If you aren’t one of Ian Poulter’s more than 1.4 million followers on Twitter, you might have missed the flamboyant Englishman’s comments about the consolation match at WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Poulter fired off a series of tweets which displayed little faith in the venerable old institution of the consolation match the morning after his 1 up loss to Jason Day in the Match Play’s losers’ loop.

Like so many of our favorite athletes and celebrities, the plaid enthusiast has a history of colorful Twitter rants.

If you’re not familiar, Google “Ian Poulter + Twitter rant” for a bit of light reading.

The following are the match play ace’s comments:

Ian Poulter's Match Play Tweets

Is this all just sour grapes, or does Poulter have a point?

Primarily, Poulter was correct in his assumption that Jason Day would withdraw from the Honda Classic. The PGA Tour announced the golfer’s WD last night and his replacement in the field by Luke List.

But there is a significant cash difference between the third and fourth place finisher (in addition to OWGR rankings points, FedEx Cup points, etc). For his third place finish in the tournament Jason Day collected a $615,000 check. Ian Poulter’s fourth place check amounted to $400,000. Perhaps both would have been willing to say “good, good” on the match and pocket identical checks for $507,500, but I’m not sure.

Regardless, Poulter’s contention that playing the second match on Sunday/ the sixth match of the week is a significant hardship, which compromises the participants play in the next week’s tournament (the Honda Classic) merits examination.

Here’s a list of the participants on the WGC-Accenture Match Play consolation match between 2005 and last year and how they fared in the next week’s tournament (if they played).

Accenture Match Player Consolation match

Certainly some (perhaps Poulter) will argue that the peculiar circumstances this year were the real marrow of his complaint. The majority of those who played on Sunday had to play most of their matches over four days, rather than five. Also, weather delays plus colder-than-average temperatures may have enhanced the fatigue the last four standing were feeling.

However, as we can’t suppose that all the players who didn’t play in the next week’s event did so because of the particular fatigue brought on by having to tee it up for another 18 holes after knowing they weren’t going to win the match play, it’s difficult to draw any firm conclusion from the “DNPs.” And obviously, such players would have had to have committed to the succeeding tournament well before their consolation matches.

It may be significant to note, however, that none of the players in the consolation match from 2005 to 2012 withdrew and that fatigue didn’t seem to be a serious issue for said players. All who played in the week following their consolation match made the cut in the succeeding tournament, with two—Lee Westwood in 2012 and Camilo Villegas in 2010—finishing in the top 10.

With his withdrawal this year, Jason Day was the first to break with that tradition.

Given this, there are many ways to spin Poulter’s comments. One way is that this is another example of a PGA Tour professional whining about problems 99 percent of the world (and 99 percent of professional golfers, really) would love to have.

Another possible reading is that Poulter, fiery and honest fellow that he is, is again airing his grievances with the powers that be, such as he did last year after a final-round 76 at the Barclays.

Your assessment of the situation might have much to do with your feelings in general toward the polarizing, passionate and pink-loving fellow. The reality, though, is that those who play in the consolation match and go on to compete in the next calendar event often play quite well.

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40 COMMENTS

  1. Gosh Ian–doesn’t collecting $400 K so your fans can watch you duel it out in match play and placate the TV advertising sponsors who pump up your tournament purses interest you at all??? It is sports entertainment as well as competition in the long run!!!

  2. I agree with everything Poulter says. But, had he won, we would not be having this conversation. If he doesn’t like the way the 3rd and 4th spots are decided, he doesn’t have to play in the event. Problem solved.

  3. Poulter is right. Playing for 3rd is a big nothing to a competitor. It’s to fill time for the sponsors. I’m old enough to remember when they also played a consolation game before the NCAA basketball games. The games were so lackluster and played with no emotion even TV gave up and it ended.

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