Ian Poulter sits in a 4-way tie for third place entering the third day of the 2019 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass outside Jacksonville (Fla.). The 43-year old British golfer knocked in a 6-under par 66 on Friday to find himself 9-under par alongside Americans Jim Furyk and Brian Harman, as well as Mexico’s Abraham Ancer.
His previous best effort for 2019 was a third-place tie at the World Golf Championships in Mexico back on Feb. 24 in Naucalpan. He tees off at 2:30 p.m. EST (PGA TV & NBC) only 3 shots behind clubhouse leaders Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy.
Poulter entered the weekend as the No. 31 golfer in the world. His tee partner will be Furyk, a 48-year old from Arizona that ranks outside the top-100.
Here’s what you need to know about the Stevenage, England native.
1. Poulter Says That He “Feels Good About His Game” at the Moment
Poulter balanced bright and dim moments last weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, battling through a pair of 1-over par days to end up at 4-under. After 2 strong afternoons in a row at TPC Sawgrass, the veteran told NBC Sports that he feels “good about his game.”
“I used to set goals,” he said. “I haven’t set really many goals as of late, apart from slowly just trying to creep back into the top-30. Creep back into the top-20 and try to get back into the top-10 in the world rankings.
“It’s not easy. These young kids are pretty good. At 43, I’m doing all right, feel good about my game. I feel the way that I’m playing I can move a bit further up that board.”
Poulter has never ended a PGA Tour season in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Rankings. His most successful stretch was from 2009 to 2013, when he placed in the top-16 each year.
His lowest point was a No. 184 showing in 2016. Since then, he’s worked his way back, even winning the 2018 Houston Open to help earn a selection on Europe’s Ryder Cup winning squad. Golf Channel’s Frank Nobilo and David Duval explained how Poulter showed unusually strong resilience in making that comeback.
“He’s the last of a breed we’ll never see again,” Nobilo said. “He was always told he wasn’t good enough. Actually, a few years ago he showed me a picture. His in-laws were peeling the wallpaper off and he’d helped them wallpaper their house. (The wall read) ‘I’m going to one of the greatest players in the world’ and he signed it.”
Nobilo concluded that he’s sure “sports psychologists would love to have what’s inside (Poulter’s) head.”
2. Poulter Entered the PGA Tour with a 4-Handicap
Poulter’s career started from a humble place. At age 17, he found work as the assistant pro and golf shop manager at the Chesfield Downs Golf Club. Due to the fees required to play on the course, he couldn’t increase his handicap below 4.
He spoke to David Feherty about the experience.
I was horrible, in fact…I was working part-time in a shop at a local golf club. I literally didn’t play at any tournament for 2 years. At the age of 19, I was doing the handicap certificates for the golf course, so I printed a couple off as the club pro…I forged a signature, sent it into the PGA, they accepted me off a 4-handicap and I guess the rest is kind of history.
His first competitive victory on any tour came at the 1999 Open de Cote D’Ivorie. A year later on the European Tour, he claimed the Italian Open. In his European Tour career, Poulter has won 12 titles.
He waited until 2010 to seize his first PGA Tour victory, taking first place at the 2010 World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. In addition to that and last year’s Houston Open, his only other tour triumph came at the 2012 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.
3. He Drained a Hole-in-One at the 2008 Masters
Poulter had a tremendous 2008 season, particular on the Majors circuit. He finished No. 2 to Padraig Harrington for The Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, scuffling his way near the top of the leaderboard with a 7-over par.
The biggest impression made was his hole-in-one on the 16th hole at the Masters. As Jim Nantz said during the broadcast, it was the first ace in 3 years at Augusta National.
Other career highlights include his winning putt at the 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills. Colin Montgomerie is widely credited as having holed the winning putt, although Poulter birdied on the 15th hole literally 3 seconds before. The result guaranteed the half-point necessary to claim the Cup.
4. He is an Avid Car Collector
Poulter is now based just outside Orlando and has posted on social media about his affinity for nice cars. Last week at Bay Hill, NBC’s Brentley Romine wrote a feature on how Thai golfer Kiradech Aphibarnrat bonded with Poulter over this fact.
Just a few blocks away from the Aphibarnrat residence lives Ian Poulter, a car nut and more specifically Ferrari fanatic. Aphibarnrat, who owns several sports cars back home in Thailand, went over to Poulter’s place last week to check out the collection.
“He has the best Ferrari collection that I’ve ever seen in my life,” Aphibarnrat said. “I told him I could spend a whole day in his garage just walking around and seeing every inch and every detail of each car.”
Said Poulter: “He’s a great lad. We spent some time in the simulators and had a great time. We’re both petrol heads.”
Romine mentions that outside of the Ferrari’s, Poulter owns a Porsche Macan GTS at his Orlando residence.
5. Poulter is Married and Has 4 Children
Ian met his wife Katie while he was on his way to getting his tour card before 1995. They tied the knot in 2007.
Their house is located on the prestigious Lake Nona Golf & Country Club where a few fellow PGA players also reside with their families. Lake Nona Golf & Country Club was designed by famed Tom Fazio and previously hosted the Solheim Cup.
The Poulters are the proud parents of four children, Aimee-Leigh, 16, Luke, Lily Mai, and Joshua.
They had their first two children together before getting hitched.
Katie found out she was pregnant with their third child just before The Open in 2008. She waited until he finished the tournament before telling him the exciting news. A few months later, the couple welcomed their daughter, Lily Mai.
He is sponsored by Titleist, MasterCard and these other sponsors found here.