Ian Poulter’s One Coin Penalty



You would not want Ian Poulter in the slips. Nevertheless, dropping your ball on a marker is no way to lose a tournament. That fate befell Poulter in the most cruel of circumstances in the play-off for the Dubai World Championship.

As soon as the commentators began explaining what had happened the Mole began to dread the media backlash? Especially because it was an English player that lost out.

Poulter not being able to hang onto his ball cost him about R3.5 million, and for those of you that missed it Ian Poulter explained what happened at the second playoff hole, Ian Poulter was handed the ball back and went to mark it and it literally slipped three inches above the coin. It dropped on the edge and the coin flipped over and that’s a penalty.”

Poulter then called a ref over and was given a one-shot penalty even he has wonderful skills and best golf clubs.

Now of course people are going to say he was distracted because of the penalty but the fact of the matter is that he missed the putt and lost the tournament by two shots after a ONE-shot penalty.

To everyone who is blaming the penalty for him missing the putt, there is an equally strong argument that says he had a better chance of sticking the putt because there was absolutely no pressure.

But that is besides the point, he needed to sink that putt to make any discussion over what the penalty cost him valid with his golf clubs.

Coins are routinely tossed to determine the winner of fencing duels after extra time and in 1968 eventual champions Italy progressed to the final of the European Football Championships via the same route after drawing with the Soviet Union in the semi-final. In those examples the coin is the consensual arbiter.

This was entirely accidental. The outcome was savage and will appear to some as evidence of over regulation. Surely it is not beyond the wit of the game to distinguish between a deliberate act and a chance event? In this case undoubtedly, but not always.

The rule ultimately serves the interests of the game since it protects against cheating. Fair play is the sacred principal that makes golf what it is.

The good grace with which Poulter accepted his fate, despite the profound disappointment he was feeling, showed a tacit understanding of the greater good served by his misfortune.


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