Sentence you don’t expect to see: Things have gotten real heated at the golf tournament.
Sunday at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, Team Europe’s Rory McIlroy had it up to here with a heckler, and got the guy tossed for yelling an obscenity.
After McIlroy made an unlikely birdie on the seventh hole, and punctuated his celebration by turning toward Lake Hazeltine and howling with glee, it got particularly ugly. On the walk to the eighth tee, a good 300 yards up a hill with the crowd lining both sides of the ropes, one fan leaned toward the Northern Irishman and screamed an obscenity at him.
McIlroy, who had been reluctant to acknowledge the jeers for much of the day, immediately stopped and pointed right at the fan. He called out for security and continued his icy stare-down with the fan until an officer arrived. McIlroy strutted up the hill, took a few deep breaths, then hit an iron shot right over the flag at No. 8 to 15 feet.
We’re not told what the specific obscenity was, so you can use your imagination on that. McIlroy described the heckling as “derogatory,” and said he had been motivated by a heavily pro-U.S. crowd, the sort you’re likely to find in Minnesota.
According to the police in Chaska, four people have been thrown out so far.
The Ryder Cup, team sport that it is, lends itself to this kind of fan behavior in a way normal golf tournaments don’t. Things have gotten testy between golfers and spectators at various Ryder Cups over the years. In this case, it may have all started when the brother of Team Europe’s Danny Willett penned an essay characterizing American golf fans as, “fat, stupid, greedy [and] classless,” which translates roughly to, “I have no original ideas.”
McIlroy insists Team Europe is unfazed.