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Poulter aims to end year on a high

Englishman, smarting from Dubai loss, still in search of the elusive major crown

Image Credit: AFP
Ian Poulter
Gulf News

Thousand Oaks, California (Reuters) While Ian Poulter has bitter-sweet memories from last week's Dubai World Championship, the flamboyant Briton can reflect on a highly successful 2010 campaign.

The world No 8 has triumphed twice, including a breakthrough victory on the US PGA Tour, and he has two more tournaments before the end of the year to add extra gloss.

His main regret was his failure to claim a first major title, something he would dearly love to redress next season.

"It's been a great year," Poulter told Reuters with a smile on the eve of this week's Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club.

"I've had two wins, plus a Ryder Cup win (for Europe), and I've also had two runner-up positions as well.

"And it's not quite over. I've got two more tournaments — the Chevron this week and Greg Norman's tournament next week so I would like to cap off another couple (of wins) if I can."

A 10-time winner on the European Tour, Poulter came close to recording back-to-back titles before losing out in bizarre style in a playoff for the Dubai World Championship on Sunday.

The fashion conscious Englishman was edged out by Swede Robert Karlsson at the second extra hole after he incurred a one-stroke penalty when he dropped his ball on to his coin, causing the marker to flip over.

"My ball slipped from six inches above the coin," Poulter said. "It managed to land flat on the coin and it flipped itself over. In the rule book, that states a penalty."

Harsh rule

Although Karlsson held a distinct advantage on that hole, facing a three-foot birdie putt while his rival lined up a 40-footer, Poulter felt the rule was harsh and should be changed.

"It's a shame," said the 34-year-old, who had been bidding for his second victory in a row after landing the Hong Kong Open title the previous week.

"The rules are there to protect everybody. Was there any intent to move my marker? No. It was an accident. Do I think the rule should be changed? Yes.

"It's brought it to everyone's attention that it's a rule that could be looked at to change. But who knows? We'll have to wait and see if anyone wants to take it any further."

Perhaps the pivotal moment of Poulter's season came in February when he outplayed fellow Englishman Paul Casey 4&2 to win his maiden PGA Tour title at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona.

"That was great, and even more satisfying because it was a WGC event after trying (to win) so many times before in the States," Poulter recalled. "It was very rewarding."