ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI | So now we know what keeps Ian Poulter awake at night. And it is not what you might have thought.
It is not the missed fairway on the fourth at Bellerive that led to his second bogey of the day in his 67 in the first round of the PGA Championship. It is not the impending Ryder Cup in Paris where he will be a vice captain in Thomas Bjorn’s Europe team unless he qualifies or is selected as a player.
Nor is it an occasional disappointing round that disfigures a decent tournament. For example, a 74 in the last round in the World Golf Championship event at Akron last Sunday was 12 strokes more than he took in his first round. And an 81 in the second round of the Open at Carnoustie in July contributed to his missing the cut for the second time on this year’s European Tour and only the fourth of the year.
These things don’t cause Poulter, 42, to lose any sleep.
“I’m swinging it good. I’m playing well. I’m happy,” he said.
He had taken Monday off from golf as is his usual practice, had done some food shopping, and been busy around his house in Florida without his wife and family who had yet to return from a holiday in the UK. Happy with his swing and his recent form that saw him earn three top-12 finishes in his past four events, he did not intend to arrive in St Louis for a practice round and expose himself to the anticipated heat until Wednesday morning.
As it happened, Monday night was due to be his first night in his bed in Florida since 20 May what with a mid-summer trip to Europe and five tournaments in succession. He was looking forward to a good night’s sleep only to find to find that the unusual quietness in the house was making a noise in his ears that kept him awake.
Simon and Garfunkel’s album, Sounds of Silence, came into his mind: “Katie and the kids weren’t getting back until Tuesday evening, which meant two days in my own bed in an empty house. Bliss. But it felt really weird. I’ve never known the house so quiet. It was like an eerie silence had descended and I couldn’t sleep.”
He slept all right on Wednesday night though and he had few worries that might keep him awake on Thursday night. For one thing his name was high on the leaderboard. For another, there was enough noise going on around him to make him relax.