Danny Willetts Ryder Cup seems certain to become more difficult following his brothers article about USA fans, though the heckling was good-natured during practice
The scorched-earth screed from the brother of Danny Willett eviscerating American fans on the eve of the Ryder Cup might not have caused a full-blown international incident but there is no question the Masters champion will face additional heat when the three-day competition gets under way on Friday at Hazeltine National Golf Club.
Pete Willett, the English school teacher whose irreverent live commentary of his brothers April win at Augusta earned him a measure of notoriety, came under fire after writing a piece for nationalclubgolfer.com that refers to American fans as cretins and fat, stupid, greedy, classless, bastards.
They need to silence the pudgy, basement-dwelling, irritants, stuffed on cookie dough and pissy beer, pausing between mouthfuls of hot dog 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. They need to smash the obnoxious dads, with their shiny teeth, Lego man hair, medicated ex-wives, and resentful children. Squeezed into their cargo shorts and boating shoes, theyll bellow get in the hole whilst high-fiving all the other members of the Dentists Big Game Hunt Society.
It came as little surprise when Willett emerged to the driving range on Thursday afternoon to light heckling from the American-heavy gallery, who peppered calls of Baba booey a reference to the radio presenter Howard Stern with such barbs as Hey Willett, want some of my jelly doughnuts? and How about a hot dog?
The ribbing remained playful while Willett crushed one ball after another into the distance as American fans walking the grounds here were able to find the humour in the elder Willetts colourful rant a play on the unabashed jingoism that separates the Ryder Cup from all other events. I just think its hilarious, said Jake ONeill, 31, of nearby Eden Prairie, who wore trousers festooned with stars and stripes. That kind of nationalism, its part of what makes the Ryder Cup special. Theres nothing else like it in golf.
Even less perturbed were the members of Davis Love IIIs USA team, so wrapped up in their preparations they gave no indication of paying the rant much mind.
Ive only heard about, you know, a little bit of what he said, Dustin Johnson said. I havent seen it. But the US team, we havent really been talking about it.
Patrick Reed is more than familiar with the acerbic side of Ryder Cup partisanship after earning the opposing fans wrath as a rookie when he raised his index finger to his lips to shush the rowdy Scottish crowd at Gleneagles two years ago. Its unfortunate that something was said, and not from actual Danny, Reed said. Everyone has said things that have either been great and have made comments that they havent really liked.
Ive played now on the European Tour, so Ive gotten to know Danny a little bit and Ive gotten to know a lot of those guys.
I heard the other day that his family was embarrassed, that they were thinking about flying home, because they are here this week. And you know, thats just to me, thats something that, that just cant happen.
This is such an important and great event, that to me, yes, [his brother] might not have said some great things. But at the end of the day you have to be able to enjoy it.
Any apprehension over frayed relations between the European and American camps seemed to be assuaged, at least temporarily, when Henrik Stenson called a heckler out to the 8th green and Rose offered him $100 if he could make the putt. When he sank it to roars from the crowd one of the feel-good moments of the day any lingering tensions felt resolved.
Who can know what to expect when the first club is swung in anger on Friday. But if anything can be drawn from Willetts cold-blooded breakthrough at Augusta highlighted by that unforgettable chip on the 17th that all but sealed his first major championship it is that he is equipped to handle the burden. Perhaps the only question is whether the added distraction of having to apologise for golfs Roger Clinton will compromise his focus.
What was said wasnt my writing and wasnt the teams writing or anything like that, Willett said. I spoke to Davis yesterday and he was happy to draw a line under it. And obviously, you know, its nothing that I mean or that Ive said. And I spoke to some of the American guys last night and they felt the same way.
In an ideal world the fans would do the same thing and we wont let it tarnish the 41st Ryder Cup.
Reed said: I hope the best for Danny and their family and hope they actually enjoy the week and that our fans dont just completely annihilate them.