Friday 20 September 2019

Self-indulgent and cosy read from a golfer with attitude

Ian Poulter, No Limits
Ian Poulter, No Limits

Dean Goodison: Book Review

There was a trick missed when the subject of this week's book review, Ian James Poulter, was christened with the nickname 'Poults'. Golf fans will be aware that the English golfer, other than his game, is renowned for two things: his big mouth and his loud on-course attire.

His most memorable faux pas came back at the end of 2007 when he explained that 'I don't rate anyone else' and said that 'I haven't played to my full potential yet. And when that happens, it will be just me and Tiger'.

Surprisingly, that didn't earn him the nickname 'poultice', apart from maybe in living rooms around the country, although it did mean he was called 'Number 2' for a while. At least it took the attention away from his flamboyant trousers which surprisingly never led to the ironic handle of 'Poultergeist'.

Poulter talks about both the 'me and Tiger' stuff, and his dress code, in detail in his autobiography, 'No Limits'. Ghost written by hit-and-miss football journalist Ollie Holt, the book is chronological and with a strong emphasis on his stellar Ryder Cup record and experiences.

'Poults' probably fits the self-made golfing star to a certain extent. He grew up, like so many others, as a bit of an all-rounder before settling on golf. He doesn't quite have that Del Boy charm but his first job was a market trader and he had to grow up quickly after the death of his cousin.

Holt, as ghost writer, and Poulter, as subject, make a few mistakes throughout the book that both must take their share of the blame for. The worst chapter is the opener which deals with Poulter's formative years and the death of his cousin, Gary.

It's probably the strongest memory that Poulter has from those years but Holt doesn't do it justice with how he expresses the experience in words. He goes too far and makes Poulter sound like he is looking for sympathy from the reader when that's almost certainly not the golfer's intention.

Poulter himself overdoes the 'look at how well I've done' vibe throughout the book. As the reader the 'oh, the building of my multi-million dollar house was delayed and it really took away from my golf' chapter is a bit sickly.

The same goes for the endless references to his collection of Ferraris. The reader even gets to see them in all their glory in one of the two colour photo sections.

That said, there are a few laughs along the way. Poulter has a bit of a go at the 'Mashed Potato' gang and lifts the lid on some of the antics that go on behind the scenes on the European Challenge tour.

He deals in depth with Ryder Cups he has been involved with and he has an interesting rebuttal of a story in Hank Haney's book 'The Big Miss', a publication about his former student Tiger Woods.

Is it worth the purchase money? Well, it's not one of the more expensive books on the market at the moment and that in itself makes it more attractive. For the average sports fan that enjoys Sunday at The Masters or the singles at the Ryder Cup then you'll get enough out of it to make it worth your while, although expect to cringe every now and then.

For the golf fan there's nothing in it that will leave you with a dropped jaw. It's a cosier than expected read with plenty of uplifting golf stories but it's also too self-indulgent at times. If you know golf you know plenty about Poulter; if you don't mind watching him play pick it up, if you don't like him steer clear of 'No Limits' altogether.

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