Poulter fuels wildcard speculation with withdrawal

By Brian Keogh

Ian Poulter has given Nick Faldo a wildcard headache by withdrawing from this week's Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

And that could mean bad news for Darren Clarke's hopes of earning his sixth cap at Valhalla next month.

Poulter has decided to remain in the US to boost his FedEx Cup hopes and will play this week's Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston instead of the teeing it up in the last counting event for Ryder Cup selection in Scotland.

As a result, he cannot make the team automatically, fuelling speculation that he has been told he already has a place on the team.

After finishing second to Padraig Harrington in the Open at Birkdale, Poulter looked like a certainty to make the side automatically.

But he failed to get the required World ranking or European points and his fate is now in Faldo's hands.

Before the Bridgestone Invitational, Poulter said: "I've got five tournaments left to make a stand to try and make the side automatically, and that's what I want to do.

"I don't want to rely on a pick. I don't want to put any pressure on Nick. Nick is going to have enough pressure as it is without me telephoning in before a pick."

In a statement issued by his management company through the European Tour, Poulter said: "It has been an extremely difficult decision to take given my burning desire to represent Europe again in defending the Ryder Cup in the United States.

“But the fact that Boston this week is my only opportunity to qualify for the final two play-off events as well as being my final opportunity to play my 15 events on the US PGA Tour conflicts with my ambition to play Gleneagles and earn my spot in the team.

"I have called Nick Faldo and told him of my decision and hope that my performance so far this year will earn one of his two wildcard picks.

“The captain’s picks are a nightmare, and not a position I would have wanted, where I need one. But we do know that Nick will do the right thing and I will be playing as hard as I can this week to add to my year and hopefully earn one.”