SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND | It’s not surprising that Ian Poulter began this Open Championship at Royal Birkdale with a stress-free 3-under-par 67 that immediately thrust him into the emerging tournament storyline.
Poulter had a chance to win the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open last week at Dundonald until he three-putted three times in the final round, and his overall good form has been a recurring theme since his runner-up finish at the Players Championship in May.
Here’s what is surprising:
When it was suggested to Poulter that his resurgent golf game has him practically strutting down fairways, he seemed surprised.
“Didn’t know I was a strutter,” Poulter said.
Perhaps he also doesn’t realize he prefers flashy clothes and Ferraris.
There is definitely a Poulter strut when he’s playing the way he has been playing. Everyone knows the Poulter eyes and the wardrobe but he has got the walk down, too.
And it’s good to see him being Poulter again.
For a time, when an arthritic toe sidelined him for months, Poulter faded toward professional irrelevance. He was on the verge of losing his PGA Tour playing privileges until his brilliant run at the Players and now he’s back to being Poulter, strut and all.
“I’m definitely playing with a bit more confidence,” said Poulter, who always has had a touch of the peacock about him.
Credit to him for going to his home course in Woburn and qualifying for this Open Championship with a large local gallery following his quest. It landed him here, on the leaderboard and walking the Poulter walk again.
“It’s easy to be down when you feel you’re a great player and all of a sudden you’re hampered with a bit of injury. You’re not getting the results you want. It’s very easy to slide away,” Poulter said.
“So I’m proud of the way I’ve been able to refocus, get things back on the straight and narrow, clear away some of the noise in the background, and get back to really focusing hard on what I need to do to get the level of golf back that I think I can play.”