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Opinion & Analysis

No consolation? Breaking down Poulter’s rant



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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  1. Pingback: Poulter Stumbles Finishing 2nd Round At U S |

  2. blopar

    Mar 1, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    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!!!

  3. William

    Mar 1, 2013 at 8:13 am

    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.

  4. Golflaw

    Feb 28, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    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.

  5. Pingback: The Links: Rickie Fowler’s need for speed helps on golf course – (blog) - Golfing Tips & More!

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  7. Mike Leether

    Feb 28, 2013 at 10:21 am

    I care what Poulter has to say for about one week every two years. That is all….

  8. Mark Burke

    Feb 28, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Just play golf.

  9. Jim

    Feb 28, 2013 at 4:30 am

    If Tiger and Rory were playing for third place and Poultrr and Day were in final which match would you watch .

  10. Simon

    Feb 28, 2013 at 2:30 am

    Poor Poults, he knew the rules when he entered the event. If he feels hard done by I will pick him up early one morning and take him to a factory to work 60 hrs a week for about $500 that should stop his whingeing

  11. Steve

    Feb 27, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    I also agree with Poulter on this (of course, I pretty much always agree with him – he’s honest to a fault). I for one would LOVE to ba able to pick Ian’s brain for an hour regarding match play strategies and tactics.

  12. luke keefner

    Feb 27, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    The consolation match is just there to fill up air time on tv. It would be pretty boring watching 2 guys walking to their shots for most of the telecast. The bright side would be choking on the same Michelob Light commercials over and over(sarcasm)

    • RJD

      Mar 1, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      ding, ding, ding!!! this is exactly what it is about. That entire day is nothing but commercials as it is but if you had one less match to air, it would be ridiculous.

  13. jerrrrry

    Feb 27, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    TW 67 so true…….forgot all about that, glad you brought that to attention of those that don’t no how deep his integrity goes……

  14. Jeremiah

    Feb 27, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    It’s his job. Sorry if playing golf and getting paid is so rough. He knew the stipulations of the event going into it. If you dont win, you play consultation round. If you don’t like it stay home. People would kill to be in his ugly shoes….

  15. Blanco

    Feb 27, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Yes Ian Poulter can say what he wants… but so can the pubic. He will continue to loose the respect of fans and the media with his combination of ignorant frat-boy perspectives and this “emo” super wealthy selfishness.

    I must says this: anyone who thinks IJP design or its founder makes good looking clothing or makes clothing look good, has an extremely foul sense of esthetics and taste in general. If he wore it like John Daly wears Loudmouth, I’d have no problems with it… but this guy is SERIOUS about the gothic-argyle-spandex-leather thing. I started biting my nails again after watching his interview on Feherty Live– I have not stopped since.

    • Devon

      Feb 27, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      Agreed, my wife and I were watching the match play last weekend, she doesn’t know much about golf and giggled and mentioned he needs a new stylist. I told her that those were actually his designs and he owns a clothling line, the look on her face was priceless. Poulter’s ignorance and this “me me me” attitude is growing tiresome to watch these days.

  16. Trevor

    Feb 27, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Ian Poulter; LOL. I can’t stand his bratty-baby ways and tantrums. He cries when he wins, he cries when he loses, he cries about playing Golf for a living and cries when he has to spend time with his kids and play golf at the same time!

    Just Ridiculous.

  17. TWShoot67

    Feb 27, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    You know if he doesn’t like the format just don’t enter, it’s not like they changed the format and all of a sudden 3 and 4th play a consolation match …. it’s been happening for years. This is not soccer / football this is individual play. Why even bring up another sport. this is how golf has been played for ever in match play. You can always opt out if it’s too tough of a schedule. They are independent contractors, you don’t like it DON’T ENTER.

  18. TWShoot67

    Feb 27, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I have no sympathy for Ian Poulter who puts his foot in mouth at times, I ractually like who his is most of the time a fierce competitor, but sometimes he’s dead wrong. So he has no problem playing the extra 18 holes if it’s for 1 or 2 but not 3 or 4. Funny the day before this Tweet I read something like better coming in 3rd then 4th, now he says it’s first or nothing, that’s Tiger’s line? Of course every player wants to win, but it’s a small % that do. Guess that was a joke I didn’t catch, or that tweet was tongue and cheek. Seriously I know all about where Ian Poulter’s came from. Also part of his story is that he actually lied/cheated filling out card about his handicap to become a Club pro first before getting good enough to become a tour pro. So don’t feel too sad about a guy who lied in game where its all supposed to be about integrity. So not’s not give him all the props some may want to give the guy. I’ll give him props for making it. But you have to have talent not just a want or will yourself to be a touring pro, there’s too many parts of the game you have to be really really good at to become a pro. I personally sat and beat balls for 2 years every single day and never became a pro. i became scratch but not a pro. Just didn’t get the god given talent that some receive.

  19. footwedge

    Feb 27, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    When he entered the tourney he knew there was a chance he might be subjected to the shame and horror of having to play a consolation round, where he would only recieve as little as $400,000 (to play a round of golf).

    Get real

    • Dolph Lundgrenade

      Feb 28, 2013 at 11:47 pm

      He already earned the $400k before he tee’d off in the consolation match. For these players the $100k difference isn’t the deal. The win was the deal and that is over.

      Tied for 3rd is better. Another format for the consolation would be even better. Maybe the 3-6 or 3-8 play some sort of skins match.

  20. footwedge

    Feb 27, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Total whiner, has no idea what a day of hard work really is. He’s complaining about playing a round of golf, of all things, and getting more money than 99.9% of people earn in an entire year.
    Completely distorted sense of reality, sniffling baby.

    • setter02

      Feb 27, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      Do you know anything about Poults? He’s far from silver spoon fed/country club culture like so many other kids grew up into… Give the guy some props who at 17 and a 5 capper decided he was going to become what he is now… Do some research before expressing your opinion… He’s earned the right…

    • Boydeeo

      Feb 27, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      I understand your point that its hard to accept a complaint about this from a guy that makes more money both of us combined without getting out of bed

      Do remember that he did start his career in a local pro shop and you have to beleive he worked is a$$ off to get there.

      Just my 2 cents

  21. Dane

    Feb 27, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I agree with him…Put the 2 best Junior amateurs on for a second match if they need more golf on tv. That would be more fun to watch than 2 guys that don’t want to be out there.

  22. Kevin

    Feb 27, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    This is the key. The reason he has amassed great wealth without winning wiith great regularity is a result of the large purses from the sponsors and tv deals/exposure. I’m on the fence regarding “Poults”. I admire his visible tenacity in high pressure team and match play situations. I think his attitude should change some when he analyzes his situation and realizes his empire is intertwined with the hand that feeds.

  23. Jerry

    Feb 27, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Nobody wants to play for 3-4, and no one wants to watch it either.

  24. PoloFox

    Feb 27, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I am sorry but I disagree with him. Sure no one will remember who finished 3rd or 4th but there is a reason why PGA TOUR players get paid what they do. Publicity/Ratings!!! I mean seriously the amount of money he gets paid/wins… He can’t go out and play another 18 holes??? Come on!! I mean he does have FANS that want to watch him right?? Why not do it for them? If he did not want to play he should have dropped out!! End of story and don’t go on social media crying. Not a Poulter fan and this is another good reason why.

  25. Gary Ward

    Feb 27, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    He’s right, the losing semi finalists don’t play off in tennis or in FA cup or champions league or in NFL and no-one complains we don’t know who comes third. Split the money and fed-ex points etc the Tv only uses it to fill between shots on the game everyones wants to see anyway.

  26. larrybud

    Feb 27, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    He may be right, but it’s all about TV. It’s already slow going on TV when there’s only 2 matches going on. Make it 1 match and it’d be a snoozefest.

  27. tom

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Ian is correct who cares tie for 3rd split cash..

  28. Callaway X Hot

    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Poulter is entitled to his opinion but to me he comes off as a spoiled brat that is upset because he did not win. Come one you’re making millions by playing golf and there may be some hard working folks who paid money to watch you play in the consolation match.

    Suck it up and play.

    • Rob

      Feb 27, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      I agree, Poulter comes off as a baby. If he really had a good argument he could have stated it more maturely. The article does well to point out the importance of the difference between 3rd and 4th, not only for the cash they receive but for season-long points and rankings.

    • Rufiolegacy

      Feb 27, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      A lot of people feel the same way about Poulter, and maybe he is a bit of a brat. However, under the circumstances to get that close through the field and end up not in the finals match. I can understand his frustration.

    • Shark

      Feb 27, 2013 at 9:51 pm

      I disagree. I think he is to be admired as he plays to win. So many get cushy only concerned with cuts and monet (although he does get a knock for winning so rarely… Not sure why?)
      But In a tourney until the last swing you feel you could win… In consolation match you hit first ball knowing you can only do third at best.


    Feb 27, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Why is it so bad when someone states what they believe?? Let him make his point and let him feel the way he wants. It is none of my business.

    • Joey5Picks

      Feb 27, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      Everyone is entitled to their opinion and to make their point. It doesn’t mean others don’t have the right to question it. Bottom line; you have the right to say what you think, but you don’t have the right to do it without repurcussions or blowback.

  30. E-gree

    Feb 27, 2013 at 11:43 am

    I agree with him completely!!!

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Opinion & Analysis

The difference between “ugly” and “unorthodox” golf swings



I’d like you pretend for a moment that you were asked to name the five ugliest golf swings by players who had won a major championship. Who would you select, and what criteria would you use to make that judgment? You might say you’re not sure, but you would have no difficulty identifying an ugly swing if you were to see one, right? The question is, what factors would move you toward that decision?

I struggled with this exact question when it was posed to me and others who were members of Golf Magazine’s “Top 100” panel at the time. In making my decision, I was concerned that I did not confuse UNORTHODOX with UGLY. The fact is that some of the greatest golfers throughout history have been considered to have had unorthodox swings.

  • The word “unorthodox” is defined as that which is contrary to what is usual, traditional or generally accepted.
  • The word “ugly” is defined as that which is unpleasant or repulsive in appearance.

In comparing the two definitions, they are clearly quite different. The word “unorthodox” suggests something that is different from the norm, while the word “ugly” relates to the appearance of an object regardless of its status. The problem with labeling any golf swing as unorthodox is that the definition of that condition varies with time. What was once considered to be unorthodox may later be considered perfectly acceptable, and we’ve seen this happen over and over again in golf instruction.

Case No. 1

It was considered unorthodox when Harry Vardon moved his thumbs toward the top of the shaft and placed the little finger of his right hand over his left forefinger knuckle. The standard grip in his era featured both thumbs to the sides of the shaft. The club was held more in the palms of both hands and with all ten fingers, rather than more diagonally through the palm as in Vardon’s Grip. As Vardon began to win, however, his competitors copied his grip. What once was considered unorthodox became orthodox.

Case No. 2

Hogan and Nicklaus were paired together in the final round of the 1957 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills. The dichotomy between their backswings couldn’t have been more evident. This was due to the way in which they utilized their right elbows in the backswing. Nicklaus allowed his right elbow to work up and away, pointing more outward at the top. Hogan’s right elbow was closer to his body and pointed more downward.

At the time, Hogan’s backswing was considered orthodox while Nicklaus’ swing was considered unorthodox. As Hogan faded from the winner’s circle and Nicklaus began to emerge, what was once thought to be unorthodox later came to be considered orthodox.

There are some swings that most observers would agree are both unorthodox and ugly. For example, most observers would say that Jim Furyk’s swing is not pretty — they might even go so far as to categorize it as ugly. This is despite the face that Furyk has had an outstanding career and has a U.S. Open victory to his credit. What is it that observers find so offense in his swing? The answer is the differential in planes between the backswing and the downswing, or what might be referred to as a “loop” in his swing.

In Furyk’s case, the club is taken well outside what might be considered the traditional backswing plane. Then it is looped well to the inside and back into position on the downswing. This is is a perfectly acceptable way to play golf, which is evidenced by the size of his bank account and the number of trophies on his mantle. As you might surmise, because of his golf swing, Furyk has not been asked to write any full-swing instruction books.

The problem is that, in the eyes of the observer, the combination of the two distinctly different planes gives a disjoined appearance to the swing. Does it follow then that the variance in the backswing and downswing is the primary factor in determining if a swing qualifies as being ugly? The problem with reaching that conclusion is that it doesn’t hold up to comparison with other players who employ a similar pattern… beginning with Freddy Couples. He begins his swing by lifting his arms well outside the traditional plane line. With a delayed turn of his torso, he then brings the club back into a more traditional plane at the top.

In the case of both Couples and Furyk, their backswings operate well outside the traditional plane line with both players “looping” the club back into position prior to impact. And yet Couples’ swing is universally admired, while Furyk’s swing is in some quarters ridiculed. This begs the question of why Couples’ “looping” swing motion is considered more acceptable than Furyk’s. The answer to that question is two-fold.

  1. Furyk’s loop is created ostensibly by a change in plane with the arms and the hands, giving the swing a frenetic appearance.
  2. Couples’ loop is created with a graceful turn of his body with the arms following in perfect harmony.

And so, when taking the swings of Couples and other “loopers” into consideration, it would seem that the dramatic change in plane between the backswing and the downswing in and of itself does not warrant the classification of ugly.

Author Footnote: A point worth considering as part of this discussion is that there have been other accomplished players throughout the history of the game whose backswings have operated on the same principles as Couples. This would include perennial Champion’s Tour winners Kenny Perry, and earlier Jay Haas, whose swings were generally admired despite their unorthodox approach to the backswing.

What does this all mean? First, while a loop in the golf swing may be unorthodox, is not necessary considered ugly provided that the club is routed into plane with the turn of the body rather than just the arms and the hands. Second, as stated earlier, the definition of unorthodox can and does change depending on the era. And third, an unorthodox swing is not necessarily ugly. The two classifications are very different.

As you evaluate golf swings, remember this adage; an unorthodox swing is not necessarily ugly, but an ugly swing is always unorthodox.

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TG2: Should Tiger Woods play in The Masters without a driver?



Tiger Woods’ No. 1 concern heading into the Masters is the driver, according to Notah Begay. Equipment expert Brian Knudson and Editor Andrew Tursky argue whether Tiger should even use a driver during the Masters. Also, they discuss Rory’s new prototype putter and how it was made, and they talk about a new shaft company called “LA Golf Shafts.”

Listen to the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

For more info on the topics, check out the links below.

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Opinion & Analysis

Book Review: The Life and Times of Donald Ross



The Life and Times of Donald Ross is a successful golf history, in that it holds one’s attention, regardless of one’s level of enthusiasm or interest for the subject. It can hardly avoid doing so, as it traces the life of a man who lived through both world wars, emigrated from the old country to the new, and championed a sport that grew from infancy to maturity in the USA, during his earthly run. The loss of two wives to uncontrollable circumstances, the raising of a child essentially on his own, and the commitment to the growth of golf as an industry add to the complexity of the life of Donald J. Ross Jr. Within the cover of this tome, through words and images, the life and times of the man are communicated in fine fashion.

The book was published in 2016, by Chris Buie of Southern Pines, North Carolina. Buie is not a professional writer in the traditional sense. He does not solicit contracts for books, but instead, writes from a place of passion and enthusiasm. This is not to say that he is not a writer of professional quality. Instead, it isolates him among those who turn out high-level prose, scholarly research, with attention-holding results.

Before I opened the book, it was the cover that held my attention for much longer than a single, fleeting moment. The solitary figure, staring out across the ocean. Was he gazing toward the Americas, or toward his birthplace, in Scotland? And that blend of blue shades, like something out of Picasso’s 1901-1904 period of monochromatic azures, proved to be equal parts calming and evocative. Those years, by the way, correlate with the 29th to the 32nd years of Ross’ life. During that period, Ross lost a brother (John) to injuries suffered in the Boer War, and married his first wife, Janet. With care like that for the cover art, what marvelous research awaited within the binding?

After a number of readings, I’m uncertain as to the greater value of the words or the pictures. Perhaps it’s the codependency of one on the other that leads to the success of the effort. The book is the culmination of 5 months of exhaustive research, followed by 7 months of intense writing, on Buie’s part. The author made up his mind to match as many images as possible with his descriptors, so as to create both visual and lexical collections to stand time’s test. Maps, paintings, photos, newspaper clippings, postcards, etchings and course routes were collected and reproduced within the covers. Throughout the process, so much of Ross’s life and craft, previously unrecognized in publication, were revealed to Buie. Ross’s ability to make the unnatural look natural when necessary, is hardly equaled in the annals of golf course architecture. According to Buie,

Growing up all I’d heard was natural. Certainly he incorporated as much of the existing terrain and environment as possible. But given how much other work went into the courses, it would be more accurate to say his courses were naturalistic.

Buie also scrapes away at the misplaced notion that Ross was a one-dimensional golf course architect. After all, what else did Shakespeare do besides write plays and sonnets? Well, Ross did so much more, in addition to building some of the world’s great member and tournament golf courses, shaping the Pinehurst Resort experience, and running an in-town hotel in the process. Again, Buie comments,

His greatest contribution was the role he played in the overall establishment of the game in the United States. He was involved in every aspect (caddymaster, greenkeeper, teacher, player, mentor, tournaments, clubmaking, management, etc). The theme that went through his efforts was that he was adamant all be done “the right way”. Given the breadth and enduring nature of his efforts I don’t think anyone else did more to establish the game in America. That makes him the “Grand Old Man of the American Game” – not just a prolific architect.

What was it about Ross, that separated him from the many compatriots who journeyed from Scotland to the USA? They were content to compete and run golf clubs, but Ross sought so much more. His early years involved much successful competition, including top-10 finishes in the US Open. He was also a competent instructor, manifested in the ability of his students to learn both the swing and its competitive execution. And yet, Pinehurst is so different from any other place in the Americas. And so much of what it is, is due to the influence of Donald Ross.

In a nod to the accepted round of golf across the planet, the book contains 18 chapters, including the appendices. At locomotive pace, the mode of transportation utilized by Ross to traverse the lower 48 of the USA and Canada, the reader gathers a proper awareness of the great man’s living arc. Beginning with the hike from the train station in Boston to the Oakley Country Club, the emigration of the Scotsman from the highlands of Caledonia to the next hemisphere was a fairly simple affair, with unexpected, poignant, and far-reaching consequences. Donald J. Ross, jr., would complete the shaping of american golf that was assisted (but never controlled) by architectural peers. Men like Walter Travis, Albert Tillinghast, Charles Blair Macdonald, Alister MacKenzie and Tom Bendelow would build courses of eternal worth, but none would shape in the far-reaching manner of Ross.

It’s tempting to make a larger portion of this story about Buie, but he wouldn’t have it so. A Pinehurst native, Buie’s blend of reverence and understanding of his home region are evident and undeniable. One almost thinks that a similar history might have been written about any number of characters charged with the stewardship of the Sandhills region of North Carolina. Fortunately for aficionados of golf and its course architecture, Buie is a golfer, and so we have this tome.

Donald J. Ross, jr. was a man of principle, a man of faith, a man of belief. When those beliefs came into conflict with each other, which they seldom did, he had an instinct for elevating one over the other. No other place is this more evident that in his routing of the Sagamore course in Lake George, in the Adirondack mountains of New York state. Faced with the conundrum of how to begin the course, his daughter remembers the sage words of the father. Despite contradicting his belief that a course should never begin in the direction of the rising sun, Ross commented I can’t start it anywhere but looking out at that lake and those mountains. Indeed, Sagamore would be a poorer place for an alternate opening, and this review would have less of a way to reach its end.

My recommendation: read the book.

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19th Hole