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Page last updated at 20:44 GMT, Thursday, 28 August 2008 21:44 UK

Poulter denies wildcard guarantee

Ian Poulter
Poulter insists he has a 'burning desire' to play for Europe in the Ryder Cup

Ian Poulter has denied rumours he missed the Johnnie Walker Championship because Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo had already offered him a wildcard.

Poulter is outside the automatic qualifying spots but opted against playing at Gleneagles this week, even though it is the final selection event.

"I know for a fact that I haven't been given the nod," Poulter said.

"I'm disgusted that people, players, media would think that Nick Faldo would be that unprofessional."

The 32-year-old Poulter is now up against the likes of Colin Montgomerie, Darren Clarke and Paul Casey for one of Faldo's two wildcard picks on Sunday.

The automatic selections are the top five players from a list based on the world rankings, plus the next five best players to feature on a European Tour-based points list.

Poulter currently stands at 12th on the overall rankings and could have qualified via the European list with a good finish at Gleneagles.

Instead of playing in Scotland, Poulter will compete at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston, which starts on Friday, hoping to secure entry to the final two FedEx Cup play-off events on the PGA Tour.

Though he admits he has spoken to Faldo, Poulter insists their conversations were not about being assured a place on the team.

I don't feel that I just have to go back for that one golf tournament to prove my point

Ian Poulter

"It's pathetic that people can even think that's the case," said Poulter, who was runner-up to Padraig Harrington in the Open at Royal Birkdale

"Nick's a professional, he's been a professional the last 30 years of his career and he's not going to start changing now.

"I told him basically that my decision is to stay here and play and I got the best answer I could have possibly got off a captain (which was) 'you've got to do what's right for you'.

"That's the most respectful thing I could have possibly wanted to hear from a captain."

Asked to respond to Montgomerie's comment that Poulter "seems to have a hotline to Faldo", the Englishman said: "There are a lot of emotions going about, comments from players that I don't think should have been said, to be honest.

"The fact is, I know Nick, and I've been fairly friendly with Nick since I've come on tour.

"I shouldn't stop that fact just because he's Ryder Cup captain. I don't need to get in the discussion of Monty's discussions. He's got enough work to do this week to try to make the side himself. He should just be getting his head down and trying to play good golf."

Poulter stressed his chances of securing a wildcard should not come down to whether or not he played one tournament.


"If you look at my statistics over the last 12 months in relation to the other names that have been put in the potential wildcard choice, I'm 70 points in the world rankings ahead of Paul Casey and Darren Clarke," he said.

"I've played well this year, and that's all I could have done. I don't feel that I just have to go back for that one golf tournament to prove my point.

"Look at the statistics for the whole year. I want to make this Ryder Cup side. I want to play."

Mark James, who captained Europe during the 1999 Ryder Cup, refused to criticise Poulter for missing the Johnnie Walker Championship.

"I've known him for a number of years - he's a pretty good guy," James told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"I understand people criticising him for not taking part in the tournament but he likes to play in America.

James added: "Nick Faldo may be a little bit disappointed with Ian because he didn't try to get in automatically. But Nick will be reasonably happy with the way others are playing."

The 37th Ryder Cup will be hosted by the United States at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville from 19 to 21 September.

see also
European Ryder Cup rankings
26 Aug 08 |  Golf

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