Ian Poulter
Ian Poulter is making his third LIV Golf outing of the season in Jeddah Image Credit: LIV Golf

In part two of a wide-ranging interview with Gulf News at LIV Golf Jeddah, 12-time DP World Tour winner Ian Poulter reveals why he won’t be following in Sergio Garcia’s footsteps in trying to qualify for the 2025 Ryder Cup and why he is sick of the rumours of a proposed World Tour.

Throughout his colourful career, Poulter has often been referred to as Mr Ryder Cup.

From his unstoppable self-confidence to his intense passion, he was a force to be reckoned with, striking fear into the hearts of his American rivals every time the biennial contest rolled around.

Known as ‘The Postman’ for always delivering, the 48-year-old’s overall record in his seven Ryder Cup outings is an impressive one – 15 wins, eight defeats and two ties in the 25 matches he has been involved in.

He also remains undefeated in singles, beating the likes of Dustin Johnson, Tony Finau and Matt Kuchar on the final day of the event.

Golf - Postman Poulter's fans
Postman Poults celebrates Europe's victory at Le Golf National in 2016 Image Credit: Supplied

So, when he joined LIV Golf in 2022 before later resigning from the DP World Tour after facing a barrage of fines and suspensions for defecting to the breakaway circuit, he seemingly ended his participation in the showdown, with European players needing to be members of the Tour to compete.

He sat and watched from home last year as Europe beat a strong American side by five points in Rome, with fellow Ryder Cup stars Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia suffering the same fate after switching to the Saudi-backed league.

Garcia, the record points scorer in the event, revealed in a recently released podcast with Rick Shiels that he was looking to take up DP World Tour membership once again in a bid to continue his magical story with the contest.

Does Poulter envisage going down the same route as the Spaniard?

“No,” said Poulter.

“My years of playing the Ryder Cup are done, I’m too old. I’m 48, so I’d technically be 49 by the time next year’s edition rolls around.

“Too much happened last time, too much was said and that’s extremely disappointing from my perspective with the way certain people were treated and spoken about with reference to the Ryder Cup, especially when certain people have committed a lot of their life to work extremely hard for that product.

“So, the way it stands right now, with the current people that run that level of the organisation, things would have to change for me to be involved.

“That’s from an everything perspective (Captain, Vice Captain or player), I’m not needed, they didn’t need me last time – some people said that we weren’t needed.”

Prior to last year’s edition at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, Rory McIlroy, a teammate of Poulter’s for six Ryder Cups, said “I think they are going to miss being here more than we're missing them,” while also stating that a lack of LIV players wouldn’t hurt Europe’s chances.

Former European Captains also had their say with Nick Faldo claiming the team had “moved on” from LIV players competing and Paul McGinley stating the likes of Poulter and Westwood had “removed themselves from the Ryder Cup.”

Ian Poulter
Poulter was speaking exclusively to Gulf News at LIV Golf Jeddah Image Credit: Thomas Wragg, Gulf News

Despite the bad blood that was spilled from both sides, it was revealed during tournament week Poulter had reached out to members of the team to offer them words of wisdom and support.

“I spoke to everyone because they’re my teammates, they will always be my teammates,” Poulter told me ahead of LIV Golf Jeddah at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club.

“When you’ve gone into battle with a group of individuals, that fire will always still be there.

“When you’ve given and committed so much of your career to want to be with a certain group of individuals, no matter what is said, good or bad, they will always be your teammates.

“Those memories will last a lifetime. I don’t ever want to erase those memories as they’re too special.

“I can have a disagreement with one of those teammates now, but they will still technically be a teammate that I had. There will always be that level of bond there which will last a lifetime.

“I might not agree with some of the stuff they’ve said, and that would need to be aired and bridges rebuilt. But again, they didn’t miss us, they told us we weren’t missed and that’s okay.

“If that’s how they feel that’s fine.”

If those bridges were rebuilt, would he consider a return to the Ryder Cup in some capacity?

“Absolutely,” he replied emphatically.

“There’s no question. If you cut me in half, it bleeds Ryder Cup, right?

“But I also have my own self dignity and respect in there to not allow people to say certain stuff and disrespect you.”

World Tour rumours

Despite the bitterness and lawsuits between Public Investment Fund (PIF), the DP World and PGA Tour, they sent shockwaves through the sporting world last June when announcing they were to form "a new collectively owned" entity - something PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan had previously ruled out.

While an agreement is still yet to be reached, it has led to talk of a possible pathway back to the established Tours for LIV golfers, while, in recent months, rumours have ramped up of a proposed World Tour, which would unify the three Tours.

Ahead of last month’s Dubai Invitational, McIlroy said a World Tour is his "dream scenario" before later adding that the top 80 players in the world would compete in the “Champions League” style Tour, which would “sit above the rest of the leagues.”

Outgoing DP World Tour chief, Keith Pelley, has also spoken of his desire to unify the game, with the Canadian believing the game needs to be "global" in nature going forward, despite some PGA Tour players being initially reluctant to embrace that idea.

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AFP Image Credit: McIlroy is an advocate for a World Tour

Poulter isn’t as keen.

“Are we not already playing a that now?” he said when I put to him the idea of a World Tour.

“Again, someone else wants a different product. We’ve got 54 players on LIV Golf right now, with arguably over half of them the best players in the world, so why does this product have to change?

“Why does there now have to be another product?

“We travel globally, look where we play golf today, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, the States and Europe. This is technically a World Tour anyway right now, so why do we have to change our product because someone thinks it will suit them better if they’re involved in another product.

“I’m sick of playing the what if game. I’m sick of listening to people’s rubbish to be honest.

“I’m extremely happy on LIV Golf.”