Ian Poulter booed on opening tee at The Open and shanks first shot

LIV Golf rebel Ian Poulter was booed on the first tee as the 150th Open Championship began at St Andrews.

The 46-year-old is one of 24 players in the field who have signed up to the controversial Saudi-backed breakaway series and was the first of those to go out in the morning.

Poulter’s response was almost to miss the widest fairway in golf with his mid-iron heading well left across the 18th fairway.

His ball finished just a couple of yards short of the out of bounds line which borders The Links road on the fringe of the course.

Poulter produced a good recovery, however, and made par at the 355-yard first.
On the eve of the tournament R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers insisted banning LIV Golf rebels from next year’s Open is “not on the agenda”, but has not ruled out changing the championship’s entry criteria.

In a surprisingly strongly-worded statement before taking questions in his traditional pre-tournament press conference, Slumbers said the Saudi-funded breakaway was ‘entirely driven by money’ and not in the ‘best long-term interests of the game’.

The PGA Tour has suspended members who have competed in the breakaway without permission, while the DP World Tour fined players £100,000 and banned them from last week’s Genesis Scottish Open, but saw that temporarily stayed on appeal.

Tiger Woods, a two-time Open winner at St Andrews, was an afternoon starter alongside newly-crowned US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, and Max Homa.

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