Poulter breaks with tradition

Ian Poulter believes playing in this week’s Valero Texas Open is the perfect preparation for the Masters, with just seven days to go before the start of the year’s first Major (45/1 – Masters Outright).

The 37-year-old will line up in a decent field for the San Antonio event, with world number two Rory McIlroy also fine-tuning his game ahead of the Augusta showpiece.

Add to that the likes of Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Charl Schwartzel, Lee Westwood and Bubba Watson and it looks set to be a competitive contest in the Lone Star State (Poulter – 22/1 Texas Open Outright).

Poulter has made only four appearances so far this season and has been in decent nick, with two top 10 finishes already.

The Englishman managed a share of 21st place in the Arnold Palmer Invitational last time out, however, and he opted to play in Texas on the advice of his caddie.

And the European Ryder Cup star was happy to break his normal routine to, hopefully, play four more rounds in readiness for next week’s Georgia event.

“I’ve never played the week prior to the Masters before but I’ve only played three events so far this year so it feels like a perfect fit,” he said.

McIlroy also took the advice of his caddie before entering the tournament at the last moment but, unlike Poulter, the Northern Irishman has been struggling all year and needs the outing to try and rediscover the form that saw him win five times last year and sit at the top of the world rankings.

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