European stalwart Ian Poulter revealed he over-ate due to the constant abuse he received following his switch to Saudi-backed breakaway series LIV Golf
Poulter became one of the marquee names to join the Saudi-funded breakaway series in June, along with the likes of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka. Those who made the Saudi switch found themselves facing a heavy backlash from LIV’s critics.
Due to being one of the sport’s most recognisable faces, Poulter was hit with more criticism than most – especially after seemingly giving up his glittering European Ryder Cup legacy.
Eight months on from signing on the dotted line with Greg Norman and co, Poulter – alongside his fellow LIV stars – kicked off his second season earlier this week. And ahead of his opening three-under-par 68 and LIV Mayakoba, Poulter opened up on how he dealt with the abuse coming his way.
He told the Telegraph : “Those sarnies, covered in HP sauce, on a daily basis, were great, delicious, as was all the chocolate and everything, but I was feeling awful, slovenly, and it was plainly not a good situation. I would never admit that I was stress-eating, but who knows the way the mind works.
“I was getting ridiculous abuse and, in that sense, they were tough times.” Poulter has since embarked on a much stricter diet, revealing: “I am doing it more seriously than ever. I’ve impressed myself with how strict I’ve been, especially when the kids are opening a bar of Cadbury. ‘You’re killing me!’ I tell them. I love curries, but now I just have a chicken tikka and am sparing with the sauce.”
Poulter had previously described his controversial move as a ‘business decision’, with the chance to compete for the Saudi-funded mega-money on offer clearly too hard to turn down.
Revealing the move was one he had to take for his family, the 46-year-old went on: “I don’t just think of my kids, but their kids and their kids and that is what I work for. Delving further into the abuse, Poulter added: “People might have their objections. I’m not sure I get it, but fair enough.
“Yet I don’t understand why they take it so far…” The 12-time DP World Tour champion is of course best known for his efforts competing in the blue and gold of Team Europe in the Ryder Cup. Poulter has been pivotal in his continent’s recent successes, but his European career may well be over following his Saudi switch.
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Despite being a European mainstay, the Englishman has admitted he now feels ‘unwelcome’. “The Ryder Cup, seriously? Do I have to prove that I care?,” he commented. “In those eight weeks [of the Ryder Cups in which I have played] I have given everything I’ve got.
“The pictures show it. Blood, sweat and tears, I wasn’t acting. I was a wreck for a few weeks after each one of those matches. I loved every second, but now I’m in the situation where I feel unwelcome. Just because I put my family first?”