PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA – There is a calmness about Ian Poulter these days that wasn’t always there. Once he might have come storming off the course bemoaning the fact that he had been 3 under after nine holes but could only finish level par. A waste! he might have said.
Now, though, the 41-year-old Englishman takes what happens both on and off the golf course with an admirable dose of phlegmatism. “You can’t hit every green round here,” Poulter said after an opening 72 in his 14th appearance at the Players Championship. “The greens are too firm, too tricky. I had a pretty good front nine and didn’t hole enough putts in the 8- to 10-feet range. But my game is in good shape. I am happy with everything and my frame of mind is good.”
He was referring to a recent decision by the PGA Tour regarding players competing on major medical extensions that meant he kept his playing rights for the rest of the year when he thought that after missing the cut at last month’s Valero Texas Open he had lost them. “I am better today than I was a few weeks ago,” he said. “It was a break getting into this event but it wouldn’t have been as bad as some people painted it if I had lost my card.
“How did it happen that the PGA Tour changed its mind mid-season?” Poulter continued. “How one minute I am thinking I am going to lose my card and the next my phone goes and they tell me they have changed the rules and I am not? I don’t know. What I know is that they realised they had made a mistake and rectified it immediately.
“I am not complaining. I have been out on Tour too long to be standing here holding grudges.”