CHASKA, Minn. – Danny Willett was standing in the third fairway in Friday fourballs at the Ryder Cup when a fan there shouted some instruction.
“Hey Danny, hit it in the bunker!”
At the sixth tee, Americans Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka waved to silence the crowd so Willett could hit his tee shot. When Willett hooked his drive into the trees, fans cheered boisterously.
Rory McIlroy heard fans cheer when his partner Andy Sullivan knocked a shot in the water at the 17th in morning foursomes.
“I'm all for people cheering for their team as much as they possibly can,” McIlroy said. “That was a little disappointing in my eyes, that that happened. But again, it's a minority of people, and you know, most people out there are being respectful and respectful of the etiquette of our game of golf.”
Willett was booed at the first tee.
With his brother, Pete, penning an article back in England that ridiculed American fans as “fat, stupid, greedy, classless bastards,” Willett knew what was coming. His brother’s rant on American eating habits, including their love of hot dogs, became a popular topic among fans following Willett in fourballs.
A sampling of some of the heckling Willett heard at virtually every hole.
“Danny, you’re brother’s an idiot!”
“Hey Danny, can you get me a hot dog?”
“Hey, Danny, want a jelly donut or would you rather some cookie dough?”
“I fill my fat, jelly face with hot dogs. Don’t let it bother you.”
Willett was cheered along the way, too. After he made birdie at the ninth, he got a huge cheer from fans. But as the cheer was subsiding, a fan yelled, “But we still hate you Danny!”
Willett’s parents were inside the ropes following him.
Snedeker was asked if fans crossed the line.
“You get in the last couple groups, people don’t want you to win or whatever it maybe, you hear some yelling,” Snedeker said. “I don’t think it crossed the line by any stretch of the imagination.”
McIlroy hopes the weekend’s better.
“As we say, we want this Ryder Cup to be played in very sportsman like conduct, and a sportsmanlike conduct that the great late Arnold Palmer would be very proud of,” he said.