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His quarterfinal match was a perfect example of how players can be sharp even after a long break. He beat Steve Stricker, who also had not played in six weeks.

“I guess I was glad to beat a part-timer,” Poulter said.

Poulter said he did not play a single round over the last four weeks of his break, or even one hole on a golf course. He spent his time on the range, tuning his equipment. It reminded him of the early days working in a golf shop, when his duties left him no time to play on the course.

“I had time to practice, and that’s what I do when I have time off,” he said.

Some players have had time off, though not by choice.

Rory McIlroy goes into the Honda Classic with three competitive rounds this year, having missed the cut in Abu Dhabi and losing in the first round of Match Play.


OPEN QUALIFIER: Guan Tianglang will find out this week if the 14-year-old from China gets to play in two majors this year.

Guan earned a spot in the Masters when he won the Asia-Pacific Amateur late last year. The win also put him in the International Final Qualifying for the British Open, and the teenager is in the Asia qualifier. It starts Thursday at Amata Spring in Thailand, where he won the Asia-Pacific Amateur.

Four spots are available.

Also in the field are Cheng-tsung Pan of Taiwan, the runner-up to Guan and the highest-ranked Asian amateur at No. 5; and Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, a two-time winner of the Asia-Pacific who made the cut both times he played in the Masters.


DIVOTS: The OHL Classic at Mayakoba, held opposite the Match Play Championship the last six years, moves to November this year. Tournament officials were at Dove Mountain with a clever recruiting tool, and to remind players of the date change. They gave players an iPad with their names engraved, loaded with information about the Mexican beach resort. … Golf Channel altered its programming last week to show live coverage of the Women’s Australian Open, where 15-year-old Lydia Ko was tied for the lead going into the final round. It had an audience of 288,000 viewers for a 0.22 rating. … Trump Doral has signed on as the host course for the World Golf Championship event through 2023. … Bo Van Pelt and Mark Wilson were elected co-chairmen of the Player Advisory Council, meaning they will join the policy board next year.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Americans have won the last 10 official PGA Tour events, their longest streak since 11 in a row from the 2010 Barclays through the 2011 Sony Open.

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