Dubai: As if one Poulter on tour wasn’t enough, Ian could soon be joined by his older brother Danny.
Both were on a par as they made their breakthroughs in the early noughties, but in 2002, Danny snapped the rotator cuff in his left shoulder and was told he could never play again, while Ian went on to become a Ryder Cup legend.
Danny hadn’t played since, until last year when their mother Theresa suffered an aneurysm on the brain. She has since made a full recovery, but Danny, aged 42 — two years Ian’s senior — said the fear of losing her sparked him into life.
“It just put everything into perspective, you never know what’s around the corner, hence why I decided in January to go back to playing full-time to get back on Tour,” said Danny, who is making his Mena Golf Tour debut in this week’s Dubai Creek Open, ahead of next month’s European Tour Q-School qualifiers.
“In Ian’s book he openly admits that I was the better golfer out of the two of us, but life changes. He said that if I pull my finger out and get my head right there will be time for me on the seniors tour, but I’ve decided to bite the bullet early and with the experience we’ve had — having almost lost mum — to get out there and do it now.
“It’s not that Ian’s done well, it’s about me personally. I got so close but wasn’t able to go that extra step because of injury, but now I’m in a better place as a person as well. I was going through a divorce from my first wife at the time of my injury and had just met my second wife. I was probably not grown up enough or in the right place to have the desire and drive to do it back then.
“There’s a few goals I didn’t achieve, but I met a lovely girl and have two lovely kids now aged eight and 13, and after almost losing mum I want to show the kids what I can do. I’ve watched all the old videos of me winning tournaments and it’s reignited the flame.
“Ian’s done amazingly well, and that’s from hard work, grit and determination. Unfortunately I’m a little further down the line now. I’ll never be able to make the amount of money Ian has made or win as many tournaments as he has. But I still feel I’ve got the ability to win and make a success of myself on tour.”
And that’s something he feels he could soon. “Over the next two years I’m very confident of getting back on tour. I’m hitting the ball 30 yards further, hitting more fairways and greens, I just need my putter to come on fire. I keep telling people ‘I’m due a low one’ I’m hitting the ball really well I’m just not finishing it off.”
Playing on the Mena Golf Tour he said was vital to his return. “It’s competitive three round events playing on top courses in reliable weather. No disrespect to other tours but knowing you can get out and play or practice and not get rained on or blown off the course does make a difference. The facilities here are also second to none.”
And although he says his return has nothing to do with Ian’s success, he does admit that there’s a competitive element to the comeback.
“We can’t even play table tennis without trying to kill each other, it’s pretty intense. We used to fight like cats and dogs as kids, we were ultra-competitive, whether it was scrabble or tiddlywinks my dad [Terry] used to say ‘I’ll bang your heads together’ it doesn’t matter what it is, one of us has to win.
“I may have been told I would never play again, but I’ve proved a lot people wrong, including my nearest and dearest.”