Ian Poulter felt like ‘doing a Cantona’ on man who abused him in front of family

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IAN POULTER was tempted to “do an Eric Cantona” on a foul-mouthed heckler who abused him in front of his wife and four children.

The English golf ace said the only thing that stopped him copying the Manchester United legend’s infamous kung-fu kick at a Crystal Palace supporter in 1995 was knowing he would get banned.

English star Ian Poulter says only the fear of getting banned stopped him lashing out at an abusive spectator
English star Ian Poulter says only the fear of getting banned stopped him lashing out at an abusive spectator during the Players Championship

Poults, 43, who was targeted at the Players Championship a fortnight ago, has also been taunted at this week’s World Match Play — but on a far lesser scale.

The Sawgrass incident still infuriates Poulter and he seethed: “I was practically on the point of doing the Eric Cantona move. But that would have got me suspended and that wouldn’t be any good.

“You have to rise above it, don’t you? Or try to. And it’s difficult when your family are right there listening to people shout and abuse you. It’s really tough.

“It’s a shame in this day and age where people get great satisfaction from trying to disturb or put off athletes.

“But it’s disappointing and annoying when in the crowd you’ve got your wife and your children — a 17-year-old, 14, ten and seven — and they’re listening to people verbally abusing their dad.

INTIMIDATION TACTICS

“It’s not a nice thing for a kid to hear. It can be potentially damaging to them to hear that level of stuff. It upsets them.

“And it’s not right. So the Tour know about it and I’m sure they’re trying to address that situation. It’s a shame it happens but unfortunately it does and hopefully we can stamp it out.”

European Ryder Cup star Poulter shook his head in frustration when he was asked whether his family had told him how upset they were.

He added: “They didn’t need to. They heard it and I heard it and they were a lot closer to it than I was because they were behind the ropes.”

Poulter said his playing partner at Sawgrass, 2018 USA Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk, turned to the spectators and urged them to stop the swearing and intimidation tactics.

The Florida-based Brit said: “You obviously know there’s a problem if your playing partner doesn’t feel very comfortable.

Eric Cantona produced one of the most notorious confrontations between competitors and fans in sport with this attack on a Crystal Palace supporter 24 years ago
Eric Cantona produced one of the most notorious confrontations between competitors and fans in sport with this attack on a Crystal Palace fan in 1995
Ian Poulter admits it is difficult to contain emotions when onlookers deliberately try to put you off
Ian Poulter admits it is difficult to contain emotions when onlookers try to put him off – especially in front of his children


“He apologised and said he was embarrassed by the local support and he apologised for their behaviour.

“So when it gets to that level, then clearly there’s a few that stepped over the line.”

Poults should have no such problems in a fortnight’s time when he tees it up at The Masters, where the galleries are among the best-behaved in the game.

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