Ian Poulter will attempt to take revenge on his old friend Henrik Stenson at the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai as The Ryder Cup teammates look to finish The European Tour season in style.
The Englishman finished second behind the Swede at Jumeirah Golf Estates, as well as in The Race to Dubai, last year as Stenson put the seal on a dream 2013 season to create history by becoming the first man to win both The Race to Dubai and the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup.
Last year’s Final Series – The European Tour’s US$30.5 million four-tournament finale – saw Poulter make a valiant attempt to chase Stenson down, but the man from Gothenburg was irresistible as he cruised to an eventual six-shot victory over Poulter at the Earth Course.
Twelve months on, Poulter, currently 13th in The Race to Dubai, has second-placed Stenson as his target again, as both players look to finish the year in that runner up spot, with Rory McIlroy having already won The Race to Dubai after an incredible season in which the World Number One won the BMW PGA Championship, The Open Championship, the WGC – Bridgestone Invitational and the US PGA Championship.
With 1,666,600 on offer to the winner of the DP World Tour Championship this week, Poulter, currently 795,085 behind his rival, can overtake Stenson in The Race to Dubai by taking the title and hoping Stenson finishes below second place.
Stenson, an eight-time European Tour champion, meanwhile, is looking to successfully defend a title for the first time in his career.
Ian Poulter: “We are going for second place at the minute. Number one has gone, but there’s still a big bonus for number two and that would upset number two right now, which is, Mr Stenson. I’m still chasing Mr Stenson down like I was chasing him last year. We haven’t had a side wager, because there’s not quite the same takedown, if you take over the number one spot, because that’s already gone to Rory. So it wouldn’t have the same effect. Second’s on, bring it on. Chase the Stenson down again. I was 64 two weeks ago so it’s nice to come into this stretch and feel like you can salvage something of 2014. To go sixth, second, and it would be nice to win this week and move nicely up that board. So that’s the goal for this week.”
Henrik Stenson: “I’ve got nothing to gain and everything to lose this week being second when I can’t pass Rory. It just gives me a good opportunity to get that second spot. With not playing all four of the final events due to the baby, I felt like it was always going to be a case of trying to finish second and if I could follow‑up my win last year with a second-place finish, that still shows that I had a good year. I’ll still be happy even if I finish third or fourth or whatever. But it is a chance for second so I’ll try and make the most out of it.”