Poulter wants revenge against Woods - Golf - Sport - The Independent

Poulter wants revenge against Woods

Ian Poulter, beaten by Tiger Woods in his first-ever Ryder Cup match, finally has the chance for revenge at Celtic Manor tomorrow.

Poulter, who with Darren Clarke was crushed 4&3 by Woods and Chris Riley in Detroit six years ago, will this time be with cup newcomer Ross Fisher - his World Cup partner last November and the other current holder of a World Match Play title.



That was no surprise and nor was the fact that the world number one has been paired with Steve Stricker. They won four points out of four at last year's Presidents Cup.



But Woods, who missed the 2008 clash through injury, will not be leading things off for America as he did on his three previous appearances.



In a clear sign that he is not the player he was - he has not had a top-three finish since the sex scandal that ended his marriage - Woods and Stricker go out third in the fourballs.



Asked how much Poulter will be relishing the prospect European captain Colin Montgomerie said at the opening ceremony: "Ian relishes every prospect."



The 38th contest and the first on Welsh soil begans at 7.45am with Lee Westwood and German rookie Martin Kaymer - the two highest-ranked players on the home side - against Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.



Westwood, returning to the game after seven weeks recovering from a torn calf muscle, and Mickelson, who next Monday will lose the world number one spot to the Worksop golfer, have met four times before.



And Mickelson, winner of the opening match in Woods's absence two years ago, has lost two, halved one and won only once.



Kaymer, only 25, becomes the first European rookie to play in the first clash since Scot Paul Lawrie - Open champion at the time - partnered Montgomerie in Boston 11 years ago.



Next come Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy against Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar.

The Northern Ireland duo were many people's choice to start things off, mainly on the back on winning all three times they played at the venue for Britain and Ireland last year.



But Westwood and Kaymer it is, with Montgomerie pointing out that Kaymer is golf's most recent major champion. He could have added '... and winner of his last two tournaments'.



Bringing up the rear for Europe, as widely predicted, are Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington, two of Montgomerie's three hotly-debated wild card choices.



They will play Mickelson's fellow left-hander Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton, both cup rookies who American captain Corey Pavin perhaps thinks will be able to handle fourballs better than the one-ball foursomes.



Left out by Montgomerie, but likely to play in the afternoon, are Italian brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari, Swede Peter Hanson and Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez.



Pavin omits Zach Johnson, McIlroy's fellow 21-year-old Rickie Fowler and, more surprisingly, Hunter Mahan and Sunday's £7million man Jim Furyk.



They will also now be expected to enter the action in the foursomes.



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