Why Was Ian Poulter Running To Finish At The Players Championship?

Interested golf fans may have been a bit confused last night when they tuned into the Players Championship and saw the morning wave of golfers still on the course and marquee names like Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas teeing off around 6 p.m. EST.

If that wasn’t a head-scratcher, watching Ian Poulter literally break into a jog after hitting it close on the famous island green 17th green certainly was. What was he doing? Why was he running? What was the point?

Poulter, who played alongside Pat Perez and Jhonattan Vegas, teed off at 9:35 a.m., but after a 4-hour weather delay, the group was fighting daylight ā€” and an early-morning wake-up call.

  • The Tour rules stipulate that once play is suspended due to darkness, a group has the opportunity, should they so choose, to complete the hole they are on.

Poulter hustled up to his 3’7″ birdie putt on 17, brushed it in for birdie and then scooted over to the 18th tee box while his playing partners finished out the 17th hole. Once one player in a group tees off on a hole, the group is deemed to have started said hole, meaning Poulter’s ball in play on the 18th allowed the threesome to complete the hole instead of coming back on Friday morning.

While daylight was waning, the threesome finished out ā€” a combined 2-under par on the final two holes ā€” and secured a Friday morning without an alarm.

“That was great,” Perez said afterward. “Now I get to do nothing tomorrow.ā€

Where does The Players Championship stand?

Only three players from Thursday’s morning wave failed to complete their first round on Thursday, while 12 players from the afternoon wave didn’t even begin their rounds. Play resumed from TPC Sawgrass on Friday morning at 7:15 a.m. EST.

With more weather expected to interrupt play, the Tour is already bracing for a Monday finish. Thunderstorms are expected to roll into northern Florida mid-morning and drop significant rainfall on an already-saturated course through most of the afternoon before a break in the evening.

The weekend’s forecast looks drier albeit much cooler. The storms are expected to move out of the area by midday Saturday, leaving behind some strong winds and temperatures dropping with highs in the 50sĀ°F.