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Helping Hand For My Ryder Mate  - 05.09.04       

Iíve had a few rounds with Ian Poulter lately, but Ryder Cup watchers need not read too much into it.  Iíve still not got a lot of clue who Iíll be paired with in Detroit next week.
I played with Poults in the last round of the BMW International in Germany and I had a few words with him when his round started heading towards disaster.  I offered him a few words of encouragement and tried to calm him down when it looked like his place in the side was being jeopardised.
Two eagles and two birdies in the last eight holes said everything about his desire to qualify for his first crack at the Americans.   There werenít any real surprises when captain Bernhard Langer announced his wild cards - Colin Montgomerie and Luke Donald getting the call.
I believe the 12 we have constitute a very strong team and although, as usual, we go there as underdogs, I believe we have a good chance of bringing the Cup back with us.
Last Monday I spent a bit of my day off fishing the River Test where seven brown trout varying from 6 to 10lbs ended in my keep net.   One was eaten on return home and rest are in the freezer.
Shopping in London on Tuesday was followed by a full dayís practice at Queenwood and then on Thursday I played early morning with Poults when we were convincing winners over two amateurs despite having to give plenty of shots.
That was followed by another visit to the Test in the company of my elder son, Tyrone, who was making his debut with rod in hand, and Sunningdaleís head professional Keith Maxwell and his son.   We hooked five and Tyrone played them and then brought them in.
I did battle with Sunningdale Old on Friday and carded a two-bogey 63 in less than three hours.   Iím quite happy with my form as we head into the final tournament before the Ryder Cup so letís hope things continue in similar vein.
Finally, congratulations to my ISM and Ryder Cup colleague Lee Westwood and his wife Laurae, who became parents for the second time on Sunday morning.  Poppy Grace arrived safely and mother and baby are both progressing well.

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