Rory McIlroy defends fantastic American galleries at the Ryder Cup

American galleries were praised by Rory McIlroy after their Ryder Cup victory but he made it clear that a small minority of the crowd did cross the line

The topic which dominated post-Ryder Cup media duties for the European team had nothing to do with the concession of the trophy for the first time since 2008. Rather, the level of hostility those visitors to Hazeltine encountered from a frenzied home crowd created a narrative which will flow into 2018 and Paris. The reserved French may tone matters down.

If event buildup was overshadowed by the rantings of PJWillett, the problem thereafter was that too many spectators conformed to stereotype. Danny Willett, the Masters champion and golfer at the centre of such noise, posted on Twitter early on Monday morning to insist some American fans had proven his brother in fact correct. When Willett eventually takes up full-time playing residence on the PGA Tour, the reaction towards him will be interesting. I meant every word about being sorry for what was written but unfortunately people made it tough to stick by that, he said.

It was to the credit of the USA team and their backroom staff that they spent so much time trying to douse overthetop antics from behind the ropes. The PGA of America, in an unprecedented move, issued a statement before Sundays singles play got under way. The Ryder Cup organisers insisted: Our security staff will continue to enforce a zerotolerance policy, removing from the course any fans who are disruptive in any way, including the use of vulgar or profane language directed at the players.

Darren Clarke, Europes captain, referenced a Sunday incident with McIlroy, right. He was about to take a swing to hit it and some guy shouted in the middle of his backswing, Clarke said. The whole crowd turned on the guy and pointed who he was out to security. That guy was swiftly ejected. And that was all done by the American fans.

Such evictions were visible to a level not seen before in tournament or RyderCup golf. The fact this were necessary is the issue and raises questions as to how the Ryder Cup will evolve as a spectator experience, not least when back in the USA.

We wouldnt encourage any sort of retaliation, said Rory McIlroy, looking ahead to France. Thats just not who we are. Thats not what we do. Well be making that clear.

We want to play this tournament in the manner in which it should be played. And between us, the 12 players and vice-captains and captains on this team and between the 12 players on the US team, it was played in the manner in which it should have been played.

We have no problems with anyone on either team, and really, its just a very small minority; 95% of the people out there, the American gallery are absolutely fantastic, they really are.

We play week-in, week-out on the PGA Tour and they couldnt be nicer to us. They are welcoming. They greet us like we are one of their own.

This week, at times, it went a little bit too far. But you know, thats to be expected. When you are teeing off at 7.35 in the morning and youre seeing people on the first tee with a beer in their hand and matches arent finishing until 4.30-5 in the afternoon, I know I would be done at that point, I dont know what I would be saying.

McIlroy added: A couple of people out there crossed the line but well take it on the chin. Well move on and well definitely not encourage anything like that to happen in France next time around.

The particular issues are obvious: calling out on a players backswing; willing a putt to miss or ball to fly into a water hazard; and, to a lesser extent, wild cheering when woe does befall an opposition competitor. Boorish behaviour is boorish behaviour, regardless of sport or scene.

Heres the rub; perhaps golf cannot have it all ways. Maybe in the quest to attract a younger audience, golf has to loosen some of its historic parameters. Cricket has done this, the booming music which forms a backdrop to T20 matches now accepted as part of the scene. Even within golf, the most popular regular stop on the PGA Tour is in Phoenix, where crowd engagement is to the level of an on-course party. Some 80,000 turn out for each of the tournaments four days.

They are here to have a good time, McIlroy said in response to the suggestion that alcohol should be banned or more strongly regulated. Idont know how you could police that or limit that in any way. Telling people they cant drink until 11am in the morning? They are just going to go and buy six beers. You cant do anything about that. People are here to have a good time.

How to balance that with disruption, as beamed across the globe, is a conversation that will rumble on until Europe and the USA meet again.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/oct/03/rory-mcilory-american-galleries-ryder-cup

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