Ian Poulter has skipped this week's first leg of the Desert Swing to go shopping for expensive toys - much to the anger of some golf fans. Ralph Ellis thinks the hard work going on behind the glitzy facade could pay dividends further down the line...
"If you read the Tweets between the stuff about the cars, the hard work is still going on. Since the turn of the year Poulter has been constantly on the range, refining his swing, adjusting to some new clubs."
There's a guy who lives near me who owns an Aston Martin. Bought it brand new. Every so often he can be seen outside the house polishing it up to a superb shine - and at weekends when he's taking his wife out somewhere special he might even drive it.
I know a few of the neighbours are jealous, but they don't know his story. He started out living rough, then began doing some cleaning to make a few quid. He found he could earn more by rolling his sleeves up and doing the dirtiest jobs, got a couple of mates to help him - and ended up owning a firm that has contracts to clear up the toilets in nightclubs and bars all round. He still gets up at 4am every day to do his share of the hard work, and if that means he can afford a luxury toy to spoil himself with, well good luck to him.
I thought of my friend when I saw the abuse being heaped on Ian Poulter by some of his Twitter followers this week. The Ryder Cup hero has been talking Ferraris and indulging his own passion for fast cars. He's off to Scottsdale for some practice ahead of the Phoenix Open - but getting there via the classic car auctions.
The lots contain some beauties. There's a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Coupe Specialé, for instance, with a reserve price starting at $2.4million. If you want to go even more up market, try the 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Series 1 Cabriolet, which starts from $4million. Or you could just settle for the 1972 Ferrari Dino 246 GT, at around $250,000, although that is a rather horrid yellow colour.
I'm not sure how many of them Poulter might be bidding for, but the very fact he is going at all has unleashed some hatred. He's been accused in the most ugly terms of flaunting his wealth.
Personally I think the fact that a man who started out selling Mars bars on a practice range in Stevenage can get to where he has done is inspiring. He's done it by his own graft, and while hitting golf balls all day long might not be the dirty job my friend down the road has to do, it still involved long hours and commitment.
And if you read the Tweets between the stuff about the cars, the hard work is still going on. Since the turn of the year Poulter has been constantly on the range, refining his swing, adjusting to some new clubs. He has changed his schedule, skipping this week's Abu Dhabi Championship to get the balance of his build-up to the Majors better.
Having finished last year as low as 12th in the World rankings, his aims for 2014 are to earn his qualification for the European Ryder Cup team in double quick time to then focus around winning a Major.
He plays first the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines and then the Phoenix Waste Management at Scottsdale - and having sat out the first few tournaments he could be a big price when he does get his clubs out in anger. Who knows, he might be able to treat himself to another classic car.