On the final Monday of March, 51 can be the loneliest number.
That’s where Ian Poulter finds himself on this week’s chart, one place shy of receiving a Masters invitation after falling one round short of necessary at the WGC Match Play Championship. Anyone in the top 50 after the Match Play gets in, if he hadn’t already qualified.
Poulter, in fact, is the only man among the top 59 who doesn’t have plans for Augusta, factoring in other qualifying options. Next on the list is Charles Howell at No.60.
Nor did it help when Poulter was given bad information after reaching the quarterfinals that he’d done enough to crack the top 50.
“You’re getting into the Masters,” said the Golf Channel reporter.
Poulter replied, “I mean, is it confirmed?”
“Yes. You’re guaranteed top 50,” said the reporter.
“That’s great. Phase two of four phases done. So three to go. And all will be good,” said an excited Poulter.
But just 10 minutes before teeing off against Kevin Kisner in the semi-finals, he was given the correct info. Whether the letdown played a role in his 8 & 6 loss, who knows.
“I should never listen to other people,” Poulter said. “When you finish a round of golf and the press and everybody is telling you you’re in the Masters, and then you get a text message 10 minutes before you tee off to correct everybody, to say, ‘Oh, we’ve made a mistake, actually, no, that was wrong, you’re not in. You need to go and win.’
“Not that that’s an excuse in any form or factor, it’s a little disappointing.”
Just to let you know.. I am not in the Masters, I was told after this mornings round that I was in the Masters by Golf Channel, The Media, @EuropeanTour, 10 minutes before I tee’d off this afternoon I was told sorry points weren’t correct your not in yet. #DisappointingMistake
— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) March 24, 2018
The only way for Poulter to qualify now is to win this week’s Houston Open.
POS – PLAYER – (LAST WEEK) – POINTS
50. *Si Woo Kim (54) – 2.3745
51. Ian Poulter (64) – 2.3444
52. *Jhonattan Vegas (48) – 2.3303
53. *Patton Kizzire (52) – 2.3302
54. *Yuta Ikeda (51) – 2.3254
55. *Bernd Wiesberger (56) – 2.2593
56. *Russell Henley (55) – 2.2579
57. *Yusako Miyazato (57) – 2.2231
58. *Charl Schwartzel (53) – 2.2147
59. *Zach Johnson (58) – 2.2107
60. Charles Howell (65) – 2.1881
*already qualified via other criteria
CONTENT EXCERPTED FROM THE STARTER