Ian Poulter knew what he’d be gaining, losing with LIV | ‘Full Swing’ Ep. 3 recap

Ian Poulter

Ian Poulter last year in the locker room at the WGC-Match Play.


The long-anticipated Netflix series “Full Swing” hit streaming devices on Feb. 15 with eight episodes featuring a dozen stars who brought us inside their homes and lives on tour in 2022. So, what did you miss? And what do you need to know? Here, we’ll break down every episode.

Read all of our episode recaps here: Ep. 1 | Ep. 2 | Ep. 3 | Ep. 4 | Ep. 5 | Ep. 6 | Ep. 7 | Ep. 8


Episode 3 of “Full Swing” — “Money or Legacy” — features just Ian Poulter, but it introduces LIV Golf, and it focuses almost exclusively on the decision Poulter faced last year, between signing on with the Saudi-backed series, or staying with golf’s established brands and potentially building upon Ryder Cup successes. 

Where LIV stood early last year — the rival golf league is coming, it will be fronted by Greg Norman, big money is being offered to players to join, Poulter could be one of them — starts the episode, then it digs into Poulter. He’s painted as a personality. (“My name is Ian Poulter and my profession is a wannabe golfer,” he says early on.) He’s touted as a Ryder Cup legend. (At one point, a narrator asks him: “Do you love playing in the Ryder Cup?” — to which he responds: “Do bears s**t in the woods? Ah, dear, do I love playing in the Ryder Cup? Oh, my god, is the pope Catholic?”) 

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And that name recognition is why he’d be attractive to LIV. The episode, though, spends most of its time looking at the other side: What would make Poulter want to leave, a move that would both ban him from the PGA Tour and potentially cost him future Ryder Cup spots, as both a player and a captain. The episode centers on Poulter’s play at the time — it shows him missing cuts at the Players Championship and PGA Championship, and failing to advance out of pool play at the WGC-Match Play — and his family. 

With LIV, the money is also guaranteed. 

“My whole life is about trying to work hard and provide,” Poulter says. “I’m sure LIV had offers out there to numerous people. The fact of there being guaranteed money at play is obviously an attraction. People ask all the time — don’t you have enough already? But that’s all relative. I treat my golf as a job, and I want to obviously maximize every bit of my potential over the coming years. And I’m 46 years old; I’m not getting any younger. There’s so many deciding factors in all this. I love the Ryder Cup, and if one day I get the opportunity to be Ryder Cup captain, I would absolutely love it. If you do play for LIV, would it be a factor in not being able to be a captain down the road? It would be devastating if it were taken away. That would be really disappointing.”

What golf fans might have learned 

There are a few things. We know Poulter runs passionate, but seeing him toss a couple of what appears to be alignment sticks in the locker room after a tournament-ending loss at the Match Play is nonetheless surprising. There is also a conversation between Poulter and Pat Perez where they knew the social media followings of a few of the top pros. Brand is maybe more important than we know, it appears.  

But let’s go with that, yes, even Poulter’s family thinks his style is — well, we’ll let his daughter answer that. 

“How does daddy dress on the golf course? Be nice.” Poulter asks his younger daughter, Lilly Mai. 

“Funky, I guess you could say,” she says. 

What non-golf fans might have learned

Cuts are the worst. Poulter missed the weekend at last year’s PGA Championship and describes it this way:

“I mean, missing the cut by a shot is the worst scenario — you’d rather miss by five and know that you just haven’t played good enough, so missing by one shot, realizing that poor shot here or or poor chip or a short putt missed, anything like that, is just going to infuriate you even more. 

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“Best plus about missing the cut is you go home to family. You just don’t want to miss the cut. It’s like your job is not to waste time. You’re away from them for five days and not cover your expenses — it’s like the ultimate worst feeling you can possibly have as a golfer. It’s the worst feeling.”

Non-golf fans now know a big reason why Poulter and others eventually jumped to LIV: No cuts. They’ll get paid, no matter what.  

3 random thoughts 

1. When did Poulter decide to join LIV? It’s not entirely clear. Was it early on? Last March, at the Players Championship, Poulter says he knew of the consequences. Was it after he failed to qualify for the Masters, in April? The episode shows him being reflective on a return to England, his native country. Was it around the PGA Championship, in May? Matt Fitzpatrick is shown at Southern Hills (correctly) wondering if Poulter and Sergio Garcia were LIV bound. Or was it after the PGA? The episode shows Poulter back in England, and this exchange is had:    

Narrator: “Straight up, are you going to LIV?”

Poulter: “‘Straight up, are you going to LIV?’ Um, it’s a business decision. It’s an opportunity, so we’ll see.”

He then turns to the camera and smiles. 

2. Dustin Johnson calls his wife, Paulina … mama? 

At the PGA Championship, Johnson, Poulter and Perez have this conversation about, we think, the F1 race on May 8 in Miami:

Perez to Poulter: “What’s up? How are you?”

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Johnson to Poulter: “Poults? Did you go to the race?”

Poulter: “Yeah, I was there Friday, Saturday and Sunday.” 

Johnson: “I was supposed to come down, but …”

Poulter: “Didn’t get asked?”

Johnson: “No, mama, didn’t want to go, so … I wouldn’t leave her. It was Mother’s Day. So it’s tough.” 

Perez: “That’s also true.” 

Poulter: “Not my mom.” 

Perez: “That’s what everyone says.” 

Poulter: “I sent my mom a card.” 

3. Poulter travels in style. In the episode, he flies to every event in a private jet.  

1 thing you might have missed 

Poulter has a walk-in closet — with dozens and dozens of his signature tartan pants. 

He was talking to his youngest son, Joshua, and packing for the PGA Championship, so you may have missed the collection in the background.  

Best quote 

It’s the lyrics from the background song when it’s revealed that Poulter would play in the first LIV event. Its name?

“Big bag of money,” by G-Eyez. 

Final takeaway

Money or legacy?

Poulter chose money. 

It remains to be seen what his legacy will be. 

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.