Kevin Garside: And the winner of the first Ian Poulter Passion Award is...

The Way I See It: Before Poulter's intervention, this event was dying on its feet as a spectacle

In Olympic and Paralympic year the Sports Personality gong is probably beyond him. Therefore I propose a category all on its own to be awarded to the sportsman or woman who demonstrates a degree of passion, skill and commitment that against all odds threatens to alter the course of events, change a game, stand an hour on its head. The winner in this, the inaugural year, is Ian Poulter for his astonishing display at the Ryder Cup in Medinah on Saturday. I further propose that henceforth the trophy carry his name. Thus have we created the Ian Poulter Passion Award.

Poulter hit the first ball of the day in a quite astonishing atmosphere that he himself created, and was responsible 12 hours later for that last act, sinking a fifth successive birdie in the half-light to give Europe a point and hope. So great was Poulter's contribution on this day that a player of the calibre of Rory McIlroy, the world No 1, double major-winning supernova, walked the last hour with his mouth agape at the level of performance that his fourball partner had reached.

Make no mistake, before Poulter's intervention this event was dying on its feet as a spectacle. The United States had steamrollered the life out of it and then along comes this spikey-haired fireball to re-ignite the whole shebang.

The implacable Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner were two up with six holes to play. They birdied three of those last six holes yet lost the match. Poulter hit heights of psychotic engagement that surpassed anything he had shown us before. And in a competition that defines him, that is saying something.

McIlroy dropped the first grenade with a birdie at the 13th hole to reduce the advantage then rode the Poulter vapour trail as he fist-pumped his way to the line. Putt after knife-edge putt arrowed into the back of the cup as if on rails. Finding the hole is a good deal harder when you know the fatal consequences of missing.

The opposition were not sitting back admiring the view, either. Poulter's birdies at 17 and 18 were to equal the American effort. In the context of a day that had seen Europe smashed in the morning and bullied at the top of the order in the afternoon Poulter's contribution entered the realms of the paranormal. In fading light and with his face incrementally distorted by successive adrenaline surges, Poulter cut a frightening figure. So much so that McIlroy looked like he might need counselling at the end, never mind Johnson and Dufner.

Suddenly the mood around the European team shifted. No longer were they the desperate, dishevelled, beaten lumps carting chins around Medinah in wheelbarrows. They were warriors once more up for the fight. It didn't matter that the numbers were against them. A 10-6 deficit would require a repeat of the recovery made by America at Brookline, which remains a Ryder Cup record. The point is, they believed. Luke Donald, who in the third fourball match returned with Sergio Garcia another vital point, had shed the haunted look he bore during the record 7 & 6 evisceration delivered by American talisman Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson in the morning foursomes. Sitting beside our hero, Donald said: "Seeing those putts go in, that's certainly given us a lift. It's given us a heartbeat tomorrow."

The rise in voltage was also felt by the Americans, who for the first time since Friday morning suffered a negative momentum swing. The advantage was still overwhelmingly theirs but not the last two points of the day. Though they had taken five of the previous six, the late show by Poulter forced them to pause. Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson recorded two victories by a margin of 5 & 4. Their only reverse came against Poulter and Justin Rose on Saturday morning. Poulter delivered two of the three points earned by Europe on Saturday; as Sunday dawned he had supplied half his team's match total.

The events on the first tee on Saturday were remarkable by any measure and broke new ground even for the raucous carnival that is the opening tee shot of the day. Poulter turned the ritual into a vaudeville act, whipping up the crowd with exaggerated hand gestures. Watson and Simpson marvelled at the Bedlam unfolding. The noise was off the scale when Poulter addressed his ball. Instead of descending into silence, Poulter demanded a decibel hike and smacked his ball as if hitting it out of the park at Wrigley Field.

Watson was awestruck. "I've got so much respect for that guy. That guy is an amazing talent. I loved it. I loved that he did it. I was behind him pumping the crowd up, letting them roar. That's what he wanted. I think it is great for the game. It made it fun. You saw how nerve-racking that is. The ball could go anywhere, but it's cool to see."

Let Watson's words be the inscription on the Poulter Cup, and the demand. The winner has to do what Poulter did. By force of will and character, he or she has to take a moment by the throat and, against the odds, change the game.

Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth GamesJust 48 hours earlier cyclist was under the care of a doctor
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
arts + ents
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + entsFilmmaker posted a picture of Israeli actress Gal Gadot on Twitter
Sport
Vincenzo Nibali rides into Paris on the final stage of the 2014 Tour de France
Tour de FranceVincenzo Nibali is first Italian winner since Marco Pantani in 1998
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel
arts + entsPrince Oberyn nearly sets himself on fire with a flaming torch
News
Danny Nickerson, 6, has received 15,000 cards and presents from well-wishers around the world
newsDanny loves to see his name on paper, so his mother put out a request for cards - it went viral
Arts and Entertainment
Zoe Saldana stars in this summer's big hope Guardians of the Galaxy
filmHollywood's summer blockbusters are no longer money-spinners
Sport
Red Bull Racing's Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo (C) celebrates with Scuderia Ferrari's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso (L) and Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton
sport
Arts and Entertainment
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Public vote: Art Everywhere poster in a bus shelter featuring John Hoyland
art
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmComedy was dominated by the romcom at its most insufferable
Sport
Tour de France competitor Bartosz Huzarski’s legs have highlighted the gruelling nature of the race, after he posted a picture on Facebook showing extremely prominent veins stretching from his feet and all the way up his legs
Commonwealth Games
Life and Style
Elle Kaye demonstrates the art of taxidermy
food + drinkFood revolution taken a step further in new ‘edible taxidermy’ class
News
A rub on the tummy sprang Casey back to life
video
Sport
Halsall broke her personal best in the 50m butterfly
Commonwealth GamesEnglish swimmer is reborn after disastrous time at London 2012
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Life and Style
Workers in Seattle are paid 100 times as much as workers in Bangladesh
fashionSeattle company lets customers create their own clothes, then click 'buy' and wait for delivery
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Voices
The Express offices in the 1930s when writers (such as Orwell) were paid around £2 weekly
voicesWebsites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
A cut above: Katy Guest at The Ginger Pig
food + drinkThe Ginger Pig's hands-on approach to primary cuts
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried