European Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter is at Woburn Golf Club this week supporting the women golfers in the Ricoh Women’s British Open including fellow Woburn touring professional Charley Hull.
The fiery 40-year-old from Hitchin, who is taking four months out from golf with a foot injury, said that he will be popping in and out this week during the Major championship at his home club and expects that the Marquess’ Course will prove more than up to the task of hosting a professional tournament for the first time.
“The Duke’s and Duchess we’ve had quite a few tournaments on and the Duke’s has had a couple of men’s tournaments and it’s now nice to actually see the ladies’ going out there,” he said. “The golf course is in excellent condition. Clarkey and his team have done an incredible job. The course was very wet a couple of months ago, we had a very wet summer, but the sun’s come out and the weather is going to be great for this week. The girls are going to love this golf course. It’s a great challenge. You’ve got to keep it on the short side of the hole, leave yourself uphill putts otherwise you’re going to leave yourself some very tricky, fast, downhill putts. I’ll be here at Woburn Golf Club so come out and enjoy.”
When asked how well he knows Charley, he said: “When I’m back in the summer occasionally we’ll get together. There was an event that we did here a couple of weeks ago called The Duke. Charley and myself had lunch with everyone and went on the course.
“She’s fun… she’s confident and she’s got that kind of presence where she’s bubbly, excitable and a good character for the game. It’s great that she’s here at Woburn and she’ll be excited this week because she’ll have massive home support. Expectations wise I’m sure she feels like she wants to go out there and have a strong week. It’s her home course. She’s played it a little bit and I’m sure everyone at the club will be proud to see her out there.”
Charley, 20, from Kettering, said: “I feel like there’s a lot of pressure on me this week, which is a bit annoying, but at the end of the day it’s my home golf club and there are a lot of members here so I’ll look forward to seeing them.”
The world number 27 is trying to take a relaxed approach and only talks golf with her best friend James Northern, who won the Kettering Golf Club championship on Sunday. Northern sprung to fame during Europe’s historic first away victory at The 2013 Solheim Cup in Colorado after Charley, as the youngest ever Solheim Cup player aged 17, defeated Paula Creamer by 5 and 4 in the singles and then asked the seething US star to sign her golf ball for her friend.
Since then, Charley has collected her first title at the 2014 Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco and finished second in this season’s first Major, the ANA Inspiration in California. She also recently qualified to represent Team GB in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Now in her fourth year on tour, she has an unprecedented opportunity to claim her first Major in a championship sponsored by her personal sponsor Ricoh and played at her home club. There could be no better place or time.