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Ian Poulter: Crowd heckling at golf tournaments must be 'stamped out'

"I hope going forward we can control it more and more and it gets stamped out. It is not needed in the game of golf"

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Ian Poulter criticised a spectator who encouraged his ball to 'get in the bunker' during the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational

Ian Poulter says crowd heckling at golf tournaments needs to be "stamped out" after the Englishman was jeered by a fan during the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational.

A spectator shouted "get in the bunker" just after the Englishman hit his second shot at the par-four 18th in his first round four-under 66, which left him four shots behind leader Jon Rahm.

Poulter, visibly irritated, responded by saying "really" to the individual, and after the pair exchanged words, the world No 40 questioned whether the fan deserved to be at the course.

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"I get it. I am an Englishman, I play on the Ryder Cup team. I am sure I have upset a few of these guys from time to time when they are watching television," Poulter told Sky Sports.

"But when we are playing a world class event like we do week in week out and you have got guys like that, that are in a small group, they want to feel big in front of their friends and they scream silly things out, it is disappointing."

Poulter managed to make par from just short of the green and revealed the spectator was escorted out by security following the incident.

"I hate to do that, but why should we be abused in this day and age?" he added.

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Most of the time we just ignore it and let it go but it is a real shame.
Ian Poulter

Brooks Koepka was heckled by a raucous and partisan crowd at Bethpage Black during the final round of the PGA Championship in May and Poulter admits the issue is a stain in the game.

Asked whether it is getting worse, Poulter said: "Unfortunately it happens quite often.

"Most of the time we just ignore it and let it go but it is a real shame. It is just disappointing.

"We have got a WGC tournament, it is a great field, and it is a great purse. It has got everything that we want to come and compete apart from one idiot who decides to be silly.

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"So, it is a shame. I hope going forward we can control it more and more and it gets stamped out. It is not needed in the game of golf."

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