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Ian Poulter, Veteran Ryder Cup Star for Europe, Prepares for Different Role

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Ian Poulter, center, of England, after winning the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, Scotland, with the European team.

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Peter Morrison/Associated Press

Ian Poulter can already feel his heart pumping a little faster and his eyes getting a little wider, two indications that the Ryder Cup is almost here.

There’s just one difference this time: His hands will be on the steering wheel of a golf cart at Hazeltine instead of on a putter.

Poulter, the European that Americans love to hate in the Ryder Cup, was having his worst and most painful season when he shut it down in late May because of an arthritic joint in his right foot that made it difficult to walk, much less practice.

It took three days for Darren Clarke to make him a vice captain.

“The role is a big one,” Poulter said Tuesday. “As a player, you’re sheltered from what goes on behind the scenes, because you don’t have much time to think about what’s going on apart from playing golf. That role has changed significantly. I’m going to be experiencing something very new.”

The last time Poulter was at a…

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