Ian Poulter has built a fanbase on his brash, outspoken manner but when it comes to golf the Englishman has built his golf game around a serious desire to win.
This week sees the Arsenal fan return to the tournament he loves the most and in 2008, Birkdale set the scene for the best ever result of his career when finishing second behind Padraig Harrington.
The past two years have seen Poulter struggle on the links courses that the Open is played on having missed the cut in 2009 and finishing 60th last year, but the 35-year-old decided to avoid a tour event last week to practice at Royal St Georges and he feels better for it.
50/1 to win the Open, Poulter was spotted at the British Grand Prix on Saturday and was asked by Eddie Jordan if he had a chance to win it.
“Yeah, I’ve been down there practicing this week, Tuesday and Wednesday,” said Poulter. “I feel very good. I’ve been here having some fun this weekend so I feel very relaxed and I’m ready to go.”
A quick scan of Poulter’s Open finishes and you wonder just why he is as short as 50/1 to win it.
Just once has he finished in the top ten although came close with an 11th placed finish in 2005, but those two tournaments aside, Poulter has struggled to cope with the best links courses Britain can offer.
While he finished four shots off Harrington when finishing second in 2008, the showing from Poulter at Birkdale remains fixed in bookmakers minds following a final round that catapulted him up the leaderboard.
He has one tour win to his name this season and that was in the Volvo World Matchplay, a format in which Poulter excels and the links challengers that Royal St Georges will offer up are not to Poulter’s liking.
He may have taken the right route by practising at the Open course last week, but 50/1 seems short for a player that has shown no consistency in links golf.