Poulter says he's the only golfer who can challenge Woods

Updated: January 31, 2008, 9:53 AM ET
Reuters

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- The outspoken Ian Poulter caused a stir on the eve of the Dubai Desert Classic by saying he was the only player capable of challenging the supremacy of world No. 1 Tiger Woods.

Don't get me wrong, I really respect every professional golfer, but I know I haven't played to my full potential and when that happens, it will be just me and Tiger.

-- Ian Poulter

"The trouble is I don't rate anyone else," the 32-year-old Briton was quoted as saying in the March issue of the United Kingdom version of Golf World magazine.

"Don't get me wrong, I really respect every professional golfer, but I know I haven't played to my full potential and when that happens, it will be just me and Tiger."

Poulter is ranked 22nd in the world and has seven European Tour wins to his credit, but failed to qualify for the 12-man team that beat United States in the 2006 Ryder Cup at the K Club in Ireland.

The Englishman, asked by the magazine to predict the winner of the first major of the season at the Masters in April, replied: "Put Tiger down for that one."

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For the year's second major at the U.S. Open, he said: "You can put me down for that one."

Poulter, pictured nude in the magazine with only a carefully-placed golf bag guarding his modesty, heaped praise on Woods, who makes a rare foray to the European Tour for this week's Dubai event.

"Tiger is one in a million," he said. "Actually Tiger is one in 10 million.

"He is extraordinary. If you look at the rankings he is almost two and a half times better than the guy in second place [Phil Mickelson]."

Poulter, a member of Europe's victorious 2004 Ryder Cup team at Oakland Hills, is known for his colorful dress sense and his strident opinions.

"I do speak my mind," he told the magazine. "I am pretty honest with what I say."

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