Ian Poulter focused on closing Ryder Cup points gap

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Ian Poulter is preparing to "work his ass off" in the coming weeks in order to qualify automatically for Paul McGinley's Ryder Cup team, starting at this week's US PGA Championship, according to ESPN.

The Englishman is winless in 2013 but remains just 16 points behind Wales' Jamie Donaldson on the World's Points List. Yet, despite almost being guaranteed a wild-card pick from the European captain, given his formidable record in the biennial event, the 38-year-old does not want to leave anything to chance. 

Poulter ready

"I'm about 16 points behind Jamie. The gap's not that big. But it still needs to be closed, and I'll work my ass off to do that, starting this week," Poulter said. 

"I probably just need one really good week to get back into the automatic spots - and then who knows? It could be this week."

The world number 29 has not won since 2012, where he secured the WGC-HSBC Champions event in China. 

However, Poulter has still impressed this season in patches after battling injuries - including a recent horsefly bite - but missed the cut at the Open two weeks ago to cast fresh doubts over his form. 

That said, the Stevenage-born golfer has built up a stellar Ryder Cup reputation since his debut at Valhalla six years ago - which will of course play host the 96th PGA Championship this week. 

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Stellar reputation

Europe's victory at Celtic Manor four years ago under the stewardship of Colin Montgomorie was thanks in part to the efforts of Poulter, who claimed three of four points available in Wales. 

And two years later, he went one better by remaining unbeaten at Medinah, inspiring Jose Maria Olazabal's team into a stirring fightback that may never be seen again in the competition. His birdie streak late on Saturday with Europe trailing the US by a mammoth six points (10-4) will forever be remembered by those who witnessed it. 

"No one knows better than me what a big year this is, because the Ryder Cup means so much to me," he added. 

"There's nothing like it for getting the juices flowing. Maybe that's why my record in it is better than it is in the Majors." 

If he is to qualify automatically, he will be hoping to repeat his back-nine surge at Kiawah Island in 2012 at this week's PGA in Louisville. Poulter memorably birdied five straight holes before settling for joint-third place alongside compatriot Justin Rose; his best finish at the season-ending Major. 

He has two top 20s in the Majors this year, too, but will be hoping for an improvement on that this week in Kentucky if he is to force his way into automatic contention. 

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