sport

Poulter targets big week

Ian Poulter admits a return to the match play format could be exactly what he needs to get his 2014 season off the ground.

Runner-up finishes in Shanghai and Dubai ensured he finished last year in positive fashion, but he has struggled to rediscover that form in his early outings this time around.

He ended up well down the field at both Torrey Pines and Riviera, whilst missing the cut completely in Phoenix.

But, having forged a reputation as one of the world's elite competitors in the match arena, Poulter is hopeful that this week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship could herald a return to form.

The 38-year-old is a former champion at Dove Mountain, having won the event back in 2010, and believes he is more than capable of repeating that feat.

"I do think I've got a good chance to win this week, if I play good golf," he told the European Tour's website. "My match play record is pretty good.

"I feel if I play the golf that I know I can play and I hang tough when I need to, then I believe I've got what it takes to win.

Pure format

"It's one of the purest formats in golf. You can play fantastic, shoot six under par and be going home. You can shoot level par and be staying. So you just have to do enough to dispatch your opponent, and hopefully I can do that tomorrow.

"I've worked harder over the winter than I worked to get ready for the back end of last year, but it hasn't quite clicked in the first few tournaments like it clicked in the last four of 2013. It doesn't make sense sometimes.

"Certainly a match play event might be the spark that I need to get going."

Poulter's Ryder Cup exploits are well-documented and he insists it is a hatred of losing that makes him such a difficult match play opponent.

"I hate losing. I absolutely hate it," he added."I don't know any great sportsman who's a great loser. I've always taken defeat pretty badly. I enjoy winning a lot more.

"In a normal week there are 154 guys in the field, and you can come up against a lot of great players who managed to play better than you. When it's one on one, you can see what you have to do right in front of you.

"You're playing somebody, you're in control of your golf ball and you can see what they're doing with theirs. So it's easier in match play to control of the game, I guess."