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October 30, 2013

No big changes for Poulter's schedule, looking ahead to '14 Ryder Cup

Posted at 5:27 PM by Coleman McDowell | Categories: Ian Poulter
Jason Dufner, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose kneel in front of defending champion Ian Poulter before the HSBC Champions. Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

There has to be some reason grown men would subject themselves to photo opportunities like the one pictured above.

For Ian Poulter, part of reason is that he's the defending champ at the HSBC Champions where the picture was taken. Another part is the event counts towards the tournament limit for maintaining both PGA Tour and European Tour cards.

The delicate balance of scheduling tournaments, cross-country flights and ever-changing time zones has led players like Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Adam Scott and most recently, Phil Mickelson, to back off on their schedules. Poulter doesn't have that luxury. He maintains cards for both Tours, meaning he has to make 15 starts on the PGA Tour and 13 on the Euro Tour.

"The guys that are playing both sides of the pond have a commitment to make to uphold their cards, and it's difficult," Poulter said in a press conference before the opening round of the HSBC Champions. "It's difficult to fit in enough tournaments, and it's difficult to please everybody to play enough golf tournaments."

On top of the list of people to please is Poulter's family. He lives in Orlando and has four children with his wife Katie.

"Being away from my family for a period of a month, not that everyone needs to get their Kleenex out and start wiping their eyes, but it's a long time to be away from the kids and I miss them," Poulter said, who added he was away from home for nine consecutive weeks earlier in his career during a run of tournaments in South Africa, Australia and Malaysia. "I feel sometimes we are pressured in some way to play golf as much as we are, and we have to be very, very careful with our schedule to make sure that we have a fine balance of a good home life and a good business balance to be able to make sure we're playing the best golf we possibly can."

Poulter has 16 wins as a professional, but just two of those victories came on the PGA Tour. Only one was in the U.S. (2010 Accenture Match Play.) But the Euorpean Ryder Cup hero doesn't plan on making any tweaks to his 2014 schedule.

"It's just about being clever with the schedule to make sure you're not doing too many trips across the pond and that you can stay as fresh as possible," Poulter said. "So I won't be changing my schedule an awful lot to be honest. I'll still maintain my two cards, and I need it to do that because obviously I want to play the Ryder Cup."

So do we, Ian.

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