Despite missing the cut in Abu Dhabi last week, Ian Poulter insists that he’s producing some of the best golf of his career and raring to go as he looks to better the tied third place finish he secured at last year’s OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic on his return to Emirates Golf Club this week.

“I’m playing some of the best golf I think I’ve ever played from a numbers perspective,” said the 12-time European Tour winner. “My game is generally super consistent and because of that I’m encouraged and looking forward to the tournaments I’ve got coming up this year.

“It would be very special to win the Dubai Desert Classic. Even coming off a missed cut in Abu Dhabi I was actually pleased with the way I hit the ball. I didn’t convert the putts probably that I should have but I feel good about my game.”

“The Majlis is a course that I’ve played well in the past – I finished third here last year and sixth the year before so I know I can do well there.”

Poulter is embarking on his 22nd season on the European Tour and this week’s Desert Classic will mark his 559th start but the 44 year old insists that the motivation, drive and excitement are still as strong as ever at the start of a new campaign.

“I woke up super early on the first day of Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship week,” he said. “There was a bit of jetlag in there, but I was keen and raring to go. When the time comes where that is not the case then things might be a little bit different.”

While Poulter exited the Abu Dhabi field at the halfway stage after shooting 73-74 last week, his old friend and fellow countryman Lee Westwood struck a blow for the ‘golden oldies’ with a sensational performance to lift the Falcon Trophy. It was an inspirational victory for the man from Stevenage as he targets success on multiple fronts in what is a huge year with the Majors, Olympics and Ryder Cup beckoning.

“It’s a big season ahead and obviously and I’m getting inspiration from Lee winning in Abu Dhabi,” said Poulter, who has carved a reputation of one of Europe’s Ryder Cup talisman over the years. “It was a big thing and it showed that the 40 plus year old players have still got it so for me it’s a big push this year. I want to enjoy my golf, get into the Ryder Cup team and have fun in the process.”

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During his time in Abu Dhabi, Poulter spent some time with Dubai’s teenage sensation Josh Hill and was impressed by the precocious youngster.

“When I got introduced to Josh it was on social media from the perspective of knowing he won a MENA Tour event, he shot 62 in the last round at the age of 15 which is incredible!” said Poulter. “I’ve got a 15 year old son and he’s not shooting 62, so I know how big a task that was to able to do that and win such a tournament like that is very special.

“I had the opportunity to spend a little bit of time with him to get to know his mindset and give him a couple of tips, albeit I didn’t see him hit many balls, but based on the stuff I’ve seen on social media he is very good at an early age. He’s a bright prospect for the future and it is very encouraging to see.


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