Ian Poulter ready to rile tour loyalists by playing in Europe between Saudi-backed LIV events


Ian Poulter is ready to rile tour loyalists by playing in Europe between Saudi-backed LIV events… as the defiant Englishman eyes flagship BMW PGA Championship after overturning ban

  • Ian Poulter will make a contentious appearance at the Scottish Open this week
  • He was initially banned after playing in the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series
  • But the Englishman successfully applied for his ban to be temporarily lifted
  • DP World Tour are helpless to impose any further punishment on the rebels 

Ian Poulter will follow up his contentious appearance in the Genesis Scottish Open — which begins on Thursday — with more outings on the DP World Tour this summer, including the flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

The news will infuriate many of the tour’s loyalists — who are already resentful that Poulter is competing this week, after the Englishman successfully applied for his ban for playing in the inaugural LIV event to be temporarily lifted.

It is unlikely that a full hearing into the suspension and £100,000 fine will happen soon, leaving the tour helpless to impose any further punishment on the rebels for playing in the second LIV event in Portland earlier this month.

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Ian Poulter intends to take advantage of the loophole and keep on playing on DP World Tour

Poulter intends to take full advantage of the loophole. He is required by his Saudi paymasters to play in the third LIV event in New Jersey in three weeks, and will then take a family holiday.

After that, he will play in Europe at the Czech Masters and the BMW, and may add more events given his indefinite suspension from the PGA Tour.

However, the 46-year-old has brushed aside the anger of many of his colleagues who are competing this week.

‘I haven’t felt any issues at all,’ said Poulter. ‘I’m not going to talk about the public comments of other players, I have no interest in that. I had a talk with Thomas Bjorn at the JP McManus pro-am on Monday and it is fair to say his opinion is different to mine. But I have known Thomas for 25 years and I’m not going to fall out with him about it.’

The 46-year-old has brushed aside the anger of many players who are competing this week

The 46-year-old has brushed aside the anger of many players who are competing this week

Poulter admitted that his golf had been badly affected by the fallout. ‘It is not an easy process to go through, it has been exhausting,’ he said.

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‘When you have been with a tour for 24 years and never given your card in as quite a few have, you don’t want to feel like you have been completely pushed out.

‘I’ve played in 389 events on this tour and over the years I’ve been as committed as anyone. I feel comfortable in my position on this tour. Why should that change? I don’t want it to change.’

With Poulter taking the lead, it is likely that plenty more LIV defectors, including Westwood, will turn up at the Wentworth festival, meaning yet another high-profile event will be oveshadowed by controversy. Last year’s Open champion Collin Morikawa admitted his frustration. The American is one of 14 of the world’s top 15 players at the Scottish Open, in what is the strongest field ever assembled for an event on the DP World Tour.

American Collin Morikawa is one of 14 of the world’s top 15 players in the Scottish Open

American Collin Morikawa is one of 14 of the world’s top 15 players in the Scottish Open

‘When you look at the incredible field, I think there are a lot more stories that you can write about than Poulter,’ said Morikawa.

Among those stories is Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick, playing for the first time since his fabulous victory at the US Open in June.

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Ask him whether people now stop him in the street, the modest 27-year-old laughed.

‘No, it’s still the same, nobody recognises me,’ he said. ‘Well, apart from in New York, but I was holding the US Open trophy at the time, which was a bit of a giveaway.’

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