SAN DIEGO — According to a USGA official walking with Ian Poulter’s group, “no reason was given” for his withdrawal after 15 holes of the second round. Poulter had just missed a six-foot par putt and a six-incher that he backhanded before tapping in for a double bogey. At that point, he was seven over for the day and 14 over for the championship.
Poulter cut across to the 18th hole and walked down the fairway to the locker room, leaving his playing partners and fellow Englishmen, Paul Casey and Luke Donald, to finish as a twosome.
“Poults had some issues with his right wrist and you could tell something was wrong because he just wasn’t compressing the ball, and the length of his drives weren’t up to his usual standards,” Casey said. “And he got tangled up in the rough a few times today. He apologized and said: ‘For the best of my health, I’m going to have to go in.'”
Donald said that before he and Casey headed to the 16th tee, Poulter said: “I’m off, goodbye, good luck.” But Donald said he had no idea why Poulter had quit.
The beginning of the end for Poulter may have come on the 504-yard, par-4 12th hole. Poulter was even par through his first 11 holes before his drive found the right rough at No. 12. Standing over his ball with a wedge in hand, he took a practice swing and moved about a pound of turf. The wheels in Poulter’s head turned, but finally he addressed the ball, made a lashing swing and watched his shot squirt five feet forward and 10 feet left, landing in the first cut of rough.
That was it. Enough. Poulter took two steps, raised his club like an axe and brought it down head-first into the moist rough. He took a few steps toward his bag, and with the shaft still quivering in the ground, he spun around and presented his right middle finger to the divot he’d created.
After a moment, Poulter hit his third shot with a hybrid. The shot landed short and right of the green. From there, he pitched the ball across the green, three putted, tipped his visor to the crowd and walked away with a triple bogey.
Decked out in pink checked pants, matching pink shoes and a pink shirt, Poulter parred the 13th but double-bogeyed the 14th and 15th holes before withdrawing.