Despite knowing the ramifications, the Englishman explains his decision to join LIV Golf in the new Netflix documentary Full Swing

“You picked a hell of a year to start following the PGA Tour.” Ian Poulter’s teasing words in the trailer for the upcoming Netflix documentary Full Swing could not have been more fitting. 

The Englishman, who is the focal point of the third episode of the series which is released in full next week, has made headlines all year after deciding to make the move to LIV Golf – a decision that will almost certainly cost him his chance to captain the Ryder Cup team. 

Henrik Stenson has already been stripped of the role for the 2023 matches, having been appointed before he signed for LIV, while Poulter was a shoo-in to captain Team Europe at Bethpage in 2025 – where he almost certainly would have gone up against another player who took the PIF payday in Phil Mickelson.  

And it’s fascinating watching the episode with the benefit of hindsight. The interviews with Poulter were filmed when joining Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed breakaway league was very much a possibility, but before he had put pen to paper. And you can see him wrestling with the decision.

“There are so many deciding factors in this,” he explains. “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 captain down the road? It would be devastating if it were to be taken away. That would be really disappointing.”

With the legal hearing between the DP World Tour and 13 members of LIV Golf taking place this week, players should know soon where they stand in terms of playing on the European circuit as well as the biennial showdown with the USA team. 

But for Poulter, who recently hinted that he would reject a chance to play in Rome in September should he qualify or be picked by captain Luke Donald, the chance to join LIV and the guaranteed riches it provides proved too good to turn down.

“Growing up in Stevenage, we as a family never had luxury items,” Poulter explains in the episode titled ‘Money or Legacy’. 

“It gave me the want to succeed at a very early age. My whole life is about trying to work hard and provide, and 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 maximise every bit of my potential over the coming years. I am 46 years old. I am not getting any younger.”

In a clip you will have seen in the trailer, Poulter is shown throwing his gear across a locker room and screaming expletives. That was after losing to compatriot Matt Fitzpatrick at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play – a result which saw him eliminated in the group stage and miss out on a spot at the following month’s Masters.

“There is always that question of, ‘Are you losing your touch?’ because you are not succeeding as much as you were in the first 10 years on tour,” Poulter explains. “I don’t want to feel that my time is coming to an end as a competitor.”

After missing the cut at the PGA Championship, he adds: “You are there for five days, packing your bags and leaving without getting a cheque. Working for free doesn’t float my boat.”

All eight episodes of Full Swing will be streamed on Netflix from February 15.

Alex Perry


Alex has been the editor of National Club Golfer since 2017. A Devonian who enjoys wittering on about his south west roots, Alex moved north to join NCG after more than a decade in London, the last five of which were with ESPN. Away from golf, Alex follows Torquay United and spends too much time playing his PlayStation or his guitar and not enough time practising his short game.

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