Hong Kong Open Ian Poutler grateful for Hong Kong Open chance

It was touch and go as to whether Ian Poulter would play the Hong Kong Open, but Rich Beem's generosity allowed the Englishman to feature.

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Ian Poulter was left thankful for a gracious gesture from Rich Beem that allowed him to play the Hong Kong Open this weekend and keep his hopes of featuring at next year's Ryder Cup alive.

Englishman Poulter has dropped out of the world's top 50, making him ineligible to feature at the upcoming WGC-HSBC Champions, meaning he would have fallen short of the minimum 13 European Tour events to keep his membership for next season.

That would have made him ineligible for next year's Ryder Cup, so Poulter approached Tour officials to see if they could help.

Subsequently, Beem - who had travelled from Texas to Hong Kong - kindly agreed to forego his invitation to allow Poulter to play at the Hong Kong Open.

Poulter, who has become recognised as a flag-bearer for Europe at the Ryder Cup, expressed his gratitude on Instagram.

"Thanks to Rich Beem who gave up his invite so I could play and be eligible for next year's Ryder Cup," he wrote. "I fell out of the Top 50 by 0.01 of a ranking point.

"It would have had me playing 12 events not 13 that I needed. You could say poor play and poor planning. But thanks to Rich for giving me his spot."

Poulter is in esteemed company this weekend, with American duo Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed making a rare foray onto the European Tour.

World number seven Justin Rose also returns to the tournament for the first time since 2011. The Englishman has finished in the top 10 of three of this year's majors, making him a contender for the Race to Dubai title - the Hong Kong Open marking the last tournament before the Finals Series.

"I feel like my game is probably in better shape arriving this year than what it was in years past," Rose, who is fifth in the Race to Dubai standings, told the European Tour's official website. "I'm pretty optimistic about playing well.

"I think consistency has been probably a key word for the year. I played well in the majors which I was very happy about. Now it's about turning my attention to the Race to Dubai and finishing strong and trying to make the Christmas turkey taste as good as possible."

Also involved is Matt Fitzpatrick, who is riding the crest of a wave after winning his maiden European Tour title at the British Masters, while four-time winner Miguel Angel Jimenez and Graeme McDowell are among the field.

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