Ian Poulter's best shots from his first round at The Open 2017
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The biennial event kicks off today at Whistling Straits, on the shore of Lake Michigan in the US, which will see some of the world’s best golfers take part in the iconic showcase. The 43rd instalment of the Ryder Cup pits a US team, with their 12 players among the best 21 golfers on the planet, against an experienced, yet out-of-sorts, Europe. This afternoon will see the four foursomes, which see players paired up and take alternate shots around the course, open up the Ryder Cup.
Europe’s captain Padraig Harrington opted to go with experience and form in the duo of Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia, who are paired against Americans Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.
Closing the foursomes will be Ryder Cup legend Poulter, who will go around the course with Irishman Rory McIlory as they chase a point against rookies Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele.
Poulter has been a thorn in the US’ side throughout his Ryder Cup career, winning on five of his six appearances for Europe.
Nicknamed The Postman, because he always delivers, the 45-year-old’s drive to win the tournament has epitomised his career.
But not all golfers are fans of the popular Hertfordshire-born star, and one of the biggest names in the sport reportedly can’t stand him.
Woods, the legendary golfer who made the sport a must-see watch viewing event throughout the past 25 years, once sent a “rude text” to his then-coach Hank Haney about Poulter.
Writing in his 2012 memoir The Big Miss, Haney said the 15-time Major winner sent the messages while all three of them were on his private plane in 2007.
It is well known that Woods was cold with other players during his career, although he would always speak with those who demanded his respect due to their exploits on the course.
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Mr Haney wrote: “Those he genuinely liked tended to be quiet, modest, hardworking guys like Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker, whose ability he respected but whose talent didn’t elevate them to the position of serious rival.
“He kept the super talented at a distance. He didn’t want players who could be a threat to feel comfortable around him.
“He was averse to certain players, especially if he felt their records didn’t warrant all the talk. He wasn’t a fan of Ian Poulter, for example.”
The coach noted that a couple of weeks prior to the US Open at Oakmont, in 2007, some players went into the Pittsburgh area course to get some practice rounds in.
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Among them was Poulter, and Mr Haney said that while he was there he “somehow ended up getting a ride on Tiger’s plane back to Orlando, where he lived”.
Mr Haney continued: “Tiger stretched out on his regular spot, in the two seats in the front of the plane, and immediately put on his headphones.
“That left me to talk to Ian, which I didn’t mind because I got along with him.
“As we were conversing, Tiger texted me a rude message about Ian. As far as I know, Ian didn’t get any more rides.”
But Mr Haney said Woods’ apparent frostiness with other players was just mind games and that most counterparts accepted his attitude.
He added: “Most players never asked.
“They understood Tiger had to have a killer mind-set to be as good as he was, and going out of his way for other people wasn’t part of the equation.
“So even when distant, there was more respect for Tiger than dislike. In his own way, he was being up-front. They didn’t know him, but they realised he really couldn’t let them.”
The Ryder Cup starts today and concludes on Sunday.
Highlights are available on the BBC, with full coverage on Sky Sports.
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