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Poulter pumped up for the cup

Ian Poulter believes he still has a point to prove ahead of his third Ryder Cup appearance - and first on home soil - at Celtic Manor this weekend.

Poulter qualified for the team in 2004 but was a controversial wild card selection by captain Nick Faldo two years ago, when he was criticised for not returning to Europe to play the final qualifying event.

Colin Montgomerie, now Poulter's Ryder Cup captain of course, responded to rumours that Faldo could have advised Poulter that he was pencilled in for one of his wild cards by talking of Poulter having a "hot-line" to the captain.

When the news reached Poulter in the United States, he said there was no question of Faldo having promised him a pick, and more or less told Montgomerie to mind his own business.

The pair have since resolved their differences - "We understand each other very well," Poulter said yesterday - and Poulter went on to be Europe's top scorer at Valhalla, winning four points out of five.

Asked whether he would still like to have a point to prove now given how well he played at Valhalla, Poulter said: "I've got a point to prove. They beat us and that's enough I think.

"I made the side early (effectively by winning the Accenture World Match Play in February) as opposed to getting a pick, but to be on the losing side wasn't enjoyable, even though I played fairly well.

"I certainly would like to go out there this time and prove a point that this European team is as strong as ever and we can go out there and do it on home soil."

Graeme McDowell also performed well at Valhalla, the Northern Irishman scoring two and a half points on his debut and joining Poulter as one of the four European players to win their singles match on the final day.

The current US Open now hopes to do even better at Celtic Manor, especially having won on the course in June's Wales Open with closing rounds of 64 and 63.

"Thomas Bjorn (one of Montgomerie's four vice-captains) came up to me and asked me to have a chat with the guys I was playing with today, three rookies," said McDowell, who partnered Rory McIlroy to a "revenge" victory over brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari, the Italians having pipped them to the World Cup title by a shot in China last year.

"That is obviously a bizarre change from two years ago, no doubt about it. Two years ago, I certainly didn't know what to expect, I was a deer in the headlights.

"This week I know what to expect and I'm coming in with all of the confidence in my game and hoping to play a real integral part in the team this time around, where last time around I was not sure how many games I would get and a bit in awe of it all."