INCHEON, South Korea – Even the now-famous Fanatics were subdued relative to their previous exploits at the Presidents Cup.
Despite a large gallery that officials estimate will reach 25,000 on the weekend at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea, the cheers on Day 1 didn’t provide the boost to the International team one would have hoped.
“It seemed split. [The crowd] cheered for good shots from both teams,” Zach Johnson said after his opening foursome match.
Another member of the U.S. team entourage said the scene was akin to a neutral site, with little partisan cheering other than the dozen or so members of the Fanatics, a group that has followed the International side at recent matches.
The fans appear more enamored by the game’s stars, be they International or from the United States, than they are playing the role of 13th man, a reality that may have been fueled by International captain Nick Price’s decision to sit South Korea’s Sangmoon Bae on Day 1.
Evidence of this was on display Thursday as fans clamored for poker chips adorned with the Presidents Cup avatar of players, with the most in-demand chips being Americans Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson.