Masters champion Danny Willett was last night forced to apologise following the publication of an article written by his brother which describes American Ryder Cup fans as a “braying mob of imbeciles.”
School teacher Peter Willett penned a column for National Club Golfer magazine and offered his forthright opinions on what each side needs to do to secure victory at Hazeltine.
“For the Americans to stand a chance of winning, they need their baying mob of imbeciles to caress their egos every step of the way,” he wrote. “Team Europe needs to shut those groupies up.”
Willett was made aware of the article during yesterday’s practice round at Hazeltine and later stated: “I’d just like to apologise obviously to everyone involved for what’s been said.
“It’s obviously not the thoughts of myself and of the team and of captain Darren (Clarke). I spoke to him (Pete) on the phone after I was made aware of what was said and what has been going on.
“And I said to Pete that I was obviously disappointed in what was said and what was written about the American fans that obviously took me under their wing fantastically back in April (at the Masters).”
Willett apologised in person to US captain Davis Love, adding: “He took it very well and I think he’s drawn a line under it for himself and for the team. So hopefully everyone else can do the same and hopefully we can get on and have a great tournament.
“I got made aware after a few holes, it was obviously going crazy. It is tough to then concentrate, because you don’t want people to think badly of yourself.
“You kind of wanted to get off the golf course and hopefully get it sorted, hopefully draw a line under it and get back to what we’re doing.”
Clarke had earlier expressed his disappointment with the story, adding: “I showed it to Danny and he’s bitterly disappointed in his brother’s article. It is not what Danny thinks. It is not what I think. It is not what Team Europe stands for.
“Danny was unaware of it and he fully intends to speak to his brother, express his displeasure to his brother about it. I was obviously very disappointed in it, as well, because that’s an outside person expressing their opinion which is not representative of what our thoughts are.”
Opposite number Love said he had resisted the temptation to read the article, adding: “If I read it, I’m just going to get mad. If I read it, I’m just going to get defensive.
“So I just try to ignore it.”
It remains to be seen if the article, which included numerous unflattering descriptions of American fans, will induce a backlash from spectators when play gets under way tomorrow.
It read: “They (Europe) need to silence the pudgy, basement-dwelling, irritants, stuffed on cookie dough and beer, pausing between mouthfuls of hotdog so they can scream ‘Baba booey’ until their jelly faces turn red.
“They need to stun the angry, unwashed, Make America Great Again swarm, desperately gripping their concealed-carry compensators and belting out a mini-erection inducing ‘mashed potato,’ hoping to impress their cousin.
“They need to smash the obnoxious dads, with their shiny teeth, Lego man hair, medicated ex-wives, and resentful children. Squeezed into their cargo shorts and boating shoes.
“They’ll bellow ‘get in the hole’ whilst high-fiving all the other members of the Dentists’ Big Game Hunt Society.
“Darren Clarke needs to pick his pairs carefully, they need to support each other intelligently, and the crowd needs to be dealt with swiftly.
“If these things happen, Europe will win.”
Ahead of the tournament starting tomorrow, Clarke’s side can boast the Olympic gold medallist, two of this year’s major champions and the winner of the FedEx Cup, but boasting will not be on the agenda among the players.
“It’s not something that I’m touting around, not at all,” Justin Rose said when asked if Clarke had told him to bring his Olympic medal to Minnesota.
“This week, Danny (Willett) doesn’t have the green jacket in the team room, Rory (McIlroy) doesn’t have the FedEx Cup in the team room.
“I think this is about the Ryder Cup and that little gold trophy, and that’s enough for us all this week.
“It’s nice to have belief in your team-mates that they can stand up to pressure and they can deliver on the big stage and I think that’s what the gold medal and the green jacket and the FedEx Cup and Henrik’s Claret Jug, that’s what they represent.
“They represent that we are guys that can play the best golf when it counts, but we are after that little gold trophy.
“We are not after anything else this week.
“We are not about any of the other victories that the team had enjoyed all year long.”
Mickelson ready: Page 23.