'Over The Edge' - Poulter On Brutal Bay Hill Setup

The Ryder Cup star struggled both mentally and physically at the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Ian Poulter struggled at Bay Hill during the Arnold Palmer Invitational
(Image credit: Getty Images)

 

Ian Poulter felt the greens at the Arnold Palmer Invitational were “over the edge” but still called Bay Hill an “amazing course” after struggling in his final three rounds. The Ryder Cup star compared the setup to a US Open, finishing tied 42nd on 5-over after shooting 75, 75, 77 in his final three rounds having been up with the leaders after an opening four-under-par 68.

Poulter was shocked at having to try to land the ball short of greens on a non links golf course. He said: “[The greens] were an incredibly pure surface that got baked. No moisture to hold friction to slow the ball down. They were over the edge.”

While the firm greens, deep rough and strong breeze made Bay Hill tough physically, Poulter felt the course was just as big a test mentally.  “That was a serious test of mind games,” he said. “You needed more than a golf game this week. Amazing course that was on the limit. US Open at Bay Hill.”

Poulter wasn’t the only player to struggle at Bay Hill over the weekend. Rory McIlroy, who led after a first round 65, shot back-to-back 76s to finish tied 13th on 1-over-par, and said he felt “punch drunk” and compared the weekend to “crazy golf”.

While Poulter struggled his way around the idyllic Florida course last week, his thoughts were back in Europe and with the people affected by the conflict in Ukraine. On Friday, Poulter wore a blue polo shirt and yellow trousers, the colours of the Ukrainian flag, and gave his support to the Ukrainian people, tweeting, “Thoughts and prayers to those in Ukraine, paying my respects from here at Arnie’s place,” along with the hashtag #PrayForUkraine.

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Last week, fellow English Ryder Cup star Matt Fitzpatrick told how discussing the war with an ex-girlfriend from Ukraine had caused him to reconsider his priorities and given him new perspective on how much importance he places on winning golf tournaments.

Jeff Kimber
Jeff Kimber

Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!