Heckling continues to mar Ryder atmosphere

Sun Oct 2, 2016 1:58am EDT
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By Larry Fine

CHASKA, Minnesota (Reuters) - The 41st Ryder Cup has been a riot of color, costume, cheering and great golf between 12-man teams from the United States and Europe performing in front of an audience of some 50,000 at Hazeltine National.

The circus atmosphere of good fun and sports thrills has also been pierced by rude, unsportsmanlike heckling.

Shouting insults at players from the visiting European side is bad enough, but some brazen hecklers have taken to trying to distract players as they execute their shots.

As the Saturday afternoon fourballs session wore on, hecklers seemed to grow more bold and perhaps more inebriated.

The tightest match of the fourballs made Englishmen Danny Willett and Lee Westwood the targets of hecklers.

At the 16th hole someone yelled “No pressure” as Westwood readied for a clutch putt.

At the 17th, a loud spectator said "Miss" just as Westwood was stroking a putt to halve the hole. He missed, providing the U.S. pair of JB Holmes and Ryan Moore with their winning margin.

Who knows whether Westwood would have made the putt without the distraction, but it cannot have helped.   Continued...

Oct 1, 2016; Chaska, MN, USA; Fans watch on the seventh hole during the morning foursome matches in the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports