Ian Poulter admits playing US Masters in November will be 'strange'

Augusta will host the tournament from November 12 instead of April

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 16:  Ian Poulter of England in action during Day One of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on January 16, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 16:  Ian Poulter of England in action during Day One of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on January 16, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

English golfer Ian Poulter believes playing the US Masters at Augusta in November is going to be a unique challenge for most players.

Usually held in April, the Masters this year will be played from November 12-15 when golf's calendar was rescheduled because of worldwide travel restrictions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

DP World Global ambassador Poulter, speaking at the Dubai Fitness Challenge Round Table virtual platform, predicted Augusta to be a "strange" experience.

“I’m not sure if many would actually have been playing at the course in November,” he said.

“Normally we get the invitation in January and from that moment we are allowed to go and practice and prepare for Augusta in the weeks and months after, leading up to the tournament.

“You don’t normally get the opportunity in November to go and play there unless you are playing with a member. So, I believe it can be strange for most people.”

Poulter is returning from a back spasm he suffered during the BMW Championship in early October but said he’s in “good shape” after a two-week break.

“We had a lot of treatment to just elevate the spasm itself. The good news is that I had an MRI and found no issues with the back whatsoever, which is amazing," he said.

“I have just got to take it easier the next seven days and build up a practice schedule that allows me to be as fresh as possible going into the Masters. I was going to play Houston this week, but that’s not going to happen.

“I have taken the opportunity to make sure I can stay in Orlando, and do my fitness, some more practice and build around all of the shots that I need for the Masters. And obviously take an extra week off.”

epa07507090 Tiger Woods of the US celebrates winning the 2019 Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, USA, 14 April 2019. The 2019 Masters Tournament is held 11 April through 14 April 2019.  EPA/TANNEN MAURY

Poulter said he gets the same buzz every time he plays in the Masters, but it's not all about golf for Poulter. The Englishman is delighted to be a part of the Dubai Fitness Challenge that kicked off on Friday and will run until November 28.

“Thirty minutes of activity each day for the next 30 days is something that is fantastic,” he said of the Dubai Fitness Challenge.

“We all need to get out and do various activities and this is obviously one DP World has asked us to do."

The fitness challenge is taking place at various locations across the emirate, including the Kite Beach. Poulter’s message to those looking to participate is to simply enjoy the activities.

“We got a booth where you can pick up any of the golf clubs and hit your shots,” he said.

The 2020 Dubai Fitness Challenge is running from October 30 to November 28. Courtesy Dubai Fitness Challenge

“We have lots of rounds of golf lessons and all that good stuff. It doesn’t matter your ability, your age, your agenda, all of that. Get down, enjoy what is there on offer and pick up some great prizes.

“My biggest message to all is to enjoy. The wonders we have with the game of golf, even if you never picked up a club, for me it’s great to bring new people in."

This year has been challenging for all worldwide and Poulter said sport needs to adapt to the situation.

“When you look it as a whole, every sport has different challenges,” he said.

“The most exciting thing for us is to produce a product. I think TV has done a great job. I think most players have to be a little more open to the camera, and more open and sympathetic for the fans who can’t come out and watch us play.”