LONDON • Ian Poulter has said his past year and a half has been the most miserable of his career but is delighted at his joint second-place finish at the Players Championship, which he believes will simplify his summer.
Having seen his world ranking slip into the 200s and, at one stage, nearly lose full status on the PGA Tour, the Briton had an uncertain outlook before a stirring performance at Sawgrass.
Kim Si Woo took the title but Poulter could barely hide his delight at finishing as runner-up. He has now moved back inside the world's top 100 at No. 80 and has already qualified for the end-of-season FedExCup play-offs, meaning he can plot his summer schedule carefully.
"I was swimming at the bottom of an empty pool for a little while," the 41-year-old Englishman said. "So it is nice to see it fill it up again and feel like I'm not touching the bottom. This feels like a victory."
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Poulter, the 2009 Singapore Open champion, has handed an immediate boost to the European Tour by entering the PGA Championship at Wentworth next week.
This is all far removed from his recent struggle with both injury and results. Off the course, he also had to deal with the closure of his own clothing brand, which had been in existence since 2006.
"It has been miserable. There's no other way to explain it," he said.
"I never doubted I could get back to this level. I knew it was in me but I was getting more and more anxious because it wasn't happening."
What Poulter has not yet secured is a place in either the US Open or the Open Championship, though he is not yet worried about that.
Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy revealed on Monday that an MRI scan had shown no new injury after back pain had disrupted his build-up to the Players Championship.
"The MRI scan confirmed no new injury, rather a low-grade response to the rib joint I injured earlier in the year," the world No. 2 said.
"As of now I am still entered into the BMW PGA Championship and will decide early next week if I am in a position to compete."