got cancelled but I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season! I’m coming out of a little bit of a shoulder injury- however I’m just happy to be playing again, to give it a shot and put my best into it” said Seher Atwal who won leg 4 in 2020.
When approached by DKT Sports, golfers were excited to share their experience during the lockdown phase and their plans for the current season.
Avani Prashanth, who won leg 3 in Feb 21, prepared herself for the season during the lockdown phase. “We have a home setup which includes a hitting mat, a Super strong net and my GCQUAD, FSX Golf simulator along with a putting mat. During the lockdown I practiced every day, played on virtual courses 3 times a week and worked on areas I needed to get better. I think I really made good use of this pandemic times. My lessons with my coach and fitness also continued throughout the lockdown. I also had set up a home gym so my routine for both fitness and golf was followed and I really don’t think I missed out on anything besides playing on the real course”, said Avani.

Seher could not escape Covid, was busy working on her game during the lockdown phase. ‘Post our last slew of tournaments, I had an extremely packed agenda working on different aspects of my game. My daily schedule was fairly punishing and when I finally took a break, it was because I really needed to hit refresh for myself and my mind. During that time though, I unfortunately contracted COVID myself which led to more time away from my game than I would have liked” said Seher.

Another player, Disha Kavery said she had her fitness sessions on during the lockdown period and she was regular with that.
It’s nice to be back said Disha, as players playing after a long time but it’s important to stay safe during these times. “I’m excited to play this event cause it’s happening in one of the most challenging golf courses”, said Disha.

For Seher, plenty of lessons were learnt from a difficult time. “I would like say I took some positives from the extended break I had due to my illness and feel extremely well rested now. I’ve had some time away which has allowed me to get back to the game with renewed focus. I’ve been putting in the time these last few weeks and feel like it’s all coming together well, nicely in time for the upcoming tournaments, said Seher in an emailed response to DKT Sports.
Avani is quite optimistic about the upcoming season. “The IGU has also planned an excellent calendar, the first tournament is right after I head back after playing the 8th and 9th Leg. Even though the amateur season has started, I will still continue to play in professional tour because I want to break into the Top 100 in WAGR by the end of 2021”, said Avani.

Disha too is prepared for the ongoing season. “I think I’ve done my work in the last 5 months and I am confident to play the event. We have 2 more tournaments after this so rest and be ready for the next events,” Disha told DKT Sports.

In all, women golfers are keeping their fingers crossed and hoping for a better and trouble-free season ahead.

 

By Dhruv Trivedi

Connect to us: dhruv@dktsports.com

September 01, 2021 in Golf

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