A month ago Ian Poulter thought he lost his PGA Tour card.
Brian Gay figured out that there was a miscalculation at Tour Headquarters and suddenly Poulter was a free man, or an exempt man.
The miscalculation restored Poulter’s card, got him in The Players and on Sunday, he finished a week-long run that earned him $1,027,000 thanks to his second place tie with Louis Oosthuizen.
Poulter was the only player who mounted any kind of challenge to 2017 winner Si Woo Kim.
While overnight leaders Kyle Stanley and J.B. Holmes were flubbing their way out of contention, it was Kim who was the steadiest player in the field. He made just one bogey over the final 36 holes and that came at the 16th hole on Saturday.
Kim came out with a hot putter on the front nine. He birdied the first hole from 17 feet, the seventh from 25 feet and the ninth from 18 feet to get to 10-under and at that point he took charge of the tournament.
Stanley bowed out with a 38 on the front and would shoot 75 while the other overnight leader, J.B. Holmes shot 40 on the front then 44 coming home for an 84 that dropped him from a tie for first to 41st.
Kim then put it into “steady” on the back nine with nine straight pars to seal the second and biggest win of his PGA Tour career.
Poulter worked his way to nine-under par and was within a shot of Kim until he bogeyed the 12th hole. He didn’t make another birdie, paving the way for Kim’s march to victory.
Poulter saved himself some huge money with one of the best recovery shots of the day. After shanking his second at the 18th into an unplayable lie, his fourth nearly found the hole and he saved bogey to salvage a tie for second with Louis Oosthuizen.
Both finished seven-under. Poulter closed with 71, Oosthuizen 73.
“The last month’s been extremely stressful,” Poulter said after his day was finished. But he didn’t linger on himself. “Congrats,” he said, “to a fine young player,” as he acknowledged winner Si Woo Kim.