Michael Jordan did his best to psych out Ian Poulter at the 2012 Ryder Cup, but his efforts didn’t work and the European team wound up winning thanks to an epic comeback, which has been termed the “Miracle at Medina.”
In preparation for the 2014 Ryder Cup, NBC and Golf Channel are running some “Road to the Ryder Cup” shows featuring some cool interviews about past events. One of the videos contains an interview with His Airness, who happens to be a huge golf fan and Ryder Cup enthusiast.
Jordan shares how he decided to specifically follow Ian Poulter late in the final day of the event and trash talk the European golfer. MJ trash talked Poulter on holes 15, 17 and who knows what else. None of it worked.
“(Jordan) loves his golf, he loves Ryder Cup. He’s always there. He’s always been a helping hand to the Americans,” Poulter recalled on his SiriusXM show this week via the Chicago Tribune. “He was right there. I was there on 13 and I remember walking off the tee box at 13, looking over and he kind of wagged his – I don’t know if you can call it a finger, it looked like an arm – this big finger comes up and he was wagging it at me pulling a face as if to say, ‘We’ve got you.’ So Rory (McIlroy) holed that massive putt on 13 to start the comeback trail. I holed a nice birdie putt on 15 and there he was, Jordan standing there again, and he’s just looking at me, staring at me. And I’m like, this is amazing, this is what I live for, this is what makes sport great. I’m a little golfer, Ian Poulter, playing golf in the Ryder Cup, and there’s legend basketball player Michael Jordan psyching me out in the Ryder Cup! And you know what? I said, ‘Screw you, I’m gonna hole this putt.’ (laughter) But you know what, he’d done that for so many years on a basketball court, he hit the shot time and time again. I said to myself, ‘I’m not allowing him to get in my space.’ ”
Poulter said Jordan was there at 17 waiting to taunt him, too.
“We’re walking off  and there he is, 6-foot-8, however tall he is, Jordan standing right in my space. I’m walking to the 17th tee, this claw hammer of a fist of his, he just keeps it out in front of him and he kind of wags his finger and he gives me a little jab in the chest with his fist. It was like a sledgehammer hitting me! … So I’m not going to tell you what I said to him at that point! (laughs) And that’s a sign of respect in a way. I respect Jordan as a basketball player, as the player that owned that game for so long, watching things unfold, respecting the game of golf. I wasn’t intimidated. I felt privileged to be in that situation, to be in the heat of the moment, the power-packed point under the spotlight with everybody watching. And the pressure to hole putts and the pressure to deliver was immense.”
Sounds like MJ was doing more harm then good. Maybe next time our team captain will tell him to keep his nose out of the game!