Ian Poulter may moonlight as a professional golfer, but his real nine-to-five gig is being a God-tier troll. He’s buttered the bread and brought home the bacon largely at the expense of Team USA over the years, taunting them by purchasing the police cruiser that infamously ferried Rory McIlroy to the 2012 Ryder Cup, crafting some custom t-shirts and plenty more. But the Open Championship is as much about Pom vs Pom as it is about Yanks, so Poulter loaded up the friendly fire and took aim squarely at his countryman Tyrrell Hatton on Wednesday.
That was the scene during the pair’s final practice round at Royal St George’s. Hatton was attempting to hit a 6-iron out of a fairway bunker, but the ball smacked into the face, thumping back in the direction from whence it came (it’s the Open Championship, we shall say “whence” when we damn well like).
“Have another go, T,” Poulter, smelling blood in the water, shouted from across the fairway.
“I’m trying get a 6 out,” Hatton replied, only digging a deeper grave.
“I’ll give you a clue,” Poulter replied. “It ain’t 6.”
Making matters even worse for Hatton was the gallery, who giggled uncontrollably like the Crabbe and Goyle to Poulter’s Malfoy with every retort (it’s the Open Championship, we shall also make Harry Potter references when we damn well want).
How this sets up for the rest of the championship, we have no idea. You’ll probably see Hatton laying up out of a fairway bunker or two and Poulter wearing some dumb pants. The more pressing question is what sort of impact this emotional torment might have on the morale of Team Europe come the Ryder Cup in September. Could cracks be forming in their mighty English core? Are they better off without Poults leading the charge? You can pick on Tommy Fleetwood all you want, but we know Hatton is a fiery character. Will he snap one day without warning? All TBD, but whatever happens, whenever it happens, let’s just hope the cameras are rolling.