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Player Profile

Ian Poulter: the season so far

by Matt Cooper
Updated On: April 24, 2020, 5:03 pm ET

Age: 44


World ranking (current/end of year)

Current: 58th
2019: 43rd
2018: 40th
2017: 54th
2016: 184th


Current 2020 Stats

FedEx Cup Rank: 128th

Events: 5
Wins: 0
Top 10: 0
Top 25: 2
Made Cut: 5
Money: $431,855


Strokes Gained

Off-The-Tee: 164th (2019: 131st, 2018: 80th, 2017: 139th)
Approach: 30th (2019: 73rd, 2018: 30th, 2017: 11th)
Around The Green: 32nd (2019: 29th, 2018: 82nd, 2017: 4th)
Putting: 30th (2019: 24st, 2018: 56th, 2017: 94th)
Tee-To-Green: 45th (2019: 66th, 2018: 38th, 2017: 22nd)
Total: 21st (2019: 36th, 2018: 31st, 2017: 28th)



Once ranked as high as fifth in the world (following his victory in the 2010 WGC World Match Play), the Englishman’s slump of a few years ago is clearly revealed in his drop in 2016, which troughed with a period outside the top 200 in early 2017. He famously broke the spell (and retained his PGA Tour card) with second in that year’s PLAYERS Championship and a year later ended a six year win drought with triumph in the Houston Open. This season he opened with top 20s during the PGA Tour’s sojourn Korea and Japan, but illness cost him a full week in the HSBC Champions. He then added two top 20s on the European Tour and T27-T32 on the Florida Swing at PGA National and Bay Hill. His stats show that he loses strokes to the field from the tee, but normally gains thereafter, but his true strengths are on and around the green. He is capable of excellent Approach work though.

Grade so far: C-


2019-20 quotes

Season-opening press call (on the future): “I’m 43, about to go 44, but I’ve never felt younger. I had an opportunity at the (2019) Masters, which was exciting to be in position with nine holes to go. There are a number of goals (remaining) … winning the Order of Merit, winning a major, playing in the Ryder Cup again.”

Season-opening press call (on the Ryder Cup captaincy): “If I get asked, of course I’d take it with both hands. I’d love the opportunity, it would be an honor and an amazing experience. And I’d take the same approach if I’m honest. You need to have a high level of energy to be able to captain even though the players do the majority of the work and, to a certain extent, you just have to let them get on with the job.”

F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix (on crashing and his surprising inability to multi-task): “You’ve got me all flustered.”


THE MAJORS (most recent results on the left)

The Masters: 12-44-49-6-20-MC-7-27-10-20-25-13-33-31

He’s well capable of some big numbers at Augusta National (an 82 in round three in 2016 and a Sunday 78 having been in the top ten all week in 2008), he’s also been known to hit the odd shank there, but the glorious setting is also perfect for peacock Poulter to show his feathers and he’s been inspired to go 13-for-14 with seven top 20s. He shared the halfway lead in 2010 and was T5 with 18 holes to play last year.

PGA Championship: MC-31-22-MC-59-61-3-39-MC-19-31-23-9-47-37-61-MC

More consistency and one very good result (T3 in 2012), but the cold truth is that he’s struggled to impose himself in this tournament. Yes, he’s 13-for-17, but only twice has he finished better than T19. The T9 in 2006 was his best 54-hole position (T8) and his T3 was due to a fast-finishing Sunday 69.

U.S. Open: MC-25-54-17-21-41-MC-47-18-WD-36-12-57-MC

His difficulties are somewhat revealed in the fact that in 47 laps at the championship he has gone sub-70 just four times. In one sense, that’s unsurprising because few players rack up lots of them, but greater than that tally is needed to contend. And yet, once again, he shows great major heart in his ability to make the weekend so often (10-for-13). However, only once, in 2006, was he closer than T10 with one round to go. That year he was T4 and closed with a 74 for T12.

Open Championship: MC-MC-14-MC-MC-3-9-60-MC-2-27-MC-11-25-46-50-64

Talk about boom or bust. Seven missed cuts in 18 starts when he has only eight lost weekends in the American majors. Moreover, 11 of his appearances failed to land a top 40, but when he’s on fire he is very good at links golf. He was second at Royal Birkdale in 2008, racing home with a 69 that briefly threatened to set a target no-one would match. A final round 67 also landed him T3 in 2013. And yet, that 2008 effort is somewhat typical of his entire major record. He started it T9, his best 54-hole position in the Open, and it’s too far back to genuinely contend.