Ian Poulter has accepted an offer from the European Tour to play at the BMW PGA Championship later this month after what he called a “miserable 18 months”.
The 41-year-old Englishman, who finished runner-up at the Players Championship last week, will take part in the flagship event at Wentworth, starting on May 25 and tweeted his appreciation.
Poulter’s career was at crisis point recently after he slipped from a career-high of fifth in the world to 197th following a foot injury and just three weeks ago had seemingly lost his PGA Tour card until fellow professional Brian Gay alerted officials to a discrepancy in the points structure used for players competing on major medical extensions.
He was given a reprieve until the end of the season and made the most of it at Sawgrass, finishing three shots behind champion Kim Si-woo to post his best finish since November 2014.
“I was swimming at the bottom of an empty pool for a little while,” Poulter told The Guardian. “So it is nice to see it fill it up again and feel like I’m not touching the bottom. This feels like a victory.”
“It has been miserable. There’s no other way to explain it. When you take an injury break for several months your world ranking plummets. I missed a Ryder Cup. I was having to chase to keep my Tour card. There is some other nonsense going on, which we are still working through. It has been really hard. But we’re getting there and this has been a big week for me.”
Poulter acknowledged that he might not try to qualify for the US Open stating he doesn’t need the stress of playing a qualifier after a “miserable 18 months” as he looks to get back to his best.
“I’ve been needing something like this. You can’t keep finishing 11th, 15th and 20th and walk away thinking: ‘That was good.’ Because it’s not. It’s miserable. I expect better.
“I knew I was playing better than that but it would have sounded stupid if I had been telling you guys I was playing great. I never doubted I could get back to this level. I knew it was in me but I was getting more and more anxious because it wasn’t happening.”