<
>

Poulter pulls out of Johnnie Walker, to play FedEx Cup playoff event instead

LONDON -- Britain's Ian Poulter has pulled
out of this week's Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles,
the last points-counting event for next month's Ryder Cup.

"I have called [captain] Nick Faldo and told him of my
decision and hope my performance so far this year will earn one
of his two wild-card picks," Poulter said in a statement issued
by the European Tour on Monday.

The 32-year-old Englishman, runner-up to Ireland's Padraig
Harrington in the British Open at Royal Birkdale in July, is
outside the automatic top-10 places in the Ryder Cup points
standings.

Poulter missed the cut in the opening event of the PGA
Tour's FedExCup playoffs last week and needs to compete in the
second tournament of the series in Boston this week to have any
chance of qualifying for the final two events, the BMW
Championship and The Tour Championship.

"It has been an extremely difficult decision to take given
my burning desire to represent Europe again in defending the
Ryder Cup," said Poulter.

"But the fact Boston is my only opportunity to qualify for
the final two playoff events, as well as being my final
opportunity to play my 15 events on the U.S. PGA Tour, conflicts
with my ambition to play Gleneagles and earn my spot in the
team."

Poulter, who made his only previous Ryder Cup appearance in
2004, is likely to have to compete with the likes of Darren Clarke, Paul Casey and Colin Montgomerie for Faldo's two
wild-card picks.

Clarke won the Dutch Open on Sunday, the same day as fellow
Briton Casey finished joint seventh in the FedExCup's Barclays
Classic.

Montgomerie has suffered a slump in form this season but
can't be ruled out of contention, having been a Ryder Cup
stalwart for Europe in the last eight editions of the biennial
team event.

"The captain's picks are a nightmare and not a position I
would have wanted," added Poulter.

"But we know Nick will do the right thing and I will be
playing as hard as I can this week to ... hopefully earn one."

Europe bids to win the Ryder Cup for the fourth time in a row
when they take on United States at Valhalla, Kent., from Sept.
19-21.