JEDDAH PREVIEW "GET HOT NEXT WEEK IN MIAMI, YOU CAN WIN THE WHOLE THING" POULTER
The 47-year-old Englishman arrived early Tuesday morning in Jeddah after a long flight from Orlando and was the last one to leave Royal Green Golf & Country Club following an extended practice session.
Poulter is currently ranked 34th in the Individual Standings with three top-15 finishes, while Majesticks are placed 10th with 27 points.
“I’m feeling good about my game and I am fully rested. I played nicely in Chicago, but again, didn’t get enough out of the week there from a finishing perspective. Didn’t convert enough putts,” said Poulter, who has historically done well at Royal Greens, including a tied 6th place in 2019 Saudi International.
“I liked this golf course, which sets up pretty good for me. This is going to be a hot, humid week. So, it’s about conserving energy, making sure you get as much rehab and rest time as you can between rounds. And, as silly as it sounds, hydration is going to be a big factor this week. So, stay as much hydrated as you possibly can and see if we can have a great team week.”
The team is top of Poulter’s mind. Statistics have shown that the Majesticks players have been very consistent, but somehow, they haven’t gelled together for three straight rounds this year.
“We would like, as a team, to move up a couple of positions. I don't know where we can move up to and haven’t even looked. But it would be good if collectively, we can all play well this week leading into the Team Championship,” said Poulter.
“We have had spells where we collectively played great as a team, and then we have spells where we all shoot one-under par. And in this format, it’s a sprint… you can’t take your foot off the pedal at any stage. Unfortunately, for us in every tournament this year, we haven’t had the pedal down all the way.
“So, for one reason or another, and there seems to be no real rhyme or reason for this, we have not finished off slightly better than we have. But, you know, we can draw a line under this year and we can all continue to work harder to iron out the little kinks that we’ve got and see if we can turn what we know is a very solid team into a great team.”
Majesticks’ standing in the Team Championship is not something Poulter is unduly bothered about, saying they still have an equal chance of winning in Miami next week, even though it would mean an extra day’s work.
“This week does matter to us, but technically it doesn’t matter as far as Miami is concerned if you get my drift,” explained Poulter.
“It doesn’t matter whether you are 12th or first. You will have an opportunity to be able to win the Team Championship. Normally, in league sports like football or NBA, that’s not the case when it comes to a shootout kind of situation. In the NBA Playoffs, you just have to make the playoffs. It doesn’t matter if you are first or eighth in your conference.
“We have got a harder route to the finish than what the guys have in the top four. I know we only have to play three matches. If you get hot next week in Miami, on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, you can win the whole thing, which is pretty exciting for a team that feels a bit frustrated.”
Poulter was on a hot streak the previous week in LIV Golf Chicago, when going into the final round, he had played 133 par-5 holes without making anything worse than a par. That streak was broken on Sunday, but the man with 20 international wins said it wasn’t a stat he paid much attention to.
“Honestly, I had no idea about that streak until I was told by my team in Chicago. My par-5 statistics are pretty crappy, or so I’ve been told many times. I was like, enough is enough. I need to be more aggressive. I need to make sure that I’m converting on the par 5s. I hadn’t realised until I was told that I was on a streak on the par 5s and hadn't dropped a shot,” said Poulter lightly slapping his forehead.
“And funnily enough, I started on the first par five that day. I had a sand wedge in my hands, and I missed the green. I didn’t hit a good bunker shot, but I had about an eight-footer for par. And that might be one of the hardest eight-footers I’ve hit in a long time.
“Streaks don’t mean anything, but that was funny. I’d rather win 10 tournaments and have 50 bogeys on the par five, to be honest.”
Poulter was pleased with the form of Sam Horsfield in Chicago, after his compatriot returned from a four-and-half-month break following a hip surgery.
“He did really good in Chicago. We are all really encouraged. He’s worked very hard in that five-month recuperation period to put himself in a position to be able to go out feeling strong and be able to hit all the shots. I think he himself would have been very pleased with the way he played, taking that length of time off,” added Poulter.
“It will be good for him to have a couple of weeks of rest after Chicago and then get himself ready again, to come out for these two weeks.”
The Majesticks team will comprise of Co-Captains Poulter, Lee Westwood and Henrik Stenson, apart from Horsfield.