Poulter facing less stress in run-up to Ryder Cup than during tense 2010

Ian Poulter
Getty Images
Ian Poulter can't earn a spot on the European Ryder Cup team, but is feeling good about getting one of the two wild-card picks.
Doug Ferguson
Associated Press

Series: Ryder Cup

Published: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 | 8:30 p.m.

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Four years ago, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey stayed in America for the FedExCup playoffs instead of going to Scotland for the final qualifying event to make the Ryder Cup team. Poulter missed the cut in the second FedExCup playoff event, and lashed out at the media for causing a distraction.

Poulter and Casey were seen in the parking lot together having a chat that day. Both became captain's picks by Nick Faldo.

This time, there is far less stress, even though Poulter again will have to rely on being a pick.

Sergio Garcia winning at Greensboro assured the Spaniard a spot on Europe's team, though he wound up bumping Poulter out of the top 10 in the standings. This is the last week to qualify for the European team, but only for those at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, where players can earn points from money or the world ranking. Whatever points a European Tour member earns at The Barclays wouldn't count, because the tournament ends after Gleneagles.

That means Poulter can't earn a spot on the team, and neither can Padraig Harrington.

Poulter, however, appears to be a lock as one of Jose Maria Olazabal's two picks, especially after he tied for third at the PGA Championship and moved into the top 10 momentarily. The other leading candidate is Nicolas Colsaerts, the big hitter from Belgium, who is playing at Gleneagles.

Then again, Colsaerts can earn a spot on the team by finishing in the top two. That would knock out Martin Kaymer, and then leave Olazabal with a tough choice. The captain had said Harrington, who has played on every team since 1999, would have to do something extraordinary to merit consideration.

Harrington can't earn points at The Barclays, but he still might be able to make an impression.