The Best of 2012

Alex Jenkins turns his attention to the winners (and losers) over the past 12 months

Performance of the Year

Ian Poulter at MedinahLove him or loath him there’s no doubt that Ian Poulter put in a performance for the ages at the Ryder Cup. He may not be the best ballstriker on Tour, nor the longest hitter, but the colourful Englishman, the 2010 Hong Kong Open champion, has belief and determination by the bucketload. Match play golf is what he does best – and the Ryder Cup, judging by his numerous tweets, is what he lives for.

At Medinah, Poulter was unstoppable. Wielding a putter that can only be described as furnace-hot, he single-handedly took the fight to the Americans at a time when Europe, trailing by six points with only two games left of the Saturday fourballs left out on the course, looked completely out of it. In partnership with McIlroy, Poulter made five consecutive birdies – his eyes bulging out of their sockets and his fists pumping as every putt dropped – to close out their match against Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson 1up. But just as importantly, it gave his team hope. A 2-up win over US Open champion Webb Simpson in the singles also gave him his seventh win in a row at the Ryder Cup.

"He’s a guy like Monty or Seve,” the likeable US captain Davis Love said at the time. “This is what they live for. He loves playing on this kind of stage. It was tough on us, but it was very exciting.”

Winner: Ian Poulter (Ryder Cup)


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