Whether you believe the U.S. is an underdog in the 2016 Ryder Cup or not, one thing appears certain: The Americans won't have to overcome their biggest pest in recent years to win at Hazeltine this fall.
On Friday, the AP's Doug Ferguson reported Ian Poulter will be out for four months with a foot injury. The Ryder Cup is scheduled to begin Sept. 30 and simple math tells us that is (slightly) less than four months away.
"I am obviously disappointed to be in this situation, especially during a Ryder Cup year," Poulter, 40, said. "Right now, rest and rehab take priority in me returning to full strength later this season. I look forward to resuming a full schedule as soon as I am able."
We can just hear U.S. captain Davis Love III thinking to himself, Yes, Ian. Rest is good. Take your time.
Of course, no one likes to see an injury knock a golfer out of a big event. However, a struggling Poulter's chances of making the European squad were getting slimmer. He's fallen to No. 85 in the Official World Golf Ranking and outside of a T-3 at the Puerto Rico Open -- and opposite-field tournament -- he hasn't finished inside the top 30 of another PGA Tour event all season.
But he does own that sparking 12-4-2 record in five Ryder Cup appearances. And earlier this year at the EurAsia Cup, European captain Darren Clarke hinted he'd pick the veteran for his squad this fall.
"What Lee (Westwood) and Poults have brought to the team room has been priceless," Clarke said. "All of the young kids have listened to them, they've all learnt from them and I think it's been a hugely beneficial week."
Of course, Poulter could still be in the team room, but probably in the role of vice captain. Clarke recently named Padraig Harrington, Thomas Bjorn and Paul Lawrie as assistants, but don't be surprised if Poulter makes the trip as well. What will be surprising is if his usual screams and fist pumps at the event come as a player.