Experts 2018: Ian Poulter' s taking pleasure in his new lease on Experts life

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson traversing Augusta National’s back nine together on Tuesday was surreal, the former enemies laughing and carrying about . But it may not have been the practice round’s most surprising sight. Enter Ian Poulter, who, on the 10th tee, was hamming it up with patrons, delivering his share of laughs and garnering shouts of encouragement and applause. The type of back-and-forth usually reserved for Fred Couples and Phil Mickelson. It’s not like he’s a recluse; conversely, if you know anything about Poulter, the scene seemed as plausible as Augusta National dying Rae’s Creek purple.

Golf has no true villains, conserve for ominous weather forecasts. Exactly what does exist are varying levels of passion. In America, Poulter is low upon that totem pole. A handful of unflattering fan relationships haven’t helped. Neither has his flamboyancy, in style plus being. Tell the truth, lot of this stems from the Ryder Cup, since his stout, resounding performances in the biennial event have been the bane of Team USA’s existence.

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Understandable then when word leaked out of Poulter’s Match Play Masters snafu — he had been told he previously qualified, only to discover moments prior to a pivotal match he had not— the news was draped in a bit of schadenfreude .

However , even though Poutler’s occasionally a pain, no one should get their passport to paradise grabbed. He wasn’t a crowd favorite within Houston— not when battling Tx native Beau Hossler— yet Poulter had a level of support he had not seen in these parts in, nicely, ever. When he knocked off Hossler in a playoff, overcoming the first-round 73 that left your pet in 123rd place, the reaction was universal: Game got to recognize game .

“It’ t been a rollercoaster ride, I’ ll be honest with you, ” Poulter said after his success.

So today, a year after temporarily losing his tour cards , he’s in the Masters.

“It’ s simply amazing to get that done and become here and to be able to enjoy this 7 days from a different perspective, ” Poulter said from Augusta on Wednesday afternoon.

Which usually brings us to a twilight stroll over the back nine, featuring a friendly relationship between Poulter and a host associated with patrons. True, Augusta National’s art galleries are well-behaved; you’re not going to observe any modicum of Phoenix Open up conduct here. But this was not etiquette, and the group following Poulter wasn’t comprised of British backers. These people knew the obstacles he’s hurled. His perseverance earned their ambiance.

Better still, Poulter reciprocated. Perhaps the 42-year-old was simply playing along. He is an unterhaltungskünstler: the chest pounds, the cartoon and adrenaline-fueled Ryder Cup actions, needling folks on Twitter. This individual knows the game.

Yet much been made about a gentler, gentler Tiger, his transformation through stoic terminator to one of the men. While it’s a stretch to say Poulter’s undergone the same turnaround, he significantly lowered those infamous walls close to him on Tuesday. And why don’t? It’s Masters week at Augusta National; there’s no room for enmity here.