Rory asks no retaliation in 2018 for Ryder Cup hecklers


Rory McIlroy vowed that European golf fans will not retaliate in 2018 for the verbal abuse unleashed upon Europe players by US fans this week at the Ryder Cup.

Spectators time and again went over the top at Hazeltine as the United States beat Europe 17-11 in the biennial team golf event to be next played in France.

“Definitely, first and foremost, we wouldn’t encourage any sort of retaliation. That’s just not who we are. That’s not what we do,” McIlroy said. “There won’t be (any) — and we will be making that clear.

“We want to play this tournament in the manner in which it should be played.”

A difficult week for Europe became tougher when Masters champion Danny Willett’s brother Pete authored an internet article insulting US spectators. The English golfer apologized but the damage was done and he was a prime target of US-backers’ venom.

Asked to describe his first Ryder Cup experience, Willett said, “Shit. Being honest. Sorry. Would you like me to elaborate? Really shit.”

England’s Lee Westwood missed a short putt to squander a half-point Saturday and lost the last three holes Sunday in singles to US rookie Ryan Moore to surrender the Cup-losing point.

“I think the US team were embarrassed about those comments,” Westwood said. “I got called a turd, which is the first time since I was about 12 years old, so it made me feel young again.”

McIlroy was faced with an obscenity-yelling fan after the seventh hole Saturday and abuse hour after hour over five grueling sessions.

“This week, at times, it has went a little bit too far,” McIlroy said. “But that’s to be expected when you are teeing off at 7:35 in the morning and you’re seeing people on the first tee with a beer in their hand and matches aren’t finishing until 4:30, 5 in the afternoon.

“I know I would be ‘done’ at that point. I don’t know what I would be saying.”

McIlroy and his teammates stressed that 95 percent of the huge crowds were respectful.

“A couple of people out there crossed the line, but we’ll take it on the chin. We’ll move on and we’ll definitely not encourage anything like that to happen in France,” McIlroy said.

– Garcia can laugh at insults –

A poignant moment came when McIlroy tried to shield Spanish teammate Sergio Garcia from a question about the heckling, aware of the chants of “You have no majors” and worse Garcia endured.

“No I can handle it,” said Garcia, who has played 70 major championships in a row since 1999 and 73 overall without a victory.

“I definitely know I haven’t won a major,” Garcia said, bringing laughter and applause from his teammates for being able to smile about the still-raw insults.

Then Garcia spoke deeply from the heart.

“But I do have five Ryder Cups with some amazing teams and I’m very proud of that and I wouldn’t give any one of them away for a major,” said the Spaniard, who halved a scintillating match with Phil Mickelson.

“I love the Ryder Cup. There’s nothing like it. I loved every minute of it. Even all the bombs that Phil was making on me. It was another great week and so many great things that I will never forget.”

– Booze limits no answer –

Asked if tighter alcohol restrictions might ease the verbal assault, McIlroy said, “Not with their pissy beer, no, I think they will be all right.”

“No, people are here to have a good time. I don’t know how you could police that or limit that in any way, telling people they can’t drink until 11 in the morning. They are just going to go and buy six beers. People are here to have a good time.

“I know if I was watching the Ryder Cup, I would want to do the same thing.”

Europe captain Darren Clarke praised US player efforts to help keep comments within respectful levels.

“Every US player and every US caddie were trying to calm some of those few idiots down,” he said. We have to give massive respect to Davis’ team for the way they tried to police it on our behalf.”

© 2016 AFP

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