Rory McIlroy, the emotional leader of European Ryder Cup team, sent a message to Parisians who may be thinking of ways to get back at the few drunken louts who crossed the line with unruly behavior and vulgar language during the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club.
“Definitely, first and foremost, we wouldn’t encourage any sort of retaliation,” said McIlroy, referring to the 2018 Ryder Cup. “That’s just not who we are. That’s not what we do.”
Europe’s entire team, which was seated on stage for the post-tournament news conference following its 17-11 loss, applauded as McIlroy continued.
“We want to play this tournament in the manner in which it should be played,” he said. “And between [both teams], it was played in the manner in which it should be played. … And, really, it’s just a very small minority [of fans]. Ninety-five percent of the people out there, the American gallery, are absolutely fantastic. They really are.”
Lee Westwood chimed in to point out how the American vice captains and players tried to step in Saturday, when most of the ugly incidents occurred.
“But on a good point, I got called a turd [Saturday], which is the first time since I was about 12 years old,” Westwood joked. “So it made me feel young again.”
McIlroy said the reason for the outbursts is simple: Alcohol.
Asked if there shouldn’t be alcohol sold in the mornings at future Ryder Cups, Westwood cracked everybody up by immediately barking, “No!” Of course, the adult beverages were flowing among the Euros before, during and after their news conference.
Said McIlroy: “No. People are here to have a good time. I don’t know how you could police that or limit it in any way.”
If the problem gets worse, it could be up to the well-behaved fans to identify the lout so he can be immediately ejected by security. European captain Darren Clarke said that happened on the 16th hole when someone yelled in McIlroy’s backswing.
“All that was done by the American fans,” Clarke said. “While it was unsavory and not the right thing to do, 99.9 percent of the crowd pointed straight at the guy and he was taken away. So the crowd deserves a lot of credit for policing the situation as well.”