PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA | What a difference a year makes.
This time in 2017 Ian Poulter arrived at TPC Sawgrass, a late entrant for the Players Championship because of a rules adjustment that went in his favour and made him eligible, not ineligible. It was a stroke of fortune at a time when he thought his career at the highest level on the PGA Tour might be drawing to an end.
Poulter took full advantage of the stroke of fortune, finishing runner-up at the Players for the second time. That was his first top-10 finish of that year and it spurred him on to such effect that he had a victory in the Houston Open last month and had three other top-10 finishes since this time last year as well. What a difference a year makes.
That’s the secret, isn’t it? Take advantage when Lady Luck does you a good turn. “Just to be told I was eligible to play (at the Players) was a huge part of 2017 and a huge bonus for me” said Poulter, 42. “Obviously to kick on from that and play well enabled me to go back to Europe and play a bit more. That was helpful at the start of this year, which has been pretty good.”
Poulter returns to Europe soon to concentrate on making Thomas Bjørn’s Europe team in the Ryder Cup in September. It would be his sixth appearance in the biennial event, one in which he morphs from man into Superman.
“It’s obviously a massive goal,” Poulter said. “It’s on my mind. It’s a week that I absolutely love. I know what I need to do and that is play consistent golf throughout the summer. I need some big finishes and I know I’m one week from securing that spot. I am focused and determined to be there.”