As it turns out, Ian Poulter didn't need to make that last-minute trip from Orlando to Hong Kong last week.
Poulter is now in the field for next week's WGC-HSBC Champions, getting into the field as the sixth alternate. The first four alternates were drawn into the initial field, and then Tyrrell Hatton replaced the injured George Coetzee. It was down to Poulter on the alternate list, and he got in when Brandt Snedeker declined to play.
After the week of the Frys.com Open and Portugal Masters, Poulter fell out of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time since September 2006, meaning he wasn't exempt into the final World Golf Championships event of the year. Since the Englishman had planned on competing in the Shanghai-based event to fulfill the European Tour's 13-event participation minimum, Poulter had to find another tournament to replace that intended start.
Only one tournament, the UBS Hong Kong Open, remained on the schedule that Poulter hadn't planned on playing. However, with the open tournament deadline already closed, Poulter could only get into the event with a sponsor's exemption. Rich Beem, the 2002 PGA champion, had one of those exemptions and effectively gifted it to Poulter so he could play, retain his European Tour membership and remain eligible for the 2016 European Ryder Cup team.
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