KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) – Ian Poulter has been punished for breaking the PGA Tour's policy of spending two weeks in Hawaii to start the new year.
This would be a very literal interpretation of the sentence.
And that tells only part of the story of how Poulter chose to catch up on a tournament that he was supposed to be arguing over.
In addition to adding two tournaments he had not played in the last four years – one of them, thankfully, was the winners' field in Kapalua – Poulter hosted eight tournament guests for a game golf at his home club in Florida, a lunch and a match. visit of the house where he keeps his memories of Ferrari and Ryder Cup.
"I would say that goes beyond what we consider an acceptable gain," said Andy Pazder, head of tournaments and competitions for the tour. & # 39; & # 39; Doing what he did … was just great. & # 39; & # 39;
The violation failed to play a tournament where he had not been in the last four years.
What brought Poulter into this position was victory.
It is the policy of the PGA Tour that players who do not participate in 25 events must participate in a tournament where they have not participated in the last four years. Life members (20 or more victories of the circuit) and veterans (45 years old and over) are exempt. Poulter is neither one nor the other.
The policy was not a problem until the 42-year-old Englishman won the Houston Open. Suddenly, he was eligible for the Masters. His move in the world ranking has made him into the US Open and the British Open. The victory brings him to No. 20 FedEx Cup, ensuring him at least three playoffs. And that allowed him to be part of the Ryder Cup team for Europe.
"Winning would defeat me," Poulter said.
Jordan Spieth also violated the policy by not qualifying for the Tour Championship, which has earned him a lot of attention because the triple major champion has a lot of power.
Poulter, however, was the first culprit and he saw him arrive shortly after his win in Houston. He met the tour at Hilton Head a week after the Masters.
& # 39; & # 39; I told them: "How would you like to go about it?" I'm going to be the first person, and it's going to be sensitive, "said Poulter. & # 39; & # 39; I want to give something back in order to fulfill an obligation. & # 39; & # 39;
The current sanction is unclear and has been misinterpreted, especially regarding Spieth.
He enters the category "major penalty", which consists of a fine of at least $ 20,000 and a suspension of more than three tournaments. But it's ridiculous. Why punish a player who does not play enough tournaments by forcing him to sit even longer?
In addition, the commissioner has the last word on all the rules of the tournament.
Poulter said during the tour that he would be taking part in the Sentry Tournament of Champions for the first time since 2013 (his victory had not been as long since his last victory) and that he would remain one extra week for the Sony Open.
"It would tick two boxes," he says.
And then he offered a day with tournament guests. The Wyndham Championship was a game that Poulter could have played under normal circumstances, but that would have given him nine weeks in a row before the Ryder Cup.
So he let Wyndham choose who he wanted to send to Orlando, Florida.
"We had a good time," said Poulter. "I played nine holes with each group, we had a bite to eat and some of the guys wanted to see the car museum and my homage to the Ryder Cup office. I went through them. & # 39; & # 39;
He built this "museum" as part of a guest house so that it could serve as a place for business entertainment and charity activities, which was useful.
Poulter says some of the guests were pure "petro-heads" who can not get tired of cars. They all love golf and his office is entirely dedicated to golf, mainly the Ryder Cup.
This includes a text message that European captain Jose Maria Olazabal sent to Poulter on Christmas Day 2012, three months after Poulter had single-handedly led Europe to victory in Medinah. He framed the text on a silver board. He will not say what the message is.
"They can see it when they are there," he said.
There are Ryder Cup trophies (including five for Poulter), letters from Arnold Palmer, 60 travel bags filled with clubs he used during his 20-year career, memories of his years when he has taught juniors as a beginner pro in England, and distance books of some significant moments.
"The report we received was that it was a day of exception," said Pazder.
This is how Poulter paid his contribution, spending about eight hours of his time – and his home – to the guests of a tournament that he did not argue. And he is in Hawaii for two weeks.
All is well.
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