2011 Masters Predictions: Why Ian Poulter Could Win His First Green Jacket

John BurkeContributor IApril 4, 2011

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 04:  Ian Poulter of England plays a shot during a practice round prior to the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 4, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Back in 2008, Ian Poulter was quoted as saying, "I haven't played to my full potential yet. And when that happens it will just be me and Tiger." Most called him cocky and wrote him off.

Three years later, it is clear that time changes all things.

Since then, Poulter has only secured one PGA Tour victory. And while many professionals would love to have just one victory, a single victory does not make the greatest player in the world. To be known as a great player, Poulter needs to win at least one tournament a year and a few majors by the time he hangs up his spikes. 

So if Poulter is going to start winning majors, his best chance to notch his first major championship is this weekend.

This is Poulter's seventh trip down Magnolia Lane. By now, Poulter is comfortable with the course. He no longer views Augusta National as a wide-eyed groupie, but instead, through the lens of the seasoned veteran that he is. 

And if there is one thing that contributes to success at the Masters, it is experience. 

Last year, Poulter was leading the Masters after two rounds. Then Augusta did what Augusta does. The course chewed him up and spit him out on Saturday. And while Poulter eventually finished in 10th place, it left him disappointed and wanting more.

It made him work just that much harder to win the green jacket. 

The greens at Augusta National are notoriously tricky. To win at Augusta, putting well is a necessity. And one thing Poulter can do well is putt.

With that said, Poulter has struggled with the flat stick this year. It was the reason Poulter was knocked out of the Accenture Match Play Championship and it might be why he wins the Masters this year.

The reason: hard work.

Poulter has been working tirelessly on preparing for the greens at Augusta National. Last week, Poulter tweeted, "Got every years book for the Masters. Homework and lines here we go. Bring it on."

That hard work and determination is going to pay off eventually. Ian Poulter has the talent to win—that is not even a question.

If Poulter has a good week with the putter, there is no question he will be in the final group on Sunday. From there, his determination will take over. "I don't play to make the cut, I play to win. I'm not interested on cut making, I'm interested in winning only," Poulter tweeted a couple days ago.

I do not call that cocky. I call that a man who knows what he wants and will do anything to get there.