KAPALUA, Hawaii – Even with all of the rescheduled Hyundai Tournament of Champions opening round washed off the books on Sunday, the day wasn’t devoid of controversy.
A dust-up between Ian Poulter and NBC commentator Johnny Miller made major waves through social media, but may have been due in large part to a misunderstanding.
While Poulter backed off a putt on the 11th green multiple times, Miller referred to him as “fairly dramatic.” Minutes later, when he took some time to hit an approach shot into the 12th hole, Miller had the following exchange with fellow commentator Dan Hicks:
Miller: “It's like he's starring in the movie ‘The Winds of Maui’ and is trying to make it very dramatic.”
Hicks: “Well, he is a man comfortable in the leading role isn't he?”
Miller: “Yes, he sure is.”
When play was halted at 12:21 p.m. local time, Poulter checked his Twitter account to find many of his followers had informed him of the comment. However, rather than “fairly dramatic” or “very dramatic,” Poulter was led to believe he had been called a “drama queen,” which left him ballistic as he stormed through the locker room requesting to speak with Miller.
He tweeted shortly thereafter: “Johnny miller why don't you come interview me live and say that stuff straight to my face...... Was you watching a different channel.”
Adding to the miscommunication was that Poulter said he believed the comment came not while he was on the 11th green or 12th fairway, but the 10th tee box. It was there that he watched Matt Kuchar – playing in the group in front of him – have his ball blow off the tee during a gust of wind. Poulter informed PGA Tour rules official Jon Brendle that attempting to make a swing at a moving ball could cause injury for a player. Directly after the canceled round, he believed Miller’s comment was made in response to this situation.
Later, Poulter tweeted: 'Just watched coverage on
@golfchannel. Really sorry I took way to long on 11th.... Just trying to win a golf tournament. Trying to do my job'
Then, 'Oh thats was why i was taking a while. Ben Curtis had a 40ft putt then it blows 15ft off the green into the rough. Then 4 putts that hole.'
'Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. It's hilarious listening & watching the replay from earlier. Sorry for being dramatic... Hahahaha really.'
Poulter’s frustration may also have come from playing 10 holes so far this week in 2 over par, only to have the beginning of each round wiped from the books.
The tournament is scheduled to begin with 36 holes on Monday, followed by 18 more on Tuesday.