Ian Poulter excited for European Tour return on the Gold Coast
By Bettywyn Glover
Last Updated: 30/11/16 4:19pm
Ian Poulter is looking forward to making his European Tour return in this week's Australian PGA Championship as he continues his comeback from foot surgery.
The 40-year-old was forced to take 11 weeks off from golf during the summer, his longest period on the sidelines since turning professional in 1995, before he returned to competitive action at the Venetian Macau Open in mid-October.
Poulter insists he is now physically fit for the game, but despite having played four events on the PGA Tour in recent weeks, he believes it may take him a while to get back into the swing of things.
"When you take a big chunk of time off, it's hard mentally to get back in the frame of mind of playing competitive golf all the time," he said.
"As nice as it was to take chunks of time off, I haven't ever been in that type of position before.
"I was talking to someone to try and work out when the last time was that I hadn't hit a ball for 11 weeks, and I can't ever remember - even as a kid - taking that length of time away from the game.
"It was a nice break, but the difficulty will come from being under pressure to hole putts at the right time."
Despite coming back after a long lay-off, Poulter is keen to make a strong start in the country where he won the Australian Masters in 2011.
"It's very exciting to come back to Australia," he told The European Tour. "I feel fresh, I feel ready, even though it was a long flight. I'm quite excited to come down here to play golf.
"The foot's good. I had to take five months off in the summer, which was pretty frustrating. To take myself out of trying to qualify for a Ryder Cup place, that was pretty hard to take because I obviously love that event so much.
"But a rest was needed to get the rehab done and to come back strong at the back end of this year, and after this week and next in Hong Kong we'll reassess and see where we're going to start next year."
Poulter will face some tough competition at the Royal Pines Resort, with world number seven Adam Scott targeting his second Australian PGA title.