Poulter primed for Masters
10 April 2013, 14:10
Augusta - Winning the Ryder Cup for Europe is one thing, but winning the Masters for yourself is quite another, according to Ian Poulter.
The colourful Englishman was the hero in Chicago last September when his battling display in the Saturday fourballs salvaged the European team's defense of the team trophy against the United States.
He won all four matches to confirm that he is one of the finest exponents of match-play golf in the world, but that goes for little, he said, when it comes to stroke-play golf at the highest level.
Asked if he could get as fired up at Augusta National as he does at the Ryder Cup, Poulter replied: "No is the simple answer. I've answered that 100 times.
"You've got two sets of fans (at the Ryder Cup), and here you've got fans that are wishing 92 players play well.
"It's very difficult to get that same atmosphere, recreate it. It just won't happen."
Not that Poulter is writing off his own chances of winning a first major title at the age of 37.
On the contrary, he believes that Augusta National and its unique challenges offer him his best opportunity of winning one of the big four titles.
In the last six years he has always placed in the top 25, with a career-best seventh place last year when he was one of only five players in the field to finish all four rounds at par or better.
Last winter, he worked hard at adding length to his driving and height to his ball flight, two factors he believes will boost his play at Augusta National.
"I feel with those changes that I should be more equipped, certainly coming in here this week," he said.
"You need to stop the ball quickly on these greens to certain pins and you need to hit it pretty long off the tee. So I've kind of done both things that I was looking for in the winter."
Poulter's best showing this year was once again in matchplay, where he took fourth place in the WGC Accenture tournament.
Recently, he tied for 21st at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month before sharing 37th last week at the Texas Open, where he was still recovering from a bad chest infection.
A regular sufferer from pollen allergies, Poulter's woes have been compounded by the abundant array of blooming plants, shrubs and trees at Augusta National.
"I've still got something there, albeit I don't sound 100 percent, but I feel fine," he said.
"Just the allergies this week kind of are pretty good. We all know how much pollen you get around this place.
"And when you're allergic to grass and trees and pine, it's a pretty good place to come and play golf. So I'm taking every tablet, nose spray, eye drops, the lot."