Saturday 17 March 2018

'United Slobs Of America. Disgusting. Disgraceful' - Four times US golf fans have courted controversy

Justin Leonard in Brookline
Justin Leonard in Brookline
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

Danny Willett's brother stoked the Ryder Cup flames this week when he penned a hard-hitting column in a golf magazine that was scathing towards American golf fans.

Pete Willett, a teacher, wrote the article in National Club Golfer that was intended as humorous satire, but which failed miserably.

Willett's article included lines such as: "Team USA have only won five of the last 16 Ryder Cups. Four of those five victories have come on home soil. For the Americans to stand a chance of winning, they need their baying mob of imbeciles to caress their egos every step of the way.

"Europe need to silence the pudgy, basement-dwelling, irritants, stuffed on cookie dough and pissy beer, pausing between mouthfuls of hotdog so they can scream 'Baba booey' until their jelly faces turn red.

"They need to stun the angry, unwashed, Make America Great Again swarm, desperately gripping their concealed-carry compensators and belting out a mini-erection inducing 'mashed potato' hoping to impress their cousin."

US Masters champion Danny Willett was forced to apologise on behalf of his brother while Team Europe captain Darren Clarke was left seething ahead of tomorrow's first day in Hazeltine.

Here are four controversial moments involving American fans in in the past.

Brookline, 1999

'The day golf died' screamed one headline. Players, fans, caddies and family swarmed the 17th green in celebration after Justin Leonard holed a 45-foot putt to all but secure the Cup for America.

Europe had yet to finish the hole with Jose Maria Olazabal missing his putt to keep Europe's hopes alive - once the celebrations had died down.

On the 17th tee, fans shouted during Olazabal's backswing and Colin Montgomerie later revealed that his father left the course in disgust following vile abuse hurled at his son.

The newspaper reaction was scathing with the US behaviour described as 'Disgusting' and 'Disgraceful'.

"A fantastic competition was sullied by a (soccer) terrace culture outside the ropes and an appalling lack of consideration from Team America inside them," the London Standard.

The Mirror said: "Football hooligans act better than the way the Americans have treated the Ryder Cup over the last three days. Their antics whipped the crowd into uncontrollably boorish behaviour Sporting relations between the two nations have now slipped to an all-time low."

The Daily Mail reported: "Rednecks show it may be time to start trading punches, not pleasantries."

The Guardian ran the headline: "Joy of Ugly Victory brings out the Ugly American."




Medinah, 2012

An investigation was launched after sickening chants from small sections of the American crowd with one spectator heard shouting 'F**k you Seve' following the Spaniard's untimely death the previous year.

There were also accusations that American fans hurled abuse at the wives of European players while Justin Rose was taunted over the death of his father Ken who lost his battle with cancer 10 months before the Ryder Cup.

Kiawah Island, 1991

It was as tense as it ever was as Bernard Langer and Hale Irwin battled it out as the final pairing and down the final fairway in a Ryder Cup that became knows as 'The War By The Shore'.

Langer missed an easy six-foot putt to hand the trophy to American and spark chaotic scenes as fans invaded the course.


Valhalla, 2008

American captain Paul Azinger appeared on stage in a bar leading up to the Ryder Cup in Valhalla and encouraged American fans to boo the Europe players - they duly obliged.

"It's the only negative for me this week. I have been abused from start to finish and I don't think that is golf," said Lee Westwood after the defeat.

"I think there is a difference between supporting your side and abusing the opponents and some of the stuff that has been said to me this week has been shameful really."



Online Editors

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport