To hear that Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods were to miss the 2012 World Golf Championship at Mission Hills in China must have been music to a few ears this year.
Eliminating the world numbers one and two from the championship left the field wide open for the rest, a chance snatched by Englishman Ian Poulter who secured his second WGC title this weekend. Whilst one does wonder why two leading players felt compelled to skip such a significant tournament (rumours circulated that this perhaps had something to do with McIlroy's tennis love Caroline Wozniacki), it only added to the prospects and excitement for the competing players.
Ever the optimist, Ian Poulter always demonstrates belief and enthusiasm in his game, whether he is in contention or not. However, after the success of Europe's Ryder Cup win - an achievement of which Poulter played a key role - the desire to capture the WGC this year was by no means out of reach for the European favourite. Posting a seven-under-par to defeat four in his final round, Poulter indeed ended his year with an extra bonus.
The runners up went to Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Jason Dufner and Scott Piercy, all of whom were in contention throughout the final round. Of course, Team Europe's recent triumph against the United States would have been special enough for Poulter, though that said; adding a second WGC title to your name never goes a miss. As an individual who rarely looks defeated, this year's WGC winner could not have gone to a more deserving and likeable player.
Poulter is well-known for his commitment in helping junior golf, and he is always seen to be acknowledging the support of his fan base. Despite the fact that a major championship is still missing from his career highlights, Poulter's recent success has been well earned. One suspects that the rest of Team Europe will be among the first to tweet their congratulations.