Ian Poulter has opened up on the difficulties of commentating on, and not playing in, last year’s Open at Royal Troon.
The 41-year-old Englishman spent four months on the sidelines during the middle of last season with a foot injury, which also resulted in him being unable to compete in the Ryder Cup. Just days after revealing the extent of his injury, he was named one of Darren Clarke’s vice-captains.
And while he admitted he enjoyed being part of the Ryder Cup team, both that and being part of the Sky Sports’ team for the opening two rounds at Royal Troon was tough.
“I think that's one of the most difficult things I've done,” said Poulter, who continued his fine form from the Scottish Open to open with a three-under-par 67 at Royal Birkdale.
“The other difficult thing I've done is obviously not playing the Ryder Cup and being a vice-captain. The experience was amazing, but it was very, very hard. As someone that's played quite a few majors, I chose not to watch a lot of the golf because it was too disappointing to watch TV.
“I tried to spend more time with the kids and enjoy that time rather than sit there and have disappointment on my face. It's too easy to get down when you're not playing those big tournaments. And it's easy to get down when golf seems to be pretty difficult.”
Last year’s Open marked the second of five consecutive majors he missed either through injury or poor form and he conceded that the bad run did have a negative effect on him.
“I've definitely had some low spots in the last 18 months,” he admitted. “And certainly 12 months, I was getting very down. It's easy to be down when you feel you're a great player and all of a sudden you're hampered with a bit of injury. You're not getting the results you want. It's very easy to slide away.
“So I'm proud of the way I've been able to refocus, get things back on the straight and narrow, clear away some of the noise in the background, and get back to really focusing hard on what I need to do to get the level of golf back that I think I can play. And what’s happened makes it even more special to be back here today playing.”