Former Masters champion Ian Woosnam has said that unsporting fan behaviour at golf events will continue until such times as the powers-that-be moderate alcohol sales.
Speaking in the latest edition of bunkered, the Welshman reflected on the abuse that he suffered at the hands of a hostile American crowd as he closed in on victory at Augusta National in 1991.
However, players these days, he says, have to put up with far worse.
“You hear it all the bloody time on the TV now sadly,” said Woosnam. “It’s horrible. Mine was nothing compared to the stuff you hear now. I watch Ryder Cups from a distance now and it’s a shame it’s come to what it has and I can only see it getting worse unless somebody does something about the alcohol intake.”
Woosnam was singled out for special treatment from some US fans at Augusta in 1991 as he threatened to continue a streak of non-American winners at the expense of crowd favourite Tom Watson.
“We had a bit of a wait on the tee on the 13th hole and I hit the ball in the creek; well, I didn’t know I had hit it in the creek until I heard this roar,” he recalled. “I thought it was a roar because I’d come out of the water, but actually it was because I’d gone in the water.
“At that point, an American hadn’t won the Masters since Larry Mize in 1987 – a run that was unheard of – and Tom was one of their favourites. I remember speaking to him when we were walking off the 14th tee box after someone had said something to me and he said that he used to get it all the time when he was playing with Jack.”
In the end, Woosnam holed an eight-foot putt on the last to win by a shot from Jose Maria Olazabal as Watson’s challenge faded.
He added: “The more stick they gave me, the more aggressive and determined it made me to win. It’s the way it’s been for me all of my life, being little. But it was just one of those things.”
• READ THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH IAN WOOSNAM IN ISSUE 170 OF BUNKERED, ON-SALE NOW.