Ian Poulter wants it known The Open crowds are laying off the boos

Ian Poulter would like to make it clear that no one has booed him at St Andrews. Well, no, that is not quite right. If we are being scrupulous about it, Poulter would like to make it clear that only one person, “some young guy”, has booed him at St Andrews and it was just bad luck that he happened to be standing “a hundred yards down the 1st where there’s conveniently a microphone positioned halfway down the stand” so that it ended up being broadcast on TV. That was it. One boo. Singular. And anything else you have heard and read about his reception on the Old Course is just lazy journalism.

And Poulter does want the media to be scrupulous, that matters to him very much, as he explained at great length when he was asked a gentle question about whether he had enjoyed the amount of support he’d had from the crowd during his third round given what happened the other day.

“Are we still talking about that?” Poulter asked, because on the other 17 holes he played in that round “there was not one comment. There was not one boo. If you guys continue to write that there’s negative comments and there’s boos, then unfortunately that’s not a true reflection of exactly what happened.”

Poulter even gave specific directions for how to write this report you are reading now. The Observer should, he said, “actually write the truth”. He was even good enough to explain what that “truth” ought to be. “We’re getting quite a lot of support out there on the golf course” and “it would be nice, it would be a fair reflection of what’s happening” if that is what appeared here “rather than this continual press of ‘let’s head down the path of players being booed who have joined the LIV tour’. Let’s just say that, right? Fair, respectful, honest journalism would be great because it would be the truth.”

So, in the interests of Poultlitzer’s “fair, respectful, honest” journalism, the Observer can report that during his round on Saturday there were no boos, jeers, hoots, or whistles, and the only shouts as he walked down the first fairway were a couple of encouraging cries of “C’mon Poults!” which he acknowledged with a quick thumbs up. He is as exactly as popular with the crowd as he ever was. Not, of course, that he will notice how we report it here. Because as Poulter (and every LIV golfer competing here at The Open this week) says he is not paying any attention to any of the coverage he was now ranting about.

“The reception I’ve had has been remarkable, to be honest,” Poulter continued, “I’ve enjoyed every part of it. It’s been great not to read any rubbish in the press this week.” Apparently he’s simply worked out everything he needs to know about the kind of coverage he imagines he has been receiving from listening to the questions that have been put to him.

He says this will be his last Open at St Andrews, that he is “here to enjoy myself” and he has done. Despite all the unfair, disrespectful, and dishonest stuff in the press. Which he definitely has not read.

Presumably that also means Poulter has not even seen any of the coverage generated by all the many press releases sent out to journalists by the cryptocurrency firm who are paying him to wear a branded hat this week, or by the “wacky” and “cool” video “content” they distributed in which he explains that “just like golf the world of crypto keeps evolving”. Indeed it is, with a Saudi-funded rebel tour featuring shotgun starts, 54-hole finishes, and a lot of crocked golfers picking up fat pay cheques wherever they finish.

Poulter says he is thrilled to be teaming up with a firm who “are changing the future of crypto”. Presumably he is thrilled, too, to be teaming up with the Saudi regime as they “change the future” of his sport. And given what they’re paying, who would not be?

He has, after all, only made a mere £27m in winnings on his career on the European Tour, plus what he has brought in through his sponsorships, of course, while he has been playing on the stage they provided him with. The crypto people, for instance, say they also paid for him to wear branded trousers on the first day, although apparently not the strikingly ugly pair he was in on Saturday, which, you guess, he chose all by himself.

Here we are then, being lectured on morals and standards by a man in luminous blue check slacks and a crypto-branded hat who is being paid to play golf by the regime who murdered Jamal Khashoggi. Maybe Poulter would appreciate some “fair, respectful, honest” journalism about human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia , too, or the amateur investors who have lost all their money on the crypto markets after being gulled into investing in it .

Or maybe he’s just going to shut out the coverage of all those inconvenient truths too.

Poulter has also played some golf. And he’s done it pretty well, at that. He followed his rounds of 69 and 72 with a third of 70, which left him five-under for the championship. He said he was disappointed with it. “But nevertheless I’ll enjoy tomorrow. My kids will be here to watch. And it will be wonderful.” Well, yes, they do say ignorance is bliss.