Ian Poulter Profile
|Short Name||The Postman|
|Born||Jan 10, 1976|
|Birthplace||Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England|
Ian Poulter famously turned professional with a handicap of four, but from that unpromising beginning he has built a massively successful career and become an icon of European Ryder Cup history.
Ian Poulter is an English professional golfer and a member of both the PGA Tour and the European Tour - he is also so much more than that.
As an individual golfer he has become a consistent winner since graduating from the Challenge Tour at the turn of the century.
As a personality, he is well-known for his dress sense, which has often clashed with traditional golfing norms, and for a driven nature that has occasionally rubbed some people, including fellow golfers, up the wrong way.
As a team performer he is little short of a phenomenon.
He enjoyed an incredibly successful Ryder Cup in 2012, winning all four of his matches to fuel the sensational fightback that was christened 'The Miracle at Medinah'.
At the time, he had won an astonishing 12 of his 15 Ryder Cup matches, a record that inspired the nickname 'The Postman' (because he always delivers).
Many have decried his individual record, but two World Golf Championship victories rather refute that scorn.
Early steps in the game
Poulter took up golf at the tender age of four when his father, who had a handicap of one, handed him a cut-down 3-wood.
Poulter was unable to get a spot as a pro in a private club, but became the assistant pro and golf shop manager at Chesfield Downs Golf Club.
Whenever he wanted to compete, Poulter had to pay the full green fee. As he was unable to compete regularly, his handicap remained at four.
Poulter then joined Leighton Buzzard golf course as Assistant Pro and taught youngsters for £1 per lesson.
Here he was under the tutelage of highly regarded teaching professional Lee Scarbrow, who saw huge potential in Poulter when he was only 17 years of age.
Poulter joined the paid ranks midway through the 1990s and earned his first victory as a professional on the Challenge Tour - Europe's second-tier - at the Open de Cote d'Ivoire in 1999.
Later that year, he qualified for the European Tour proper, making his way up the ranks through the Qualifying School.
Always a confident performer, he wasted little time making himself at home and claimed his first win at the Italian Open.
At the end of that impressive campaign he picked up the European Tour's Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year award.
Poulter maintained a steady level of performance, claiming victories in each of his first four seasons.
In the last of these he took a step up in class, defeating Sergio Garcia in a playoff at the 2004 Volvo Masters Andalucia, which was then the prestigious finale of the European Tour season.
It was a hint that he possessed the bravado to succeed at the top of the game and also that he thrived in head-to-head situations.
Poulter has had a series of near-misses in the Majors, most notably finishing in second place at the 2008 British Open, losing out to Ireland's Padraig Harrington.
On a blustery Sunday at Royal Birkdale, Poulter carded an impressive final round of 69, which briefly looked enough to set an unbeatable clubhouse target. However, the Irishman remained steadfast and Poulter had to accept being runner-up.
He finished tied third at the 2012 PGA Championship and also at the 2013 British Open. In all he has landed eight top ten finishes.
He has also gained a reputation for hitting shanks at Augusta National, but in typical Poulter style he has always brushed them off and hustled onward.
World Golf Championships
If Poulter has never quite landed a Major, he has proved himself at WGC level which in itself is yet another poke in the eyes of his critics.
He defeated fellow-Englishman Paul Casey to win the 2010 WGC Accenture World Match Play Championship and then added the WGC HSBC Champions in late 2012.
In-between he also claimed the Volvo World Match Play Championship event, another elite field tournament, but also played in the fashion he clearly adores - head-to-head and with added pressure.
Even his only regular PGA Tour victory came when he was under the cosh.
He entered the 2016 Houston Open needing a win to book a place at the following week's Masters and he completed the double-success with yet another playoff win.
The Ryder Cup
As a matchplay performer of note, it was perhaps inevitable that Poulter would thrive in the Ryder Cup.
His four wins from four at the 2012 Ryder Cup was a record at the time and was also instrumental in Europe turning the match around.
His performance at the Medinah Country Club that year was far from his only successful Ryder Cup tournament - he won four points from five matches in a losing cause in 2008 and three from four in 2010.
Poulter has an overall record of 14 wins and four halves in his 22 matches. He is undefeated in the singles.
Ian Poulter's personal life
Poulter is married to Katie and the couple have four children. They live in Lake Nona Golf & Country Club in Orlando and also have a house in Milton Keynes.
Katie was a nurse and Poulter has frequently credited her early support of their partnership as key to his future success and the life they now enjoy - she was the breadwinner when he was chasing the dream.
Poulter is an Arsenal fan and has sported the Gunners' club crest on his shoes on several occasions. Poulter even wore an Arsenal shirt at the Abu Dhabi Championship in 2006, which did not sit well with European Tour Officials.
They claimed that the sponsor's logo on the front of the shirt was too big. Poulter was criticized for breaking golfing traditions, but was not fined. The rule was subsequently changed to prohibit the wearing of football shirts.
Poulter's dress sense has reportedly been inspired by his mother, who managed the Letchworth branch of UK-based multinational women's fashion brand Dorothy Perkins.
Famously, Poulter donned trousers featuring an image of the Claret Jug at the 2005 and 2006 Open Championships.
A year before he'd raised eyebrows by wearing Union Jack-themed trousers.
Ian Poulter's net worth
Poulter has a reported net worth of $60million and is known for his collection of cars.
He has even hinted that he spends money on the vehicles in order to fuel his golf in the sense that he needs to keep playing to avoid selling them (and hopefully adding to the hoard).
DP World, Aurae Lifestyle and Club Swan are major sponsors of Ian Poulter, as well as Titleist, Footjoy, Mastercard, Audemars Piguet, NetJets and Woburn Golf Club.