Rory McIlroy critical of hostile US crowd

Rory McIlroy

• McIlroy critical of US crowd’s behaviour at Ryder Cup
• Northern Irishman describes atmosphere as ‘hostile’
• He celebrated emphatically after getting Europe back on track


Hostile. That’s the word Rory McIlroy used to describe the atmosphere at Hazeltine on the opening day of the Ryder Cup.

He used it, in fact, no fewer than three times in a press conference in the aftermath of he and Thomas Pieters’ dramatic 3&2 win over Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar. That was a victory that saw Europe go from 0-4 behind after the first session to a far more respectable 3-5 down at the end of the first day.

McIlroy sealed the point for he and his Belgian Pieters after converting a tricky downhill eagle putt on the 16th green, prompting an emotional and out-of-character celebration from him.

As the ball hit the hole, the four-time major winner turned and bowed to the spectators all around the hole before animatedly high-fiving and hugging playing partner Pieters and the rest of their European teammates.

The reason for McIlroy’s emphatic celebrations? The raucous home crowd.

“We’re not going down without a fight” – Rory McIlroy

“It’s a hostile environment out there,” he said. “I just want everyone that’s watching to know how much this means to us, how much it means to me personally and obviously us as a team.

Read more -> Clarke proud of team’s fightback

“We’re not going down without a fight. It was four-zip after the morning. We’ve pulled it back a good bit, and we plan to pull it back even further going into tomorrow.”


2016 Ryder Cup - Afternoon Fourball Matches

Adding that the crowd’s behavior had more anti-European than the previous Ryder Cup on US soil at Medinah in 2012, McIlroy added: “You get the minority of people that are cheering against the other team. Most of the people out there are respectful and are just cheering really hard for the US team. That’s totally acceptable and that’s exactly what happens in Europe.

“They don’t want you to hit a good shot” – Rory McIlroy

“But still, it’s a hostile environment when the people out there don’t want you to hole a putt or don’t want you to hit a good shot. I think when you do hole a putt or hit a good shot, it just makes it that much more satisfying.”

Read more -> Europe stage gutsy revival after morning whitewash

McIlroy was particularly aggravated by some fans cheering when Andy Sullivan hit his tee shot into the water on the par-3 17th at a decisive point in the pair’s match with Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler in the morning’s foursomes.


2016 Ryder Cup - Afternoon Fourball Matches

“I’m all for people cheering for their team as much as they possibly can,” he said. “That’s sports and whatever. But it was a little disappointing in my eyes that that happened. But again, it’s a minority of people, and you know, most people out there are being respectful and respectful of the etiquette of our game of golf.

“I wanted to put an exclamation point on that session for us” – Rory McIlroy

“We want this Ryder Cup to be played in a very sportsman-like conduct, and a sportsman-like conduct that the great Arnold Palmer would be very proud of.”

Pressed to explain his celebration, McIlroy added: “Even before I hit that putt [on 16], I wanted to put an exclamation point on that session for us. I honestly actually thought about the celebration before I hit the putt. I knew it had a good chance of going in. It was downhill, I just had to get it started on the right line and gravity did the rest. I bowed to the crowd, said, ‘You’re welcome for the show’, and now we move on.”

Rory McIlroy: Do you agree with his comments?

What do you make of Rory McIlroy describing the US crowd as ‘hostile’? Do you think that’s accurate? Are you at Hazeltine? If so, what has been your experience so far? Leave your thoughts in our ‘Comments’ section below.

Michael McEwan

Michael McEwan

Assistant Editor at bunkered golf magazine
Michael McEwan is the assistant editor of bunkered and its sister publications Scottish Club Golfer and English Club Golfer. He is also a frequent contributor to www.bunkered.co.uk.
Michael McEwan

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  1. Jd

    October 1, 2016 at 7:02 am

    Two words, cry baby!

  2. John Hendry

    October 1, 2016 at 8:05 am

    100 % agree with Rory the us pga should be telling the supporters before any match about on course etiquette and general on course behaviour

  3. Avatar of docholiday


    October 1, 2016 at 9:24 am

    He is absolutely correct a minority of the USA “fans” are abusive unsporstsman like and have no place in the game of golf, If I was American I would be embarrassed.

  4. Robbie

    October 1, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Cheering bad shots is out of order and not sportsmanlike. AP would be embarrassed

  5. GaryP

    October 1, 2016 at 9:37 am

    He’s right, but hostile is not quite the right descriptor. Disrespectful, uneducated, rowdy, unsportsmanlike would have been better words to use. I heard some American oaf heckling Rose about picking up a 3 wood, shouting Oh you shouldn’t hit that, you can’t hit that, you should lay up..!! What’s that all about, apart from looking stupid, sounding stupid and giving the rest of your fellow US of A supporters the same bad name. At least that plonker Bubba and his mate from a few years ago are not playing, they were as bad as the fans..!!!

  6. Christine Shaw

    October 1, 2016 at 9:39 am

    We accept that the US fans will be cheering for their team, of course they will, but shouts of “miss it” and “in the water” are totally unacceptable! Rory’s eagle on 16 was a beautifully played hole but the US fans in the back ground didn’t even clap such a good put! It shows how little the US fans understand of the spirit and etiquette of the game of golf! Hopefully it will fire up the Europe team!

  7. Nick Price

    October 1, 2016 at 11:13 am

    He is right to point it out and of course you want noise, the Americans have every right to hola and cheer, but you can clearly hear these shouts that have no place on a golf course – could you imagine how the American crowd would have felt if some Europeans shouted out “get in the water” when Speith ducked at the Masters – I was there and there was total respect so what’s different? #respect please for both sides

  8. Stephen mcintosh

    October 1, 2016 at 11:29 am

    It’s not just Ryder cups on American soil , most events there have idiots screaming ” get in the hole ” from drives on par 5′s to gibberish nonsense being shouted a franction of a second after golfer has completed his downswing . Bubba lost his cool a short while back after continued shouts while on tee and more should call them out on it . It frustrates me as a viewer so can only imagine how players feel trying to keep concentration in a highly competitive environment .
    The mic’s are picking up various shouts to the European players which to be honest are getting my back up so no surprise Rory felt like giving it back a little , here’s hoping he does it a lot more in the next couple of days .

  9. colcat

    October 1, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Entirely agree with Rory. Cheering your team and your country is part of these great occasions. Unfortunately there is always a minority who have no clue how to behave respectfully towards the opposition. Too many occasions yesterday where comments were shouted when European players were in the middle of tee-shots. If these people can’t be respectful while cheering on their side, they should stay away. They do the USA a disservice and are an embarrassment to the genuine golf fans. Come on Darren and the boys!!

  10. Paul McComiskey

    October 1, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Totally agree with Rory.. The USPGA need to stand-up and tackle the despicable behaviour of some US sports fans… And that’s the real problem, there’s a huge difference between a sports fan and a golf fan. This isn’t american football, baseball or soccer.. It’s golf and we demand from ourselves as golfers to respect the game. Support your team, hell yes, but sledging has NO part in golf wherever its played around the world. USPGA get your house in order, no just for the Ryder cup, we see it week in week out on the PGA tour.


    October 1, 2016 at 1:17 pm


  12. Teun Vangenderen

    October 1, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    I agree 100% with Rory. For the first time I stopped watching the Ryder Cup on TV. Stupid US spectators shouting stupid things ruin the pleasure of watching the match. In the fifties a book was written that covers my feelings: ‘The Ugly American’. Too bad the civilized spectators condone the behaviour of the those loudmouths….. Teun

  13. Barrie Elliott

    October 1, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    Are you one of those morons who are a disgrace to America ? I have a lot of American golfing friends who don’t like it either.


    October 1, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    JD is obviously a sad. paranoid moron.

  15. Keith Williams

    October 2, 2016 at 12:55 am

    Absolutely appalling behaviour from a minority of alcohol fuelled US rednecks. The US team deserve better!

  16. Mark

    October 2, 2016 at 3:42 am

    I’ve been to the Ryder cup the last few days. I’ve walked the entire course multiple times and to be completely honest I have not heard an inappropriate comment. Granted, I’m not standing next to the players but I still haven’t heard it. One problem is going to be crowd control when their is only golf on 4 holes and there are 50k people.

    What doesn’t help is the players being demonstrative to the crowd. Celebrate with your teammates. Why egg them on? Why bow to the crowd? Why sush the crowd? I think the two players that have had the biggest issues are the two who are playing up to the crowd the most, Rory and Sergio.

    It is an incredible loud environment even when the US players are playing. Much of that is noise on different holes. At no point should a player be abused. Hecklers are idiots. The European fans were a small portion of the fans and for the most part they were pleasant but there were the occasional hecklers from that bunch as well.

    We can call them Ugly Americans all we want but the Europeans weren’t completely innocent either. Willette’s brother didn’t help the situation either. I’m sure if a fan were to spew what he said, they’d be removed.

    I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised by the people of Minnesota. Some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met. Very warm, helpful and genuinely nice.

  17. european and proud

    October 2, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    The American “fans” show why America never has been and never will be great. They lack style, sportsmanship, generosity and respect- not just for others, but for themselves. The moronic baying and raucous, uneducated comments evidence the mentality of a people that fail to see the beauty of the respectful, honest, etiquette of golf. Trump is an American golfer- says it all! They may win the Ryder Cup, but they will still be a nation of uneducated louts.

  18. HHunter

    October 2, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    As an American watching the Ryder Cup on TV, I am so embarrassed. Golf, a gentleman’s game? Ha. The behavior exhibited by some of the fans puts an exclamation point on Willet’s brother’s article. Some fans are acting in a boorish manner. Boorish defined = coarse, uncouth, rude, ill-mannered, uncivilized, thuggish, loutish etc. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for cheering and patriotism, and rooting for your team. But, is civility dead? I certainly hope not.
    Furthermore, who is providing the alcoholic beverages? At any golf event I have been to, you can’t bring in 2 bottles of water, much less alcohol, so someone is selling it to the masses and in mass.
    I hope today (Sunday) will be policed strictly.
    Arnold Palmer must be horrified.

  19. Marc

    October 2, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    USA are a bit rude when Rory teed of yesterday on the 16th or 17th the Americans where chanting when there man teed it was silence, we,lol get our own back nex time

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