Pros advice

Ian Poulter’s dip in form is a concern for McGinley

Paul McGinley has admitted that he is concerned by Ian Poulter’s downward slant in form this year, which could force the European Ryder Cup captain to leave the Englishman out of the event.

Poulter flourishes in the biennial event against the United States, winning all of his matches in the now infamous ‘Miracle of Medinah,’ where Europe battled back from four points down to cap a memorable final day victory.

However, the game hasn’t been so kind to the Woburn golfer away from the event and he may not automatically qualify for this autumns contest at Gleneagles if there is not a swift turnaround in 2014. Poulter to this point has had just one top-five finish after finishing second, fifth and second in the final three events of last season; not a great return for a player of his ability.

Poulter is currently ranked 11th overall and sits just two places outside the top-nine that will be automatically selected for the showdown in September when Paul McGinley leads his European team out against Tom Watson’s USA team.

Other players who will also be trying to break into those automatic qualifying places include the likes of Lee Westwood, ranked 12th overall, Francesco Molinari (13th), 2010 winning hero Graeme McDowell (17th) and double Ryder Cup star Peter Hanson (35th); all of them behind Poulter.

Although Poulter hovers just above the qualifying places, McGinley feels there is cause for concern.

“I’m a little bit concerned what’s happening right now, but not worried,” McGinley said.

“I spoke to Ian for a good 45 minutes on the phone last week and we had a really good chat. He knows he has my support like all the players do.

“He’s determined to be there but he has to earn his place. I’ve said it before and I told him last week, he has to earn his place. He knows that.”

Poulter is no stranger at failing to qualify, as he missed out in 2010, having to rely on McGinley choosing him as one of the Irishman’s three ‘wildcard’ picks.

There will likely be more discussion in the coming weeks between Poulter and McGinley, who will both be teeing up at this week’s European Tour’s flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.