Dubai: Ian ‘The Postman’ Poulter, one of England’s top professional golfers and a Ryder Cup hero, is quietly confident about delivering a possible maiden Major when he tees off at the rescheduled 2020 Masters Tournament next week.
The 84th edition of the Masters, originally scheduled to be held in the first half of April at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, will now be played without any spectators due to the pandemic from November 12-15.
Poulter, one of the ambassadors for DP World’s involvement in the ongoing Dubai Fitness Challenge, announced his withdrawal from the Houston Open this week so that he could be in prime form for next week’s first Major of the season.
Last month, Poulter ended tied 12th and with a bit of a discomfort in his back at The CJ Cup held on the Shadow Creek Course. The 44-year-old chose to skip this week’s Houston Open – the event Poulter won in 2018 – so that he could pay attention to his troublesome back.
“I am happy with the form heading into next week. The good thing is that I’ve got two weeks’ rest as well. There was a bit of a back spasm and my body didn’t enjoy playing in the rain in Scotand. But that said, I have been getting some treatment done to alleviate the pain since then. I also took an MRI, and luckily, there are no issues at all,” Poulter told a select few media via zoom call.
“I’ve got to take things easy for the next seven days and build up to a schedule that allows me to stay as fresh as possible heading into the Masters. The idea is to take the next seven days off. Luckily, there is nothing wrong with the back, so I have taken the opportunity of staying in Orlando, practise and get ready for the Masters by staying as fresh as possible,” he added.
Ever since his career as a golf pro, Poulter has celebrated living up to his nickname by donning a post box costume during Team Europe’s celebrations at the Ryder Cup. He has been christened ‘The Postman’ for consistently delivering points for his side in golf’s most revered team competition.
A member of the world’s top two professional golf Tours – the US-based PGA Tour and the European – Poulter’s best till date have been his two World Golf Championship wins at the 2010 WGC-Accenture Match Play and the 2012 WGC-HSBC Champions. The Englishman had previously been ranked as high as No. 5 on the world rankings.
Turning professional in 1995, the down-to-earth Poulter has been a regular to Dubai. His best finish came at the 2010 Dubai World Championship where he lost to a Robert Karlsson birdie on the second extra hole.
“There are so many little things that have changed in Dubai. I have seen Dubai grow in the last 22 years. There were only a couple of golf courses and now we have so many. In addition, we’ve got so many great hotels and the restaurants are fantastic,” he noted.
“My biggest message for all will be to enjoy this experience of being part of this Dubai Fitness Challenge initiative of the Dubai Sports Council. The wonders of playing golf, even if you have never picked up a club before, is great. And what is even great is to bring in new people to golf. That’s an exciting opportunity when you look at the growth in golf in the last five months, and it is the biggest there’s been in the sport since 2008,” Poulter said.
“So any opportunity we can give to the next generation, be it boys, girls or adults, is a great thing for us as the future is secure. I am excited to see DP World get involved in this iniaitive and I wait and see who comes out and wins those great prizes,” he added.
“Golf is such a great sport that has so many life values - there is honesty and respect that can be taught to the youngsters. We need more initiatives so that the next generation has the opportunity before them. Not only do they need to understand the good things about the game, but they need to see how they can be part of a good building block that is educational at the same time. But most importantly, we need to show them that golf is a cool game where they can have a lot of fun as well,” Poulter signed off.