LIV Golf's Ian Poulter has come under fire from a number of his own followers this weekend following his response to DP World Tour pro David Howell about two young golf fans at the Australian PGA Championship.
Howell, who missed the cut on 2-over par at Royal Queensland, tweeted about his experience in meeting two avid Cameron Smith fans and brothers by the name of Randy and Will Harris while on the practice range earlier this week.
Both Randy and Will were driven three hours to attend the tournament and watch their hero Smith, who eventually went on to seal an emotional third Australian PGA victory.
It marked the first week where Smith has played in a competitive tournament away from LIV Golf, the Saudi-bankrolled circuit he joined after winning The Open in July.
Smith played in his final PGA Tour event at the Tour Championship at the end of August before jumping ship.
The tournament was co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour and the PGA of Australasia, and as a result of the latter, Smith featured heavily in pre-tournament posters, trailers and television coverage (which has not always been the case for LIV Golf players competing on the DP World Tour this year).
I was just chatting with Willy and his mate on the range, in fact they filmed my swing for me, nice kid, great to see kids out enjoying the golf. And Willy, if your listening, to be clear, I wasn’t suggesting you leave school at 16, i just happened to say that’s what i did, https://t.co/HXCn3vsWfk— David howell (@davidhowell530) November 26, 2022
"I was just chatting with Willy and his mate on the range, in fact they filmed my swing for me, nice kid, great to see kids out enjoying the golf," tweeted Howell, in response to freelance sports reporter Jim Tucker's tweet.
"And Willy, if your listening, to be clear, I wasn’t suggesting you leave school at 16, i just happened to say that’s what i did."
Poulter (who was sat on the couch this week) then chimed in, firing multiple shots at the DP World Tour (and the PGA Tour).
How awesome is.. These kids can watch their favorite golfers play on home soil without being shammed, cast aside, dumped out of the TV draw, or disgraced in the Media. None of these kids care what TOURS he plays on. They just want to watch them play golf..— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) November 26, 2022
"How awesome is.. These kids can watch their favorite golfers play on home soil without being shammed [sic], cast aside, dumped out of the TV draw, or disgraced in the Media. None of these kids care what TOURS he plays on. They just want to watch them play golf."
To add some context to Poulter's tweet, the Englishman recently spoke about how he is "being treated differently" when he competes on the DP World Tour now that he is also a LIV Golf player.
Poulter has also claimed he is being denied access to his own media footage, something that allegedly the DP World Tour has previously had no issue with.
Where Poulter speaks about being "dumped out" the TV draw, the DP World Tour has ruled out LIV Golf players from the main featured groups in the opening rounds on Sky Sports Golf. This was particularly evident when Poulter was on "home soil" himself at the BMW PGA Championship in September, and he did not feature in any of the lead three-balls during the TV coverage.
Poulter was initially banned from three co-sanctioned PGA Tour events earlier this season, one of which was the Genesis Scottish Open. But he quickly took legal action to force his way into the tournament at The Renaissance Club before the landmark 150th Open Championship.
LIV Golf players with DP World Tour membership must wait until February 2023 for the next hearing to learn whether or not they can continue teeing it up on the former European Tour circuit.
Poulter, along with all other LIV Golf players, remains banned by the PGA Tour. Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour commissioner, has made it clear LIV Golf players who continue to hold membership are not welcome back on the circuit anytime soon.
Despite being heavily against the LIV Golf Tour from the outset, McIlroy has mellowed somewhat in his response and now believes "compromise" is needed in order for the sport to move forwards.
McIlroy does believe, though, that Norman needs to be axed from his role.
Anyway, back to Poulter, and here's what a number of golf fans made of his tweet:
And you’re confident that he’d be their favorite player (or even heard of him) if he hadn’t made his name on the PGA Tour first?— Jimmy Swing (@SwingsThoughts) November 26, 2022
He like you took the dollar and paid thd price. Give the money back and then you might have an argument— Mark Nickson (@Charlienicko11) November 27, 2022
Ian- stop crying…you’ve taken the big Saudi money to play nothing meaningless golf … and keep telling us it’s in the name of growing the game, playing team golf, fans experience / whatever this weeks reason is…your there for the cash simple as. People used to love your honesty— Michael Robinson (@mike_robo4) November 26, 2022
Broken record Ian— Laurie Reid (@Laurie_Reid1) November 26, 2022
Talk about molding a tweet to suit your propoganda.— John Green (@greenj72) November 26, 2022
After seeing the comments fired at Poulter, Howell, a winner of five tournaments on the DP World Tour, could not help but have some fun with his reply.
Interesting thread, couple of miss conceptions however, firstly Willy told me that I was his favourite golfer, and he couldn’t quite believe he got to spend some time with me on the range, and secondly, Willy is fuming that Cam has copied his hairstyle, so no longer supports him https://t.co/eK4WKxi0fr— David howell (@davidhowell530) November 26, 2022
Howell, 47, tweeted; "Interesting thread, couple of miss conceptions however, firstly Willy told me that I was his favourite golfer, and he couldn’t quite believe he got to spend some time with me on the range, and secondly, Willy is fuming that Cam has copied his hairstyle, so no longer supports him."
Smith went on to win his third career Australian PGA Championship since 2017, and his fifth title of the year on Sunday.
It was an emotional win on home soil for Smith, who dedicated the win to one very special person.
Smith will also pick up some much-needed world ranking points on Monday morning, although he remains in third spot, much to the delight of Tiger Woods' ex coach.
Some LIV Golf players have tumbled down the ladder since joining the breakaway circuit, none more shocking than major champions and former World No.1 stars Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka falling to 38th and 48th.
As it stands, LIV Golf events remain shut out of receiving any world ranking points.