08 June 2017

Englishman’s Fairytale

Without his PGA Tour card and unable to compete in The PLAYERS Championship, Ian Poulter was miraculously offered a second chance to play at TPC Sawgrass and turn his story around.

You never know what’s just around the corner. Ian Poulter is one man who will certainly agree with that sentence. Two weeks before The PLAYERS Championship, Poulter looked like he had lost his PGA Tour card. He would have to leave the Tour for the rest of the season. However, fellow tour pro Brian Gay realized there’d been a miscalculation by the PGA Tour. It turned out that not only Gay but also Poulter had earned enough points to retain their playing privileges.

Gay and Poulter both booked last-minute spots in the PLAYERS, and Poulter took full advantage of his unexpected opportunity. The 41-year-old finished in second place, three shots behind winner Kim Si-woo, at the tournament at TPC Sawgrass.

Starting the week at No. 136 in the FedEx Cup standings and No. 195 in the World Ranking, his runner-up finish on the Stadium Course moved Poulter to No. 58 and No. 80 respectively. His new position in the FedEx ranking secures his Tour card for the 2017-18 season. Poulter can breathe a sigh of relief and put the uncertainty about his Tour card behind him.

“I guess it’s been a roller-coaster ride. There’s been a lot of interesting things happen in the last 18 months which haven’t been very helpful for playing golf,” said the Englishmen, as quoted by Golf Channel. “To have two or three weeks ago been in a position where I wasn’t playing The Players and potentially didn’t have a card to play, and was looking to write letters to Jack (Nicklaus) for Memorial and all those great tournaments that I’d like to play in, things change pretty quick with good golf. And that’s what I’ve done this week, I’ve played good golf.”

It was a foot injury that then lead to surgery which knocked Poulter out for most of the last season, causing his World ranking position to drop to No. 207. The injury also ended a run of five consecutive Ryder Cup appearances, in which he won 14 points from 18 matches. Having secured a medical exemption to play on the PGA Tour, Poulter failed to gain the requisite earnings that he needed to retain his Tour card. The Ryder Cup favorite and two-time winner on tour needed to bank at least $30,624 by finishing in the top 30 in San Antonio, but he was unable to make the cut for the weekend.

Poulter's achievement at the 2017 PLAYERS emulates his success in 2009 when he also finished in second place. It was his 14th appearance at TPC Sawgrass but the first to make a fairytale ending.


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