England's Ian Poulter during a practice round for The Open
England's Ian Poulter during a practice round for The Open Image Credit: AP

Today we focus on Ian Poulter and his chances this week and for the remainder of 2021.

On Tuesday, Ian played just nine holes and did some media work ahead of Thursday’s tee off at The Open at Royal St George’s.

The DP World Ambassador seems very happy in himself, with his game and, in my opinion, was hugely energised by England’s run to the final at Euro 2020 over the past month. Ian is an emotional person on and off the golf course and a golfer who always wears his heart on his sleeve. He booked a box at Wembley for the final against Italy for himself and a few friends, but due to his final round of 63 in Scotland, he had to hang around until he could not win and his private jet and limousine only got him to Wembley during the second half. He did not see England at their best.

His sole target for 2021 is to make the European Team for the Ryder Cup just 68 days away at Whistling Straits.

Poulter lies 13th in the world points list and 23rd in the European list. He is currently on the outside of the Ryder Cup Team looking in, but never overlook the passion and influence that Poulter brings to the team, that I have seen first-hand on many occasions, especially at Medina, and never write off ‘Mr Ryder Cup’ for an automatic qualification place, a captain’s pick or, at worst, a vice-captain’s role. I know for sure Poulter is still looking at the first option as a priority and within his grasp.

It is no secret of Poulter’s desire to be a future Ryder Cup captain, everyone in the mix just has to be careful that there are enough Ryder Cups to go around for the potential captain candidates to have their chance — one only chance it seems these days!

Poulter had a hugely impressive week at the Scottish Open last week at The Renaissance Club in finishing T4th.

And he also has a good Open record since his debut in 2000. He was runner-up to Padraig Harrington in 2008 at Royal Birkdale and joint third at Muirfield five years later. This will be the 45-year-old’s 19th Open.

These are impressive numbers having turned pro in 1995. There cannot be many players in the field this week matching these appearance numbers.

Poulter is teeing off at 7.52am on Thursday morning alongside 2021 Omega Dubai Desert Classic Champion and fellow Englishman Paul Casey, and 30-year-old Mexican Abraham Ancer, who currently stands an impressive 21st in the world rankings and his most recent win was the 2018 Emirates Australian Open.

It is a decent draw for Poulter as long as the weather stays dry as predicted.

All my other players had a comfortable day getting ready for Thursday. It is maybe on Wednesday they all start to panic! Who knows? But I am on the range all day ready to see them and keep them on the straight and narrow.

I talked 2010 Open Champion Darren Clarke off the ledge on Tuesday, again! Exactly 10 years to the day, I did the very same to Darren before his emotional Open win of his life at the same venue.

I must have told you all of this famous 2010 story, but that will have to wait for another time when I am face to face with all my good friends in Dubai, as soon as I can return legally and safely to the UAE.

Tomorrow’s instalment will be all about Rory McIlroy and his preparations for the week ahead.

For every player in the field, whether you are Rory, Brooks Koepka, Poulter, Clarke or any of the 152 other players, a win this week at The Open 2021 is life changing for everyone!

One more sleep to go. Players, caddies, TV, media, the fans and even the ‘odd’ 70 year-old veteran coach are getting excited about the next few days ahead.