Less than a year out from the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, the United States nearly avoided having to worry about the eye-bulging stares of Ian Poulter.
Not unlike the scheduling snafu that precipitated Martin Kaymer’s loss of PGA Tour status for the 2015-16 season, Poulter found out on Monday, Oct. 19 that he had fallen outside of the Official World Golf Ranking’s top-50 for the first time since September 2006.
No big deal, right? Wrong.
Like many global stars of the game, Poulter holds membership on both the PGA and European Tours and is forced to set a schedule that requires he play in 15 PGA Tour-sanctioned events and 13 European Tour-sanctioned events. Spending the majority of his time stateside, Poulter played in 19 PGA Tour events and, prior to this week, 12 European Tour events. The requirements have their advantages and disadvantages as major championships and World Golf Championships are co-sanctioned events, thus limiting the number of starts players need to make on each Tour — four majors and four WGCs already mark off eight events on each circuit.
However, to qualify for each WGC including the HSBC Champions, which will be contested Nov. 4-8, one needs to fall into a certain category of winners, be a top finisher in an end-of-season series (FedEx Cup, Race to Dubai) or rank in the top-50 of the OWGR. With Poulter outside the top-50 and just 12 events to his credit on the European Tour, the Englishman was thrust into scramble mode, not only to maintain his European Tour card, but also to be eligible for the 2016 Ryder Cup.
Thanks for reading Rich Beem helps Poulter try to qualify for the Ryder Cup Team!