US PGA Championship: Ian Poulter feels pressure could be the key to breaking his Major Championship duck

After third-place finish at Muirfield, Ryder Cup hero Poulter believes a fast start on Thursday could see him lift the Wanamaker Trophy come Sunday

Ian Poulter won’t fail here for lack of sleep. “Half man, half mattress” is how he described himself after sleeping 12 hours straight on the four-poster on Sunday night. Intensity, according to Poulter, is the big issue holding him back at the majors. After finishing third at The Open following a slow start Poulter is seeking in the early rounds at Oak Hill the kind of fireball triggered on the first tee at the Ryder Cup, the ultimate crucible for him.

“I am pretty good under pressure and I might not be under enough pressure on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. That is one of the issues and it has potentially always has been from day one,” Poulter said. “The pressure is there from the first tee shot at the Ryder Cup. There you go. It is no secret is it? But I can't take an injection before I tee off on a Thursday morning.”

The pre-match Poulter interview is often golfing stand-up. The plethora of anecdotal eccentricity does him a disservice since it militates against serious consideration of a high class golfer. The sleep bulletin was a case in point. “I was pretty tired after last week and needed the full recharge. If I want a really good night's sleep, I Cellotape the curtains to the walls and tape out the little LEDs on the TV so there is no form of light in the room at all.

“I hate any form of light in that room. Generally I wake up and feel brilliant and I feel great this week. Some of us need sleep, some of us don't. My whole family needs sleep. My wife needs lots of sleep, my kids need lots of sleep. One massive recharge of the batteries on Sunday night and I had a nice relaxed day on Monday, had my hair cut and all that crap.”

Were it required Poulter’s late tee time today would have provided for another monster chunk of shuteye last night. His PGA Championship challenge begins today at 1.55pm (6.55pm BST) alongside Zach Johnson and Lucas Glover. At Muirfield Poulter unleashed a five-birdie salvo to climb the leaderboard on the last day. At this championship a year ago he began the last round with another five-birdie charge to post another third place finish behind Rory McIlroy.

The last 20 majors have been won by 18 different players, 14 of those first time winners. Given his world ranking of 17 and recent near misses Poulter would appear suitably placed to authenticate a reputation built around the Ryder Cup with a major victory. Interestingly this is a former Ryder Cup venue, in 1995 when Poulter was a 19-year-old assistant pro at Chesfield Downs Golf Club playing off a handicap of 4. His rise is among the most remarkable in golf, yet the lowly starting point seems to carry a negative tariff when weighing his golfing talents. Maybe this is the week it all comes together for him.

“I expect to be able to put myself in positions to have a chance to win these big tournaments, and that comes from within. The pressure is there, it makes me work harder to try to get my name on one of these big trophies.  I've had three good runs at it now, and every time I've just been a couple of shots away. I have to look into the early part of each of those weeks and say, I've made mistakes at the wrong time. And chasing on major golf courses is not easy. I’d like to be ten clear on Sunday. It would make the job a lot easier.”

Suggested Topics
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas