This week, a couple of crazy things happened to 39-year-old British professional golfer and famed Arsenal Football Club supporter, Ian Poulter.
Poulter, known for his flashy style of dress and contributions to European Ryder Cup teams, ended up being nudged out of the top 50 players in the World Golf Ranking earlier this week. By missing that 50th place by .1%, it meant that he would have difficulty making it into the next four European Tour events, and if he's not able to play in at least 13, he won't be eligible to play in next year's Ryder Cup, the bi-annual matchup between the best players in Europe and the USA. To date, Poulter has played in only 9 events, so he really needed to scramble.
And then, a miracle happened. Rich Beem, the 2003 Masters winner, PGA Pro and TV announcer, had received an invitation to the Hong Kong Open which ends on October 25th. Hearing about the situation, the American graciously gave up his spot for Poulter.
And so began the mad dash to Hong Kong - making sure all his documentation was in order beforehand. Poulter crossed 12 time zones and made it in time for his 12:00 local tee time on Thursday morning, and went out on fire, shooting a 67 the first day and 66 the next to make the cut and be solely in third place - two behind the leader, another British player Justin Rose, at -9. Between the two is Danish player Lucas Bjerregaard at -8. Poulter has not just made the cut, he appears to be in contention for a win!
The Ryder Cup venues alternate between Europe and the USA: in 2016 it will be held at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota. The European Team have claimed victory in the past three Ryder Cup meetings, and Poulter's has been a big part of the atchup. His personality is infectious, and he is a true team leader and he's a delight for all golf amateurs no matter which side of the pond they may be on.
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