After putting himself into contention heading after two rounds of the Open after five straight missed majors, Ian Poulter was in incredibly high spirits.
“I'm in a bonus week,” he said. “I qualified for the Open. I'm loving it. This is a massive bonus for me to be in this position. I haven't played a major for a little while. And I can't wait. I'm excited. I'm pumped up. I feel my game's coming back to form. I'm ready to go out there toe to toe with anyone this weekend.”
Two days on, however, the mood had changed. Poulter closed with rounds of 71 and 70 to finish T14 and ten shots behind winner Jordan Spieth, missing out on qualifying for the 2018 championship at Carnoustie in the process.
With the course there to attacked in favourable conditions – especially on Saturday as evidenced by Branden Grace’s history-making 62 – Poulter was left to rue a weekend performance he described as ‘horrific’.
“I can still perform with the best players in the world, but I haven’t showed that at all this weekend. There was no wind. The greens were soft on Saturday. I really should have taken advantage of the golf course and I didn't do that. It's disappointing.
“I expect more from myself than how I've performed this weekend. I’ve nothing to be happy about or proud about. I'm walking away from this tournament feeling extremely disappointed, from a great start.
“The first two days, it was amazing, right? But the weekend was horrific. So the two together unfortunately don't add up to a great result. I didn't grab an automatic spot for next year, so I'm disappointed. The fans were amazing. I wish I could have done more for the fans because they carried me around for four days. They were truly remarkable.”