Ian Poulter believes a difficult week lies in store for the European Team in the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles

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Words: Robin Barwick

As Ian Poulter contemplated what has been a frustrating 2014 PGA Championship for him, the Englishman warned against the European Ryder Cup team seeing too much into the apparent poor fortunes of the American contingent this week.

“There have been a couple injuries for the American team,” started Poulter, after finishing in a tie for 59th at Valhalla Golf Club yesterday, “but listen, it’s the Ryder Cup and whether you have a weak team or a strong team, it doesn’t matter who is playing because it is going to be a really difficult week anyway.”

At Gleneagles next month, the United States team will be without big-hitting Dustin Johnson for personal reasons, Tiger Woods looks to have run out of time to prove fitness, let alone form, Jason Dufner has a neck injury that may rule him out for the rest of the year, while Matt Kuchar withdrew from the PGA Championship with a back problem. The only really bright development for US captain Tom Watson this week has been the return to form of Phil Mickelson, who posted his first top-10 finish of the entire season at Valhalla, in finishing runner-up behind Rory McIlroy by a stroke. Ryan Palmer also strengthened his bid for a place on the US team by finishing in a tie for fifth.

“Whether we are favourites is irrelevant,” added Poulter, who will have to improve his own form in the FedEx Cup Play-offs on the PGA Tour later this month in order to qualify automatically for the European team. “It’s the Ryder Cup, and we have seen guys go in there and demolish players who are ranked much higher in the world ranking. It doesn’t mean anything. Guys are going to play with passion and both teams are going to be fighting really hard.”

Poulter is such a Ryder Cup specialist that no matter what his form between now and September 2, when European captain Paul McGinley will announce his three wildcard picks, it is widely thought McGinley will pick the 38-year-old Englishman no matter what.

Poulter will be hoping to take the problem out of McGinley’s hands.

Robin Barwick travelled to the PGA Championship courtesy of Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz is the official car of the PGA Championship