It could be the end of days for Ian Poulter, not just on the PGA Tour, but as a significant presence in professional golf.
You watched Ian Poulter struggle to a final round 73 at Harbour Town after entering Sunday positioned for his first win since 2012. He finished tied for 11th. The vagaries of the PGA Tour’s medical extensions and tour card requirements are generally beyond comprehension. But we at least know this specifically: Poults needs to card $30,624 at the Valero Texas Open to keep his card for the remainder of the season. That likely equates to a top-30 finish.
“I’m a little hot under the collar right now. Today could have been a victory and I’ve let it slip,” he told Sky Sports. To three-putt from 25 feet is unacceptable. I should have got it done today. I didn’t do what I needed to do and shut out some of the putts I needed to.”
In the agonizing world of professional golf, with its razor-thin margins, had Poulter finished one stroke better at the RBC Heritage, he’d have retained his card. Poulter has made five of his last six cuts, but hasn’t recorded a big-paying top-10 finish this season.
27th in the world as of the RBC Heritage in 2015, Poulter has fallen 190th in the Official World Golf Ranking as his form has suffered in recent seasons. Last year, he had to shut it down following the Dean & Deluca Invitational due to a foot issue that kept him out for the remainder of the season. And speaking of shutting down, Poulter’s clothing firm, IJP Design also closed its doors in March after 10 years of business.
Pro’s diverse business ventures off the course:
He indicated at the time he’d “been unable to justify its continuation after many years of investing in the business and a number of attempts to reshape it against an ever increasingly competitive landscape.”
While the IJP brand was never a particularly strong one with any great slice of market share, it was an indication of the strength of the Ian Poulter brand. In other words, Poulter was popular and high-profile enough that golfers wanted to wear what he was wearing.
And of course, thanks to his poor play and foot injury last year kept him off the European Ryder Cup squad. Poulter boasts a 14-4-2 singles record in the competition, which many feel he personifies.
Add to all of this the fact that Poulter is now 41 years of age, and it seems, despite his endless barrage of tweets, Ian Poulter’s star is dimming and his stock is dipping. Perhaps, a late career, Steve Stricker-esque resurgence is in the cards.
Certainly, his strokes-gained metrics are better this year than in the recent past. And Poulter’s many fans will point to the fact that, with a strong showing in Texas, the Englishman could rewrite this grim narrative. If he loses his card, however, expect many to herald the end of Poulterdom.