Ryder Cup: Ian Poulter lashed out at ‘disrespectful’ ex-USA captain: ‘Slapped your a***’

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Team USA are in a commanding position in the 43rd edition of the Ryder Cup, as they opened up a record six-point lead over Europe at Whistling Straits. It means they need to secure just three and a half points from 12 of today’s singles matches to regain the trophy they surrendered three years ago to Europe in Paris. Europe endure yet another torrid day out on the course, which saw them go into Saturday already 6-2 down following Friday’s exploits.

The biggest comeback on the final day is four points, a feat completed by the US in 1999 and Europe in 2012.

European captain Padraig Harrington said it was “still possible” for his side to claim victory.

He said: “It’s only half a point more than we won in the singles at Medinah. There’s no doubt that is going to be strong in our minds.

“They have to just go out there and win their own individual match. They have to focus on that and not look at that bigger picture and focus on their individual self.”

While USA may be on the way to getting their hands on the iconic trophy, Europe in recent years have enjoyed a spell of success over their American counterparts.

And Poulter, known as The Postman as he always delivers during the Ryder Cup, let his rival Azinger know this after the 1993 USPGA Championship winner criticised the European Tour.

Aziner, the victorious Ryder Cup captain in 2008, was making remarks in 2020 about Tommy Fleetwood, and his quest for a first victory on the PGA Tour.

He said: “There is a lot of pressure here (on Fleetwood). You know you are trying to prove to everybody you’ve got what it takes.

“These guys know, you can win all you want on the European Tour, the international game and all that, but you have to win on the PGA Tour.

“(Lee) Westwood took offence to that when I asked about that. He said he’s won 44 times all over the world.

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“But it’s not the PGA Tour.

“They know that, and I think Tommy knows that and it’s put a little pressure on Tommy, but this is where they want to be and they want to come here and prove they can make it at this level.”

On social media, golf fans reacted with anger, including Poulter.

He wrote on Twitter: “I like @PaulAzinger a lot. And get on with him great. But Paul please do not condescend or disrespect the @EuropeanTour and our players like that.

“We have slapped your a*** in Ryder Cup for so long. I know you captained a win but seriously that was embarrassing today.”

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He is not the only golfer Poulter has appeared to have fallen out with, as Tiger Woods reportedly was not a fan of the Hertfordshire-born star.

Woods, the legendary golfer who made the sport a must-see watch viewing event throughout the past 25 years, once sent a “rude text” to his then-coach Hank Haney about Poulter.

Writing in his 2012 memoir The Big Miss, Haney said the 15-time Major winner sent the messages while all three of them were on his private plane in 2007.

It is well known that Woods was cold with other players during his career, although he would always speak with those who demanded his respect due to their exploits on the course.

Mr Haney wrote: “Those he genuinely liked tended to be quiet, modest, hardworking guys like Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker, whose ability he respected but whose talent didn’t elevate them to the position of serious rival.

“He kept the super talented at a distance. He didn’t want players who could be a threat to feel comfortable around him.

“He was averse to certain players, especially if he felt their records didn’t warrant all the talk. He wasn’t a fan of Ian Poulter, for example.”

The coach noted that a couple of weeks prior to the US Open at Oakmont, in 2007, some players went into the Pittsburgh area course to get some practice rounds in.

Among them was Poulter, and Mr Haney said that while he was there he “somehow ended up getting a ride on Tiger’s plane back to Orlando, where he lived”.

Mr Haney continued: “Tiger stretched out on his regular spot, in the two seats in the front of the plane, and immediately put on his headphones.

“That left me to talk to Ian, which I didn’t mind because I got along with him.

“As we were conversing, Tiger texted me a rude message about Ian. As far as I know, Ian didn’t get any more rides.”

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