Golf

Ian Poulter excited by 'Europe's Pebble Beach' challenge

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Ian Poulter says he's relishing the opportunity to test himself at Thracian Cliffs in Bulgaria, as he bids to reclaim his Volvo World Match Play Championship title this weekend.

The 37-year-old - who won the competition in 2011 in it's previous home in Spain  - is thoroughly looking forward to the first European Tour event to be staged in that country, and hopes the course will present an exciting challenge for every golfer participating in the 24-man tournament.

Sculpted out of Bulgaria's northern Black Sea coastline, and with the ocean in view on every hole, there'll be no shortage of dramatic scenery on a course that's already been labelled as "Europe's Pebble Beach" thanks to its challenging lay-out.

"I don't think I have ever seen any course like this and I'm wracking my brain trying to think if I've ever played a course like this, and I just can't think of one," Poulter told Sky Sports after taking a helicopter ride over the venue.

"It's been called the 'Pebble Beach of Europe' but there is only a few holes at Pebble Beach where you play along the shoreline, whereas here at Thracian Cliffs holes three to 10 are perched right on the cliff edge.

"I've never played Old Head in Ireland or Nefyn in Wales that I know are cliff top courses, and to also fly over the course yesterday was cool, and that's something I've never ever done before a golf tournament."

Poulter has been placed alongside Thongchai Jaidee and Thomas Aiken in the opening round, which sees players split into eight groups of three for the round-robin matches on Thursday and Friday, before Saturday's knockout round. The semi-finals and final will then be played out on Sunday.

"It's an incredible piece of real estate and it's going to look amazing on TV which is good for the European Tour," added Poulter, describing the Gary Player designed course.

"It's good to be here at a new Tour stop as European Tour tournaments have declined in the last few years as we used to have seven events in Spain two years ago, and now only one this year.

"So any new tournament that can hopefully showcase our Tour maybe will generate new sponsors and lead to new events on the schedule.

"It's great and a clever initiative on the part of Volvo and as I said, hopefully other countries around Europe will see that golf is still strong in Europe and seek to stage golf tournaments."

 

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Ian Poulter
Golf

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