Brandel Chamblee: Ian Poulter ‘clearly did not play to win’ Players

Ian Poulter received a nice paycheck, but was he playing to win? Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee says that’s debatable.

Poulter shot a final-round 71 and bogeyed the 18th hole on Sunday at the Players Championship, finishing in a tie for second with Louis Oosthuizen. Poulter lost by three to 21-year-old winner Si Woo Kim, who shot 69 and didn’t make a bogey all day while playing in the group behind the 41-year-old Englishman.

But Chamblee, speaking on Golf Channel’s “Live from the Players” Sunday night, took issue with how Poulter played some of the closing holes.

Chamblee first criticized the wedge Poulter hit into the par-5 16th, calling it “the worst shot of the day,” before he discussed Poulter’s approach on the par-3 17th island green, which had its pin tucked in the front right. Poulter played a safe shot to the middle of the green.

“Look where he’s lining up (on 17),” Chamblee said. “He’s lining up in the middle of the green. The person he is trying to beat is playing a par-5 behind him, and he’s got two shots to make up, and he plays to the middle of the green. It’s a fine shot, didn’t cost himself any money, didn’t cost him any world ranking points, but he clearly did not play to win—and he didn’t.

TOUR CONFIDENTIAL: Kim’s win, Chamblee vs. Poulter and more

“Money matters, world ranking points matter, and I get it,” Chamblee said. “I have hit that shot. I have done that. I have done exactly what Ian Poulter did. No one is ever going to call me a good player. We reserve the right to call great players and great shots. This is why we don’t laud (Poulter’s shot). We laud the shot David Duval hit, the shots that Tiger Woods hit. That’s why we laud those, that’s why we stand up and go ‘Well done, great shot.’ (Poulter’s shot), was not that.”

Poulter hit his tee shot to 34 feet and two-putted for par on 17. On 18, Poulter hit what he called a “nightmare shank,” before he recovered nicely to make a bogey. But his one-over back nine wasn’t enough. He was also second at the Players in 2009.

Chamblee added one final thought on Poulter, who earned $924,000 Sunday.

“If his belief in himself was greater than his talent, then he would have stabbed that in there at 16 and taken on the pin at 17,” Chamblee said.

Poulter, who just a few weeks ago was unsure of his Tour status, responded to Chamblee’s comments later Sunday night. Poulter also tweeted a photo that shows Chamblee blocks him on Twitter, but, as Chamblee says below, he blocked Poulter long before Sunday night. (Chamblee also discussed Poulter and other pros’ social media use in a GOLF Magazine column in 2013.) Chamblee talks about Poulter about two minutes into the video below.

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