‘You Lose, You Go Home’: Ian Poulter Unhappy With the WGC-Dell Match Play Format

Published 03/28/2021, 7:11 AM EDT
CROMWELL, CONNECTICUT – JUNE 25: Ian Poulter of England walks to the ninth green during the first round of the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands on June 25, 2020 in Cromwell, Connecticut. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)


Ian Poulter is one of the most experienced golfers on the PGA Tour. The Englishman enjoyed a good run at WGC-Dell Match Play 2021 but was knocked out in the Round of 16 on Saturday. Following the loss, Poulter lashed out at the format of the tournament held at Austin Country Club. 

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Ian Poulter is not a fan of the WGC-Dell Match Play’s format

After facing the cut at The 2021 Players Championship and the subsequent Honda Classic, Poulter went on a good run at WGC-Dell Match Play before he ended up losing in the knockout round.

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“I prefer the old way, to be honest,” Poulter said after his defeat to Scottie Scheffler in the Round of 16. 

“It’s really simple. The simplicity of ‘win your match or go home’ I think is the right way to play. A couple of years ago, I beat Kevin Kisner in my first match and two days later we’re heading off in a playoff to get out of the group and he beats me and goes on to win,” Poulter added

“So, I’ve just technically beaten the guy that wins the tournament. It’s a bit annoying, to be honest with you.”

This outrage from Ian Poulter might resonate with other golfers who are against the new round-robin format that has been followed at WGC-Dell Match Play since 2015. 

Poulter identified the flaws that come along with the group stage format

The current format at WGC-Dell Match Play involves each player playing three group stage matches. The leader of the group advances to the subsequent knockout round, but that’s wasn’t the case in the past. 

Every player who loses his individual battle in the first round gets knocked out from the tournament and many including Poulter believe that this method should have not been scrapped. 

“This group format gets a little funky. When there’s a couple of scenarios that can happen in these group matches which, if you’re in a position where you can’t advance, are you really trying really hard? I’m not really sure,” Poulter mentioned. 

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SOUTHAMPTON, NY – JUNE 16: Ian Poulter of England lets go of his club after playing his second shot on the 13th hole during the third round of the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on June 16, 2018 in Southampton, New York. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

“The sponsors pay big money and the sponsors want the players here for as many days as possible, so they have the right to do that and I am not saying it’s right or wrong, but I think there’s a number of players that would like it back to the old way, where if you lose, you go home,” he expressed. 

While Ian Poulter stood unbeaten in his group, he stumbled in the Round of 16 and lost to Scheffler. He has no complaints about the knockouts, but the group stage process is redundant, feels the 12-time European Tour winner. 

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Read Also: ‘Important Than Any Golf Event:’ Jon Rahm to Leave 2021 Masters if Wife Gives Birth

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Arjun Athreya

2031 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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