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Sport24.co.za | Ian Poulter gets WGC place



Shanghai – Ian Poulter has been added to
the field for the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai this week after a bizarre turn
of events concluded a whirlwind fortnight for the Englishman.

Ryder Cup talisman Poulter dashed halfway
around the world two weeks ago to play in the Hong Kong Open after being nudged
out of the world’s top 50, the qualifying mark for WGC events.

It meant he hadn’t qualified for Shanghai
and would not therefore meet the minimum requirement of 13 European Tour events
needed to keep his Tour membership card.

Only members can qualify for Europe’s Ryder
Cup team, so Poulter endured a 9 000-mile last-minute charge across 13 time
zones from Florida to Hong Kong.

He finally turned up late on the eve of the
event without a caddie and no time to practise, after former US PGA champion
Rich Beem graciously gave up his sponsor’s invite to play in the event.

Poulter subsequently fell short of the win
he needed in Hong Kong to qualify for the WGC-HSBC Champions, Asia’s richest
tournament, and headed to last week’s Turkish Airlines Open resigned to missing
one of his favourite events in which he has played all 10 previous editions in
China.

The 39-year-old was sixth reserve for the
final World Golf Championship event of the year with seemingly no chance of
participation.

But fate dealt a hand and the first four
reserves were drafted in to complete the 78-man field.

Then George Coetzee of South Africa
withdrew from the $8.5 million event beginning at Sheshan Golf Club on
Thursday, giving first reserve Tyrrell Hatton of England a place.

And when American Brandt Snedeker then
pulled out at the weekend with a hip injury, second-reserve Poulter was
suddenly back in.

“I guess it was meant to be,”
Poulter tweeted. “I found a voucher in a Willy Wonka Chocolate bar.

 “If you wrote it no one would believe
the story…… It’s bloody crazy,” added the grateful player, who now has
the chance to add a second WGC-HSBC Champions title to the one he won at
Shenzhen in 2012.



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