English golfer Ian Poulter was born in Stevenage, England, in 1976. The son of a golfer, Poulter started playing the game at age 4. He turned pro in 1995, and joined the European and PGA tours in 1999. Poulter has won several tournaments over the past several years, and is well known for his feisty, competitive attitude. He has also steered Europe's Ryder Cup team to several big victories.
British professional golfer Ian James Poulter was born on January 10, 1976, in Stevenage, England. Immersed in the game of golf at an early age, Poulter, whose father, Terry Poulter, was a single-digit handicapper, started playing the sport at the age of 4, after being handed down a miniature 3-wood.
By age 14, Poulter was working a store, selling shirts exclusively to fund his playing. Well-known for his hard work and tenacity, Poulter was in his late teens before he was finally recognized as one of England's top young players.
Poulter turned pro in 1995, and soon after, became known and insulted for his scrappy, sometimes tenacious attitude and play. It seemed then, as it has throughout his career, that the golfer had found a way to thrive on negative comments from antagonists and naysayers.
"When I hear a few comments, I kind of want to play well to put those people right," Poulter has said. "I might not swing it the best in the world. I probably wasn't given as much talent as some other people. It doesn't have to be picture perfect. You just have to get the job done ... If you're just out there making birdies, winning an easy match, that's great. But it's nice to have a good tussle."
Coupled with this feistiness is a temper that has put the golfer in some hot water. In 2006, Poulter was fined for berating a marshal at the Irish Open. In 2010, he became surrounded by controversy after using an anti-Semitic slur in a Twitter post. He later apologized for the tweet.
Four years after turning pro, Poulter made a huge career leap, earning both his PGA and European tour cards. Over the next several years, he would string together a series of victories, including the Italian Open in 2000 and 2002, the Moroccan Open in 2001, the 2003 Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open and the 2003 Nordic Open.
In 2004, Poulter went down to the wire against Spain's Sergio Garcia before prevailing in sudden death at the Volvo Masters. That same year, he played in his first Ryder Cup, a European route at the Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfied Township, Michigan, and won one of two matches. Poulter has in fact earned a reputation as a steely composed competitor at the Ryder Cup, one of golf's most prestigious tournaments. In 2008, he won four of five points for his European team, which fell to the U.S. team in overall play.
Four years later, Poulter was again front-and-center at the Ryder Cup, steering the team to an improbable come-from-behind victory. On the second to last day of the match, Poulter, who was teamed with the world's No. 1 player, Rory McIlroy, birdied the last five holes to keep the squad alive and help set up the club's improbable win the following day.
"When Poults gets that look in his eyes, especially the week of the Ryder Cup, it’s really impressive," McIlroy has stated.
For Poulter, the Ryder Cup success has helped offset his inability so far to win a Major tournament. Not that he hasn't come close: In 2009, he finished second at the Players Championship, and then, three years later, placed seventh at the Masters.
Coupled with his golf game, Poulter has also introduced his own sense of style to the course. At the 2004 Open Championship, the golfer made headlines when he played the first round wearing Union Jack Trousers, which he later donated for auction for an event benefitting the Yorkhill Children's Hospital in Scotland. He has since gone on to develop his own clothing line. Poulter also frequently dons colorful hairstyles.
Poulter, who owns several homes including one in Buckinghamshire, South East England, lives with his wife, Katie, and their four children in Florida.
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