Ian Poulter has an extra, emotional incentive to end three years of hurt by rediscovering his killer instinct and winning the British Masters.
Poulter has the ideal opportunity to claim his first victory since November 2012 this week, acting as tournament host at his home course of Woburn and boosted by some welcome news about his mother Theresa.
“The one big spark for me is that my mum comes out of hospital today - she had an aneurysm and was in there for three weeks - so things have got a lot better today,” Poulter said. “So I’ll be very happy and I can go out there and concentrate and do my job on the course.”
Poulter has had four top-10 finishes around the world this season but admits he needs to be more ruthless to convert opportunities to win into more silverware.
“It’s hurt a lot,” Poulter said of his winless streak. “I’m not getting any younger and the guys are getting younger and better. It’s been difficult.”
“But the only way of dealing with that properly is going out there and win. I need to do that. I expect myself to do that and I would expect myself to do that pretty soon.
“I feel certain areas of my game have let me down. I lost by a shot (in the Honda) and dropped seven shots in three holes. I’ve had my chances and I’ve kind of thrown them away. So I need to get the old me back and I need to be a bit more ruthless and I need to have that killer instinct out on the golf course.”
Poulter has been hampered by several niggling injuries over the last two years and will turn 40 in January, but has not given up hope of claiming a first major title.
“Obviously the older you get, the more difficult it is going to be to stay in shape, so I have to keep continuing to work hard at that,” the world number 42 added. “We have seen major champions in their forties, although not very many, and you saw Tom Watson almost win the Open at 59. There is hope out there.
“My game when I’m on my game is good enough to beat anybody. I know that. I still believe that, and that’s the main thing. Inside my head, I still believe that my good is good enough and the minute that gets dented, then we’ve got an issue.”
Poulter selected his home club of Woburn as this week’s venue in his capacity as host of a tournament that returns to the European Tour for the first time since 2008. The role will be filled by fellow Englishmen Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood in the next three years.
And the Ryder Cup star wants to use home advantage to get his name on the trophy alongside the likes of Greg Norman, Seve Ballesteros, Lee Trevino, Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie.
“The names on the trophy are all of the great players that I’ve followed through the years,” said Poulter, who lost out in a final-round duel with good friend - and house guest for the week - Rose in 2002.
“You can name one after another after another. It’s good that we’ve got a good field and we can put another great name on that trophy.”