Ryder Cup legend Ian Poulter says he loves beating Americans as Euro aces wear cheeseheads to win over fans in Wisconsin

IAN POULTER says there is a simple reason why he has become a Ryder Cup legend – he loves beating Americans!

Poulter will make his seventh appearance for Europe at Whistling Straits, looking for his sixth victory.


The 45 year old Englishman says winning never gets old. And neither does getting under his opponent’s skin.

He grinned: “I'm sure I've annoyed plenty of my opponents. I mean, my winning percentage has been really nice, for me, and not for the guys I've played against.

“So I'm sure that's been pretty frustrating to be on the receiving end of that. But as far as I’m concerned, it feels nice.

“I enjoy holing putts and winning matches. It's been a great ride. I'm never going to apologise for it. It's how match play should be played.”

As well as inspiring the 2012 Miracle at Medinah with his sensational five birdies in a row blitz, Poulter has proved unbeatable in Ryder Cup singles matches, winning five and halving the other.

His overall record shows just six defeats in 22 matches, and he admits he still curses his only defeat in European colours, at Valhalla in 2008.

Poulter could not have done any more to try to avoid that setback. He won four points out of four at Valhalla.

But he commented: “That was miserable. Even though I picked up four points that week, it meant nothing.

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“To have personal success, when these weeks are not about the individual at all, it counts for zip.

“To go 4-0 and lose is pretty depressing. You'd rather go 0-4 and win. I'd still be pretty happy on Sunday night if I was to play it out that way.”

Captain Padraig Harrington, meanwhile, knew his decision to kit his team out as cheeseheads was a massive success.

The European team stood milking the applause on the first tee at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin – the state which produces a lot of America's cheese.

Europe's stars turned up wearing the triangular hats made famous by the Green Bay Packers supporters, and Harrington revealed he had been churning out ideas on how to win over local fans for the past 18 months.

After throwing the hats to the fans in the stands around the first tee the European players pulled on green caps and beanies, and their practice outfits even had green sleeves.

Harrington admitted it was part of a charm offensive to try to win over some spectators with travel restrictions limiting European support to a bare minimum.

He said: “Look, the crowds are great. Everybody embraced that, as you would have seen on the first tee.

“When we were doing the clothing, as much as 18 months ago, the designers were talking about maybe bringing some Irish colours in for me.

“I'm not really into that sort of stuff, so I came up with why don't we do something with Wisconsin.

“Obviously the Green Bay Packers fit the Irish theme, and when we approached them about this they really bought into it, and they supplied the cheeseheads.”

Harrington was asked whether he could ever have imagined being European captain would involve joining his players in throwing foam cheese hats into the crowd.

He laughed: “I suppose not. No, not at all. But it’s a nod to the State we’re playing in, and it’s also a bit of fun, which is what you want on practice days.

“The serious business starts on Friday, but at the moment the players are enjoying it and having a good time of it.

“Everybody is out here to get on well with the crowds. There's no doubt about that.

“It is a nod to Wisconsin and obviously to Green Bay that we've gone with this, that we've gone with the colours. And the cheeseheads and throwing the things up there is a bit of fun for the fans.

“We obviously can't sign autographs this week with Covid, which is something that traditionally we would do.

“So these fans have come out and they've come out on a cold day. They've come out to watch us, and we want to give them something back.

“It worked very well on all sides. And now I'm a fan for life. I'm going to say this – I’ve been a fan of the New England Patriots before this, but now I'm a Green Bay Packers fan. I changed allegiance somewhat.”

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