As the Americans were heading for a potentially historic beatdown of the Internationals in the Presidents Cup, Ian Poulter was going ballistic in international singles play across the pond at the British Masters.
Poulter, in the mix for his first win anywhere in almost five years, may have taken the 54-hole lead and headed into Sunday’s finale with a one-shot edge but for an unhappy circumstance on the par-3 fifth hole during Saturday’s third round. Seems some spectators’ clattery cell phones led to a double-bogey five for Poulter and the 12-time European Tour winner was rather unpleased with the situation.
“Seriously, what are we doing?” an angry Poulter wondered after posting a 2-under 68 that included a water shot on the hole in question and that the Englishman blamed on fans distracting him by taking photos with their mobile devices.
“We’ve allowed them all to take pictures and videos and we tell them to put them on silent and it doesn’t work. It just doesn’t work. It doesn’t work!” Poulter, who entered the final round tied with four others for second, just one stroke behind then-frontrunner Robert Karlsson, told reporters, according to multiple accounts. “You get distracted on the wrong hole at the wrong time and it’s extremely penal. It’s really f***ing annoying.”
Poulter did not call for the outright banning of cell phones during tournaments but pleaded with spectators to “educate themselves” and recognize how much the few scofflaws who don’t silence their mobiles distract players.
“Ninety nine per cent of them are on silent and unfortunately there’s a couple which are not,” he noted. “You’re not expecting it because you think they’ve got it on silent.”
Poulter, who said he would “continue to be angry until I wake up tomorrow morning,” later apologized for his expletive-laden outburst and conceded that he “should have backed off … that’s my bad.
Sorry about my F-Bomb on the 5th today... We allow all fans to take pictures and videos while we swing.. Just ask they are on silent.— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) September 30, 2017
“I really should be able to hit a shot with people taking photographs,” he said. “I should be able to focus better than that. A couple of guys didn't have their phones on silent, and just poor concentration, not committing to the shot.”
Heading into the stretch drive on Sunday, Poulter was at 2-under through 12, four shots off Paul Dunne’s lead and one shot back of Rory McIlroy, who is seeking his first win of the year.