Ian Poulter has avoided a hefty fine and suspension after violating a PGA Tour rule during 2018. He had the perfect gesture to compensate.... By Lewis Blain.
Poulter Dodges PGA Tour Violation
Ian Poulter has made amends for missing a tournament he was supposed to play.
The PGA Tour has a policy which states that players who do not compete in 25 events during the course of the season must play a tournament where they haven’t been in the last four years.
The 42-year-old won the Houston Open back in April which made him eligible for The Masters a week later. His rise up the world rankings also got him into the US Open and The Open Championship as well as assuring him a top-20 in the FedEx Cup rankings meaning the possibility of three play-off events at the bare minimum. The victory would also propel him into the Ryder Cup conversation, if that was even in any doubt.
A combination of above meant that Poulter would fall under the required 25 PGA Tour events for the year. He could have played the Wyndham Championship but that would have meant nine straight weeks of golf going into the Ryder Cup.
Failure to abide by this regulation normally carries a fine of $20,000 and suspension from at least three tournaments as it falls under the ‘major penalty’ category.
But it ultimately falls down to the commission, who always has the final say.
Poulter was aware of this and met the Tour at Hilton Head, venue of the RBC Heritage, after the Masters.
He said: “Winning was going to put me in default.
“I told them, ‘How do you want to go about it?’ I’m going to be the first person, and it’s going to be sensitive. I want to give something back so I can fulfil an obligation.”
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Poulter’s solution? To play the opening two weeks in Hawaii and to become host for a number of Wyndham guests.
His appearance at last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions was his first since 2013 (finished 18th) and he will stay for the Sony Open this week.
He also invited eight guests for a round of golf at his home club, lunch and a tour of his house including his stellar car collection and Ryder Cup memorabilia.
“We had a great time,” said Poulter.
“I played nine holes with each group, we had a bite to eat, and a few of the guys wanted to see the car museum and my Ryder Cup office-homage. I took them through that.”
The PGA Tour’s Chief of Operations Andy Pazder said: “I would say it was beyond what we would consider an acceptable make-good. To do what he did, was just terrific.”
Jordan Spieth is another player that faced punishment in 2018 after failing to qualify for the Tour Championship, putting the number of events played one short of the required total.
The American compensated for that by playing the Shriners Open and the Mayokoba Golf Classic at the back end of last year.
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