Money or Legacy, episode three of Full Swing following on from 'Frenemies' and 'Win or Go Home', is Ian Poulter's episode. This piece will contain spoilers so stop reading now if you want to avoid them!
We were all excited to hear that Poulter, one of the most divisive, charistmatic and well known figures in the game, would be appearing on Netflix and this 40-minute episode follows him both on and off the course as he wrestles with the decision of choosing the money, ie LIV Golf, or the legacy, ie the PGA Tour and Ryder Cup.
Money or Legacy starts out very LIV heavy with footage of the series' debut event at the Centurion Club near London and quote after quote about LIV or the Saudis from journalists, TV broadcasts and players. Norman, Khashoggi, sportswashing, Mickelson - it's all mentioned.
Later on there's footage of those awkward press conferences where players were asked about human rights and Poulter and Westwood were asked if they'd play a tournament organised by Vladimir Putin. This is definitely the most in-your-face LIV episode yet and Poulter will hope that it explains why he eventually left for the Saudi-funded breakaway tour.
The fans are introduced to Poulter as the Ryder Cup legend, and he hilariously sums up his love for the event and what his role in it has been after being asked a very obvious question if he likes playing in the Ryder Cup.
"Do bears s*** in the woods? Oh dear do you like playing in the Ryder Cup? Oh my god is the pope catholic?"
"I've never lost in singles in the Ryder Cup, so I've inflicted a lot of pain on the Americans that watch Ryder Cup. Yeah I've been that pain in the arse guy."
"There does come a point in every person's career where they start thinking, can I keep up with all these young guys coming through?" - Henni Koyack
It sets the scene of where Poulter is in his career in 2022. He's a guy in his mid-to-late forties trying to compete against players up to 20 years younger than him, and you can see the frustration as he just can't quite get out of himself what he wants and perhaps once could.
The clip of him launching some clubs in the locker room that features in the Full Swing trailer comes in this episode, after his defeat to Matt Fitzpatrick in the WGC-Match Play is filmed and he ultimately realises that he won't be playing in The Masters.
"I watched Poults obviously do his thing at Medinah in 2012," Fitzpatrick said. "If you said to me 10 years ago "In 10 years' time you'll be playing against him and you'll beat him," I just wouldn't believe you to be honest."
The episode takes place between The Players Championship in March and past the PGA Championship in May so right when the LIV Golf rumors were ramping up. Poulter went out early in the Match Play, missed the Masters completely, missed the cut at the PGA Championship and tells the camera - "Working for free doesn't float my boat" as he weighs up a LIV Golf offer reported to be up to $30m.
The Englishman agonisingly misses the PGA Championship cut by a single stroke and it really, really hurts him. "One of the most painful things that can happen is missing cuts, it utterly infuriates you," he says.
"The best plus about missing the cut is you're going home to the family, you just don't want to miss the cut though. It's like, your job is not to waste time, be away from them for five days and not cover your expenses. It's like the ultimate worst feeling you can possibly have as a golfer. It's the worst feeling."
We see him fly back to England with his family and tee it up in the LIV opener where guaranteed money and just three days of competition, instead of four, awaits. It seems that, at this time in his career, maybe suits him better. "It's a business decision, it's an opportunity," he says with a smile, a very rare smile from Poulter in this episode, when asked if he is going to LIV.
Poulter the family man
We also get to see Poulter the family man, with his wife Katie and four children - two sons and two daughters - as they play some putting games on the private jet ride back to England. Before that he also goes with 18-year-old Luke to a tournament, with Luke looking set for a bright future in the game.
"He's doing what's best for our family," Luke said of his dad's decision to join LIV. "I'm here for whatever he wants to do."
Poulter hammers home that it's a family decision, revealing he has "been away for over 50% of their growth, missing birthdays, walking, talking, first steps."
But all while we see his family, his incredible homes in both Orlando and England, and his huge wealth, Poulter clearly was wrestling with the toughest decision of his life and the prospect of losing his legacy and place in the Ryder Cup, with a future captaincy, perhaps at New York 2025, guaranteed.
"The fact of there being guaranteed money at play is obviously an attraction. People ask all the time 'don't you have enough already?' but that's all relative," he says. "I treat my golf as a job and I obviously want to maximise every bit of my potential over the coming years. I'm 46 years old, I'm not getting any younger.
"There's so many deciding factors in all of this. I love the Ryder Cup and if one day I get the opportunity to become Ryder Cup captain I would absolutely love it. If you do play for LIV, would it be a factor in not being able to be a captain down the road? It would be devastating if it was taken away, that would be really disappointing."
When it came to the decision between money or legacy, Ian Poulter chose money, but maybe this episode explained why.
Full Swing Season 1 Episode 3: Money Or Legacy
- Episode length: 39 minutes
- Synopsis: Ian Poulter debates whether a lucrative LIV Golf contract is worth giving up his PGA Tour card - and facing the public scrutiny of his decision.
- Main cast: Ian Poulter, Luke Poulter, Katie Poulter
- Tournaments featured: The Players Championship, WGC-Match Play, PGA Championship
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Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TSR4
3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL
Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
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