Ian Poulter went 'beyond' to make up for PGA Tour violation

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Ian Poulter was one of the first players to violate the PGA Tour's tournament rule last season, but went 'beyond what we would consider an acceptable make-good' to make-up for it.

Having fallen short of the required quota of 25 tournaments set by the PGA Tour last season, Ian Poulter was required to go to a tournament he hadn't played in four years. He violated that rule, but as Doug Ferguson from the Associated Press reports, he made up for it in more ways than one. 

Poulter knew early on that he wasn't going to make the required number of tournaments. His first tournament victory since 2012 came at the Houston Open, which made him suddenly eligible for the Masters and put him in the mix for the Ryder Cup, leading to a change in schedule for the Englishman. So after the Masters, he sought out Tour officials to ask them how he could fulfill the obligation. 

“I told them, ‘How do you want to go about it?’ I’m going to be the first person, and it’s going to be sensitive,” Poulter said. “I want to give something back so I can fulfill an obligation.”

The Tour guidelines suggest the violation would be deemed a 'major penalty' and fall under a fine of at least $20,000 and/or suspension, but Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has the final say - and none of these decisions are made known to the public. And it seems Poulter's punishment was a little more inventive than a fine or event suspension. 

Poulter told the Tour he would add two tournaments he hadn't played in four years to his schedule this season, which is why he appeared at the winners-only Sentry Tournament of Champions last week and is also teeing up at the Sony Open.

"That would tick two boxes," he said.

But the second way he made up for his violation was the most imaginative. 

According to the report, Poulter then offered a day with tournament guests. Given that The Wyndham Championship was the one he would have played in normal circumstances if not for the Ryder Cup, he asked them to select who they wanted to come to Flordia.

He then treated those eight tournament guests for a round of golf at his home club in Florida, lunch and a tour of the house where he keeps his Ferraris and Ryder Cup memorabilia.

"I would say it was beyond what we would consider an acceptable make-good," said Andy Pazder, the tour's chief officer of tournaments and competitions. "To do what he did ... was just terrific."

"We had a great time," Poulter said. "I played nine holes with each group, we had a bite to eat, and a few of the guys wanted to see the car museum and my Ryder Cup office-homage. I took them through that." (click here to read more)

But he wasn't the only player to miss the required number of tournaments last year without adding a new tournament.

It was widely publicised that some form of punishment was headed the way of Jordan Spieth after he missed his quota by one when he failed to qualify for the Tour Championship, and hadn't added a new tournament to his schedule.

His agreement was also unknown, but he did play in both the the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and the Mayakoba Golf Classic for the first time at the end of 2018. Spieth, like Poulter, is also appearing in the Sony Open this week.