By Thomas Dodd
- Former world number five and Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter faces uncertain short term future after losing PGA Tour Card
- Poulter spent much of 2016 injured and did not make enough money while playing in events under medical extension rule
- Englishman now faces having to qualify for biggest tournaments including final three majors of 2017.
He’s one of the most recognisable names in the world golf, but Ian Poulter now faces an unfamiliar schedule after losing his PGA Tour playing privileges last weekend.
With an individual sport such as golf, to win the biggest tournaments and be in with a chance of taking home the largest cheques you quite literally do have to be in it to win – something England’s Ian Poulter may now find more difficult over the coming months after losing his PGA Tour card last weekend.
The swashbuckling 41-year-old needed to make $30,000 from last week’s Texas Valero Open – a very achievable task considering his strong play at the RBC Heritage the previous week – but could only finish 36 holes at two-over par to miss the cut.
Having only been permitted to play in the lone star state because of a medical extension following injury in 2016, the European Ryder Cup regular will likely have to partake in a drastically different schedule from the one he has been used to in his career to this point.
Twice a winner on the PGA Tour, Poulter now faces at least a short term exile from the world’s most lucrative travelling golfing circus and only certain sponsors’ exemptions will enable him to play in the biggest tournaments between now and the end of the year.
So, where does Poulter go from here?
While the instant outlook does not, on the surface, look good, Poulter may still appear at the three remaining Major events of 2017. After being ineligible for the Masters in April Poulter will have the option to enter sectional qualifying for both the US and Open Championships this summer.
Now down at 195 in the world rankings, Poulter will find his opportunities limited over the coming months, but will gain automatic entry into most European Tour events, where he will find himself playing on arguably easier courses where the standard is considered slightly lower.
If the Englishman is to have rejuvenation of this golf in his 40s then the European Tour could provide the perfect platform.
Back across the pond, and the keys to the tournament door could be unlock through sponsors invitations, with Mutual of Ohama or more notably Mastercard appearing regularly on Tour event promotional posters and advertising hoardings. Given his Ryder Cup exploits of years gone by, it would be nothing new for Poulter to play amongst the world’s best having been invited as somewhat of a ‘Wildcard’.
Poulter is officially the third most followed Golfer on twitter after Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, impressive company to be in, so it would make sense for many events this summer to involve him, and give the man who honed his game at Woburn Golf Club much needed course time stateside.
Majors are still a possiblitilty, and ironically enough Poulter’s first tournament as a non-official playing member of the PGA Tour will be on the Tour itself, as part of the pairs competition at the re-structured Zurich Classic of New Orleans this week – where he will partner Ryan Palmer. A win there and the last year and a half would be well and truly forgotten.
After missing the cut in Texas last week, Poulter tweeted, defiantly declaring he would bounce back better than ever before, citing his biggest achievements in the game as the reason.
Time will tell if he can do that, but it cannot be denied English golf fans would dearly love to see a reprieve from the man who made an eagle and a birdie in a four hole stretch to contend at the 2013 Open or the talisman who birdied the final five holes of his Saturday fourball match at the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah to kick start an unimaginable comeback for Jose Maria Olazabal’s team.
Europe’s postman must deliver again, or face being returned to sender.
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