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'Full Swing' recaps: Episode 3 Money or Legacy

7 Min Read


'Full Swing' recaps: Episode 3 Money or Legacy

    It’s finally here. “Full Swing,” the highly-anticipated Netflix docuseries that gives viewers unprecedented access to the PGA TOUR and its players, went live Feb. 15. All eight episodes were released simultaneously, allowing viewers a variety of options about how to consume this groundbreaking series. For some, a slow drip may be the preferred method, allowing them to fully soak in the behind-the-scenes look at their favorite players. Others may call in sick and binge all eight of the approximately 45-minute episodes.

    Whatever your preference, we’re here to help. First, a quick warning. These episode recaps are chock-full of spoilers. Proceed with caution. But each of these articles is intended to aid your viewing experience, either adding context to the most memorable scenes or helping you recall your favorite moments from episodes you’ve already binged. Enjoy this closer look at Episode 3 of “Full Swing.”

    Episode 3: Money or Legacy

    Main character: Ian Poulter

    Supporting cast: The Poulter Family

    Ian Poulter’s audacious attire is befitting an outsized personality that has made the three-time PGA TOUR winner and Ryder Cup hero one of golf’s most colorful characters. His episode of “Full Swing” attempts to show a different side of the flashy Englishman, however, by highlighting a father who is conflicted about the next step in his career. Entitled “Money or Legacy,” Poulter’s turn in the Netflix docuseries shows a man in his late-40s who is wrestling with what he believes is best for himself and his family, including son Luke, who plays for the University of Florida. The decision seemingly boils down to a Ryder Cup captaincy or guaranteed cash.


    “Do you love playing in the Ryder Cup?” a producer asks.

    Poulter laughs, then answers: “Do bears s*** in the woods? Is the Pope Catholic?”

    That’s one way to offer an emphatic “Yes.”

    Poulter, 46, has won 12 times on the DP World Tour in addition to his three PGA TOUR titles, but no event has done more for his reputation than the Ryder Cup. He proudly mentions in the episode that he has never lost a Singles match in the biennial competition between the United States and Europe, going 6-0-1 since his debut in 2004. Europe is 5-2 as a team with Poulter on its roster.

    “I’ve never lost in singles in the Ryder Cup,” Poulter says in the episode, “so I’ve inflicted a lot of pain on the Americans that watch Ryder Cups. I’ve been that pain-in-the-ass guy.”

    His Ryder Cup success, as well as his affinity for pastels, plaids and punk-rock hairstyles, has always made him stand out. “I didn’t want to just be a golfer,” he says, pointing to the late Payne Stewart and his trademark plus-fours as inspiration.

    Poulter and wife Katie have lived in the U.S. for roughly 15 years, residing in Orlando. They have four children, two in college. Poulter is now competing against players young enough to be his kids, and the difficulty of taking on the long-hitting youth is part of this episode’s storyline.

    Poulter is shown at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play as he makes a last-ditch effort to crack the top 50 in the world ranking and earn a Masters invite. When he fails to make it, his tantrum in the locker room at Austin Country Club is one of the most emotional moments of the series. But he admits that he isn’t the only Poulter who is disappointed. His family also wanted to spend a week amidst the pageantry of Masters week in Augusta, Georgia, so letting them down also adds to his disappointment.


    Poulter won the DP World Tour’s Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award in 2000. Tom Kim was born in 2002, the same year the Poulters welcomed their first child, Aimee-Leigh.

    Age comes up again and again in the episode, as evidenced by a brief conversation in Austin, Texas, between Poulter and his English contemporary, Paul Casey.

    “How’s the back?” Poulter asks in the locker room.

    “I just WD’ed,” Casey says.

    “Are you joking? What happened?”

    “Old age.”

    “I feel you.”

    Poulter explains how the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, which Poulter won in ###, is one of the most important events on his schedule. Not only because it uses Poulter’s favorite format, but because it offers a last opportunity to qualify for the Masters via the world ranking.

    Alas, Poulter winds up in a group featuring Scottie Scheffler, Matt Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood. After losing, 2 and 1, to Scheffler, Poulter must find a way to beat Fitzpatrick, then 27, who also is being followed by “Full Swing.” It does not go well for Poulter, as Fitzpatrick beats him, 4 and 2, to end Poulter’s chances of advancing. He throws items in the locker room and lets out a frustrated scream, a raw moment that is featured in the “Full Swing” teaser.

    Scheffler goes on to win the tournament to reach No. 1 in the world for the first time in his career (he’ll win the Masters two weeks later). Fitzpatrick is about to become a major champion in a matter of months. And Poulter, as we all know, is about to take guaranteed money from LIV.


    Poulter may not be playing in the Masters but his decades of success still afford the family a luxurious lifestyle. The family is shown boarding a private jet for England, and the Poulter kids try to hole putts from across the plane, which Joshua Poulter, 10, coins “The 41,000-Foot Putt Challenge.” The Poulters celebrate as balls roll into a glass laying on the floor.

    Upon arriving in England, Joshua remarks on the temperature, which is just a little lower than in Orlando.

    “It’s freezing out here!” he says.

    “It’s beautiful weather,” Ian says with his trademark smirk, which we’ll see multiple times in this episode.

    They eventually arrive at their Milton Keynes residence, located about 90 minutes outside of London. The family’s current lifestyle is a contrast to the modest means that Ian grew up with.

    “We, as a family, never had luxury items,” he says. “There were nights on a Friday night, where my dad would play on a Saturday, and we went to sleep in the car because it was all about being the first one in the queue to get your tee time.”

    Poulter was famously a 4 handicap when he turned professional. The same determination that has served him well in match play also helped the former assistant pro keep his card on the DP World Tour and PGA TOUR for two decades.

    “Katie and I have brought four great kids into the world,” Poulter says. “Over the 20-plus years, I’ve been away for over 50% of their growth, missing birthdays, walking, talking, first steps. It’s hard sometimes when you sit back and you’ve missed all of that, but yet you’ve hopefully secured them a nice path moving forward.”

    The episode also shows Poulter walking a practice round with son Luke, the 2021 Orlando Sentinel Player of the Year at Circle Christian School, as he prepares for a junior tournament. Ian tries to offer his fatherly advice, but it often goes unheeded. It is a typical father-son dynamic, even for a former Ryder Cup star.


    In the second major of the year, Poulter misses the cut at the PGA Championship.

    “Working for free doesn’t float my boat,” he says.

    “Straight up, are you going to LIV?” a producer asks.

    “It’s a business decision,” Poulter says. “It’s an opportunity, so we’ll see.”

    In Milton Keynes, he’d been more expansive:

    “The fact of there being guaranteed money at play is obviously an attraction. People ask all the time, don’t you have enough already? But that’s all relative. I treat my golf as a job, and I want to obviously maximize every bit of my potential over the coming years.”

    By “potential,” of course, he means money. It’s been more than ## years since Poulter’s last win and he now finds himself falling in the world ranking.

    “I’m 46 years old,” he continues. “I’m not getting any younger. There are so many deciding factors in all of this. I love the Ryder Cup. If one day I get the opportunity to be Ryder Cup captain, I would absolutely love it. … It would be devastating if it was taken away.”

    He is aware that a PGA TOUR suspension looms and his Ryder Cup future may be in flux if he chooses to play in the first LIV event at England’s Centurion Club in June. But guaranteed money seems more appealing than continuing to grind and competing against the kids.

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