It’s unsurprising how often the social media firing squad takes aim at Ian Poulter, given how much ammunition he provides them. After all, nothing raises the hackles of Have-Nots quite like Have-Yachts exhibiting pride in the trappings of their success, and Poulter isn’t bashful about showing off his Ferrari collection or private jet.
He’s thin-skinned, prone to engaging Twitter warriors. There’s the braggadocio, too. A decade ago he famously declared that someday it would be just “me and Tiger” at the top, and you know he probably believed the same thing way back when he won his first event, the Open de Cote d’Ivoire on the European Challenge Tour.
Like his eponymous, now-defunct fashion line, he is loud and brash.
By lunchtime Friday at the Players Championship, the normally fearsome TPC Sawgrass was looking almost toothless, with the scoring average hovering around 71 and the cut likely to fall under par for only the third time in the last 20 years.
The low scoring has surprised a lot of veterans who have endured tougher times at this Pete Dye brute, not least two-time winner Tiger Woods.
“It’s in perfect shape, it’s just playing really short. It’s so hot out here, the ball’s flying. We’re probably playing close to a club less than we normally do,” he said after a second round 71. “The cut right now is under par, which is unheard of around here.”
The course may be playing relatively easy for the best, but how about for the rest?
Two themes surface when you mention Jodie Mudd to guys who played the PGA Tour back then.
“Jodie used to have a gorgeous golf swing. He made the game look so simple.”
“I’m not sure anyone was really close to him.”
“Funny how you remember things about someone. He had a huge forward press as he started his swing. Then he just flushed it.”
“He was a quiet man.”
This week is when Mudd makes his annual appearance on Tour, albeit only as a ghostly figure on Players Championship highlight reels. It’s been 28 years since he won and almost that long since he walked away from the game.