WOBURN, England, (Reuters) - U.S. Masters and U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth could go down as the greatest putter golf has ever seen, Europe’s Ryder Cup talisman Ian Poulter told Reuters on Monday.
World number two Spieth has won four times this season and is breathing down Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy’s neck at the top of the rankings.
The 22-year-old American, aiming to become the first player to land the opening three majors of the year since Ben Hogan in 1953, also came within one shot of making the three-way playoff won by compatriot Zach Johnson at this month’s British Open.
“The putts Jordan is holing is the reason why he’s putting himself in position week in week out,” Poulter said.
“Statistically he’s the best putter in the game and he may go down as he best anyone has ever seen.
“It’s because of that he is winning majors, contending for majors and coming back from positions when he’s putting himself out of contention to win after the first round and eventually going on to win.”
Poulter is also renowned as one of golf’s best putters and memorably holed five nerveless birdie efforts in the last five holes on the penultimate day of the 2012 Ryder Cup to inspire Europe’s ‘Miracle of Medinah’ victory in Illinois.
The 39-year-old Englishman feels that Spieth’s long-range putting is what separates him from the rest.
“I don’t believe we’ve seen statistics on putting like we’ve seen from Jordan,” said Poulter who was back at his home club of Woburn on Monday to host an annual event where he plays the course with 96 invited juniors.
“If you look at the percentage of putts he holes from 25 feet it’s remarkable.
“That’s generally the distance you hit it to when you are playing well. It’s an amazing percentage of putts that he holes and we all want that sort of putting stroke,” said Poulter.
“He holed a 50-footer at the 16th in the final round of the Open and then bogeyed the 17th after missing from seven feet. He was one shot away from the playoff and that’s what happens when you play well and putt well.”
Poulter lives in Florida and made an inauspicious return to the European Tour this month, missing the cut in both the Scottish and British Opens.
He has 15 international wins to his name and is ranked 33rd in the world but it is three years since he last tasted victory, in the WGC-HSBC Champions Tournament in China.
“I want to win,” said Poulter who also has a brilliant Ryder Cup record having collected 13 points out of a possible 18.
“I know how long it’s been so I just want to get back in the winner’s circle again as soon as possible.
“It will happen and it will happen soon.”
Next on the agenda for Poulter is the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio starting on Aug. 6, immediately followed by the year’s final major, the U.S. PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.
“I had a really disappointing time in the U.S. PGA at Whistling Straits in 2010,” he said. “I had to withdraw on the Sunday because physically I wasn’t well.
“I played on the Saturday with a fever and on the Sunday I could barely get out of bed.
“I know the course, I know the challenge that’s laid out in front of me and I’m looking forward to it,” Poulter said.
“I was disappointed back then to miss out the way I did so I feel as if I’ve got some unfinished business to attend to.”
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Editing by Ed Osmond