SOUTHPORT, England – Dangerous is the man who feels like he has nothing to lose.
Ian Poulter is that man.
“I’m in a bonus week,” he said Friday after shooting even-par 70 to remain in contention at his beloved Open Championship. “I qualified for The Open. I’m loving it. I really am. This is a massive bonus for me to be in this position. I haven’t played in a major for a little while, and I can’t wait. I’m excited. I’m pumped up.”
Poulter considered his round boring, but that’s precisely what needed to happen for him to remain near the top of the leaderboard on a day where wind and rain ruined the hopes of many others. He made 16 pars, one birdie and one bogey.
This is the first time in the past five majors that Poulter has played, mostly because of a foot injury. He admitted that he hardly could watch golf on television and his world ranking began to plummet because he wasn’t collecting any points. He found himself in a position where he could no longer pick his own playing schedule.
But the PGA Tour found a calculation error in its FedEx points just after the Masters and it moved Poulter back into a category where he could play The Players, where he ultimately tied for second place. That performance essentially helped him secure his PGA Tour card for next year and it has freed him up to play better golf.
Poulter, ranked No. 78, has now made seven consecutive cuts and he even had a chance to win the Scottish Open last week before faltering in the final round. He qualified for The Open via a 36-hole marathon at Woburn, his home club, and now he’s here at Royal Birkdale feeling like he’s playing with house money.
“So, yeah,” he said, “I mean I’m ready to go out there toe-to-toe with anyone this weekend.”
(For more statistics regarding Poulter's play at Royal Birkdale, visit TheOpen.com)