LIV rebel Ian Poulter may snub Ryder Cup

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Ian Poulter – LIV rebel Ian Poulter may snub Ryder Cup – Getty Images/Ross Kinnaird

Even if Ian Poulter qualifies for September’s Ryder Cup, he could decline to play. That was the startling claim made by the Englishman here in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday as tensions surrounding LIV Golf escalated.

Poulter, 47, is perhaps Europe’s most celebrated player in the biennial dust-up since Seve Ballesteros, starring on five winning teams in seven appearances. His role in inspiring the Miracle of Medinah – the incredible comeback in Chicago in 2012 – earned Poulter the nickname ‘Mr Ryder Cup’.

But by joining the Saudi-funded circuit last year in a £22 million deal, Poulter was accused by Rory McIlroy, among others, of threatening his legacy. Hurt by the insinuations, he revealed at Yas Links he “no longer knows where my head is” when it comes to the event that has defined his career.

“I really don’t,” Poulter said. “It’s [the Ryder Cup] the only thing that has mattered to me for 20 years. You all know that. But when you feel like things change, you might feel a little differently. I would love to qualify. Whether I play or not would be a different thing. I haven’t given up on anything. If I win these two weeks, who knows?”

The problem is this fortnight – first the Abu Dhabi Championship that begins here on Thursday, followed by next week’s Dubai Desert Classic – could be the last time Poulter appears on the home circuit on which he has been a member for 23 years.

There is a court hearing in the United Kingdom next month where it will essentially be decided if the DP World Tour has the power to ban Poulter and the other LIV golfers, including Lee Westwood and Henrik Stenston.

‘I certainly don’t expect to get one of the six picks’

Yet even if the judge sides with the rebels and they are allowed to play on, Poulter does not expect Luke Donald, the Ryder Cup captain, to hand him one of his half-dozen wildcards – regardless of how he is…

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