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Poulter ready to relish hostilities

26th September 2012

• Europe’s Ryder Cup team will enjoy intimidating atmosphere
• Poulter says friendships will be suspended during weekend

Ian Poulter has cranked up the Ryder Cup atmosphere on the eve of the start on Friday by claiming Europe’s players “want to kill” their United States opponents.

Concern has emanated from some quarters, including the former European captain Colin Montgomerie, about the possibility of a wild atmosphere at Medinah. That theory is offset by the fact that several of Europe’s players, including Poulter, now reside in the United States. The Englishman has, however, dismissed any notion of a cosy relationship between the competing Ryder Cup sides this week.

“The Ryder Cup means too much to us for it to ever lose that edge,” Poulter said. “This event is unique. I hate to say we don’t get on for three days but there is a divide, and it’s not that we don’t like each other. We are good friends, both sides of the pond.

“But there’s something about the Ryder Cup which intrigues me; how you can be great mates with somebody but, boy, do you want to kill them in the Ryder Cup. It’s great, it’s passion like I’ve never seen before. I love it.”

Poulter scoffed at the suggestion he and his team-mates could temper any on-course celebrations so as not to antagonise the home crowd. “Are you kidding me? Are you for real? Are you going to tell someone not to enjoy holing a putt in front of 20,000 people and seeing them go bananas? That is Ryder Cup. That is what it means. Hell no,” he said.

“It is like scoring a penalty in a Champions League final. You should enjoy it. You have got the potential to hole many of them during the day, so why not give it a fist pump and see them go bananas? That is what it is all about. That is what it means. No, we haven’t been told to tone down any enjoyment factor when trying to beat the opposition.”

Poulter, then, is unperturbed about the likely level of vociferous home support at Medinah. In fact, he seems determined to relish it. “We are coming to Chicago, a place that’s going to be very vocal,” he added. “It’s going to be intimidating but it’s going to be brilliant.

“I couldn’t or wouldn’t want to be in any other situation this week. It fills you with pride and passion to go out there.

“The crowd are there for a reason and that’s why this is probably the best event in the world. They add to the excitement. They add to the fun. And I love to draw on the electricity that they give, the passion they give. I think you should embrace that and use it to inspire you to hit good golf shots.

“Yes, there is a divide this week and there should be a divide this week but on Sunday night we will all have a beer together and enjoy what hopefully should be a great spectacle.”

Poulter also swatted aside the theory that Rory McIlroy, the top-ranked golfer in the world, will be afforded more focus from the hosts than Europe’s other team members.

“I think there’s 12 bull’s-eyes on every one of our backs this week,” Poulter said. “I don’t think you can single out any one player. I don’t think you can just pull a player and say that person is going to be targeted more than any other. I don’t think it’s an issue for Rory at all.

“I think we are all targeted this week. They all want to get their hands on that trophy. We have been dominant in the Ryder Cup in the last 10 years and they really want to turn that around.”

Lee Westwood, meanwhile, has called Davis Love III’s set-up of the course “weird” with the lack of rough puzzling the world No4. “I’ve played here [in America] pretty much all year and I haven’t seen a golf course that’s had no rough down the side of the fairways and no rough around the greens,” he said. “That’s a weird one to me but you have to do what you feel is right as a team captain for your team.” © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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