In defence of my Ryder Cup column - Danny Willett's brother speaks out
Published 11/10/2016 | 21:17
Danny Willett's brother has defended his controversial comments about American Ryder Cup fans, although he admits the timing of his article was "atrocious".
School teacher Peter Willett penned a column for National Club Golfer magazine which described American fans as a "braying mob of imbeciles", "basement-dwelling irritants" and "cretins".
The article was published on the eve of the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, where Europe suffered a 17-11 defeat which was marred by heckling from some American fans towards members of the European team.
"I need to hold my hands up," Peter Willett wrote in a column for the Daily Telegraph. "In hindsight, the timing was atrocious. I wrote the piece over a number of evenings with a big push on the pre-Ryder Cup weekend. Then the unimaginable happened."
According to Peter, the "unimaginable" was the reaction to his article, which he felt was caused by inaccurate reporting, including headlines such as "PJ Willett brands ALL Americans imbeciles in crazy rant".
"To anyone who reads my piece in full, with a modicum of intelligence or a desire to report news rather than fabricate it, two things are clear," he adds.
"Firstly, my 'rant' was not a criticism of ALL Americans, but a satirical jab against a very select group of individuals who are wholly deserving of ridicule - those that scream 'Baba booey', belt out 'Mashed Potato', and bellow 'Get in the Hole'. These were the only imbeciles to which I was referring.
"Secondly, my penultimate paragraph makes explicitly clear how far I had lodged my tongue into my cheek, but the media deliberately missed this section of text, so I'll include it again:
"During my 33 years as an avid sports watcher, I have never cared more about the result of a single event. I am desperate for a win. Such desperation can lead to puerile outbursts. A more immature mind than mine might resort to petty insults or unflattering generalisations.
"IT WAS A JOKE. Like the 'Cheeseburger'-screaming simpletons, I also couldn't control myself during Ryder Cup week. I was highlighting my own immaturity because I used petty insults and unflattering generalisations in my puerile outburst."
Danny Willett, who did not win a point from this three matches, initially apologised for the article, but in the aftermath of Europe's first defeat since 2008 the Masters champion wrote on Twitter: ''Very strange week here at the Ryder cup.. Tried my best but played poorly. Unfortunately some american fans showed that @P_J_Willett was In fact correct..
''Nothing to blame my bad play on.. But still shows that sometimes fans don't know when to call it a day.. Shame really!!''