The Open: LIV Golf defector Poulter claims not to have heard jeers

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Ian Poulter claimed not to hear any of the jeers and boos that greeted him on the first tee at the 150th Open Championship.

The Englishman received a frosty reception from some at St Andrews following his defection to LIV Golf, and he wildly hooked his first shot.

But Poulter – whose three-under 68 included a stunning 160-foot eagle on the ninth – insisted he was not aware of any of the negativity surrounding him.

Told that there were in fact some audible critics when he was announced on the tee, Poulter said: "Didn't hear one.

"I actually thought I had a great reception on the first tee, to be honest. All I heard was clapping.

"I have heard not one heckle. In three weeks, I've heard nothing. What have you heard?

"You walked 18 holes. Not one noise. You lot can write whatever you like about being heckled and booing. You've walked 18 holes. Did you hear one comment?

"You can write whatever you like but...I thought there was a couple of thousand on the tee, so they obviously drowned out the one."

The 46-year-old was asked if his association with LIV Golf had caused issues with his fellow professionals, but Poulter suggested there were no divisions.

"I've heard great comments, great talks with everyone," he said.

"We might have a difference of opinion, but they're my friends. You play golf with these guys for 20-plus years or 10, 15 years, you've been part of many teams with them.

"Even if they have a difference of opinion, that's that. We all have opinions, right? We're still friends, whatever the landscape is and wherever you're playing golf."

Tournament organisers the R&A ruled out a ban for LIV Golf participants but chief executive Martin Slumbers said the criteria for qualification would be assessed, hinting that it may become harder for defectors from the traditional tours to get involved.

Asked if he had seen the R&A's comments, Poulter said: "I purposely haven't looked at all, so I don't want to know. You can tell me, I'm not going to listen. I'm here to play golf.

"This could probably be my last Open Championship at St Andrews. So I'm trying to enjoy it despite the questioning.

"I'm staying out of the way. I'm not reading social media. I just want to play golf, right? I can only do my job. If I listen to a lot of nonsense, then I'm going to get distracted. That's never going to be good for me.

"I'll leave it to the clever people to figure stuff out, and I'll just play golf."

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