The news broke last week that Ian Poulter would be sidelined for the next four months due to a foot injury.
You never want to see anyone hurt. But with the news also came the realization/relief for Ryder Cup USA hopefuls that Poulter will not be participating in the 2016 matches at Hazeltine in September.
As a competitor, anyway.
On Monday, Ryder Cup Europe Captain Darren Clarke appointed Poulter as one of his vice captains -- a brilliant move by Clarke since Poulter has established himself as Europe's fiercest Ryder Cup competitor since Seve Ballesteros.
When it comes to Poulter and the Ryder Cup, outrageous things tend to happen. He plays like a man possessed in the bienniel matches. Players admit to trying to peak at the majors. Poulter always seems to peak at the Ryder Cup. The cup seems bigger for him than anyone else in the competition. Over the last several years of European dominance, Poulter has been right at the top of the list when you try to identify the players that have been the biggest thorn in the U.S. side.
Poulter has been a member of five European Ryder Cup teams. Only once in that stretch -- 2008 -- has he been on the losing end. His overall record is a remarkable 12-4-2 and his .72 winning percentage is tops amongst all Europeans with at least three Ryder Cup appearances.
Perhaps most amazing when it comes to the record is the fact that Poulter is 4-0-1 in singles. How nice it must be for a captain to know he is virtually assured a point when Poulter goes out on the final day.
Here are five of our favorite Poulter moments in the Ryder Cup:
Poulter sets the tone at 2012 matches. In the first match off of the morning foursomes on the second day of the 2012 matches at Medinah with Justin Rose, Poulter riled up the masses on the first tee, encouraging them to whoop it up as he played his tee shot. It was part rock concert, part golf match. A bold move at an away game. Poulter and Rose would win the match, 1 up:
Ian Poulter chips in at No. 15 in Day 2 Fourballs at the 2014 Ryder Cup. Poulter and Rory McIlroy would halve the match against Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler.
Poulter chips in for eagle on 11th hole at Celtic Manor in 2010 on his way to a dominating 5&4 victory over Matt Kuchar in singles:
Poulter birdies last five holes for win in 2012 Saturday Fourballs match with McIlroy over Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson. Just when it was looking like the 2012 Ryder Cup would be a rare U.S. romp, Poulter gave his European teammates a small glimmer of hope going into Sunday's singles, salvaging a crucial full point in the anchor match. That knocked the European deficit to 10-6 heading into the final day. A monster lead for the U.S., no doubt, but not insurmountable. The Americans proved that deficit could be overcome in 1999 when they rallied from the same four-point margin to win in Brookline, Mass. (This video shows Poulter's last three birdies beginning at the 8:02 mark):
Poulter was a perfect 4-0 at the 2012 matches.
And, finally, the facial expressions -- many of which you'll see in this Poulter Ryder Cup profile: