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Sport24.co.za | Injury threatens Poulter's Ryder Cup hopes



Dublin – Ian Poulter’s hopes of securing automatic qualification for the
European team at this year’s Ryder Cup appear to have been ended by a
foot injury.

The Englishman, currently a lowly 42nd on the European points list, is set to be out of action for the next four months.

Were he to regain fitness in time, Poulter could still be chosen as one
of captain Darren Clarke’s three wildcard picks in a 12-man team for
the biennial clash between Europe and the United States, which this year
takes place at the Hazeltine course in Chaska, Minnesota from
September 30 to October 2.

Europe hold the Ryder Cup and Poulter
has four times been on the winning side in five editions, including the
most recent at Scotland’s Gleneagles course in 2014.

Although
he has never won one of golf’s four major championships – the US Open,
British Open, US Masters and US PGA, the 40-year-old Poulter has a
superb record in the Ryder Cup.

Of all European players who have appeared in at least 15 ties, none has a better winning percentage than Poulter’s 72.2.

If he doesn’t qualify for the team, Poulter could travel to Hazeltine as one of Clarke’s five vice-captains.

Thomas Bjorn, Paul Lawrie and Padraig Harrington were all appointed
last week, with Poulter, Lee Westwood and Jose Maria Olazabal the
favourites to fill the remaining places for what is now, like the
captaincy itself, usually a non-playing role.

“I am obviously disappointed to be in this situation, especially during a Ryder Cup year,” Poulter said in a statement.

“Right now, rest and rehab take priority in me returning to full strength later this season.”

Poulter’s doctor, Ara Suppiah, added: “Ian has been hampered by an
arthritic joint in his right foot for the best part of two-and-a-half
years.

“The condition has progressed rapidly over the last year
warranting numerous cortisone shots (within therapeutic limits) to allow
him to play. Unfortunately, he continues to be in pain while walking
and practising.

“Further cortisone shots run the real risk of
thinning the bones and stress fractures, which might require treatment
in a cast and significant time away from the game.

“We feel that
the best option at this stage is to take some time off to allow
complete recovery and rehabilitation of his foot.

“This will
give him the best chance of returning to the game sooner and preventing
further deterioration of the affected joint.”



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