“He’s the kind of player who feeds off his ego”
—Ian Baker-Finch on Ian Poulter.
Just a quick note about the finale of the Match Play today: it is, for the casual fan, exactly the sort of nightmare that keeps television executives awake at night. Nobody playing today (Sunday) is an American, and though it’s arguable that nobody would be watching anyway—the Olympics, after all—that can’t be comfortable for CBS, especially since the whole tournament was upstaged Friday by the Absent God. Anyway, I will be rooting for Paul Casey today—despite the fact that he just missed a virtual kick-in he needed to make on 7 (25th hole)!—mostly because … well, it isn’t because Poulter is dressed resplendently all in pink. I could make up some explanation here, but I’ll just say I don’t like Poulter due to an encounter I had with him some years ago at Cog Hill. I will give details in some later post, though a clue can be found in Baker-Finch’s comment I have reproduced above. (Poulter likes himself. A lot.)
Casey though seems to be worth rooting for despite what he said some years ago about Americans (“Americans are stupid”). Ok, he’s not the brightest bulb perhaps—uh, Paul, smart people tend not to say things like that for publication—but seems likable enough, not that it matters, but most importantly he employs Luke Donald’s brother as a caddie. That might be perceived as a negative, which actually it is because it’s one job less for an American looper, but did I mention I don’t like Poulter?
As I’m writing, Poulter is putting the hammer down on Casey, having just knocked it close in two on the par-five eighth while Casey missed the green. I’ll live-blog this part: Poulter misses the putt … just barely. Now Casey must make a birdie to halve: he made it! Casey remains at 4-Down. It isn’t looking good for Casey.
One other thing: Villegas has Garcia 4-Down in the consolation match, after hitting a spectacular shot out of the desert for birdie. It’s arguable that, given Poulter’s virtually incomprehensible accent, Casey is the only one of the four players on the course today that speaks a recognizable form of English to most Americans, which I offer as another reason to root against Poulter should there be any xenophobes in the audience here.
Poulter just putted off the green! Sure, he got his next shot close, but he’s still looking at least three to get down while Casey can two-putt to win the hole (the ninth on the second eighteen today.) Let’s see if he does: yep. There’s a bit of drama in that neither player conceded the short putts each had left to finish the hole. The lead is three with nine to go. I’m going to post this so you can see it if you’re reading while watching the tournament (you likely aren’t.) If you aren’t, hope the future is good.
***Poulter wins, 4 & 2.