Rory McIlroy was on the receiving end of some pretty unpleasant fan behaviour at the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine – and, judging by his response to a question after his fourth round at the US PGA, he’s not expecting much better at Bethpage in 2024.
Asked what he thinks the crowds will be like at the New York venue in five years’ time, the four-time major winner replied: “No comment.”
That, in itself, is rather revealing. If he wasn’t anticipating any issues, he surely would have said. To decline to comment would suggest that he expects there will be some issues but would rather not go on record about it.
McIlroy, along with other high-profile European golfers, was regularly subjected to hostile treatment from the fans at Hazeltine in 2016. It got so bad, in fact, that the PGA of America was moved to issue a statement asking fans to behave respectfully towards the players.
Whilst he declined to comment on the fans, McIlroy was more forthcoming in what he expects from the notoriously difficult Black Course at Bethpage when golf’s biggest match rolls into town in 2024.
“I think the fans would like to see a few more birdies,” said the 30-year-old. “I would say that for matchplay, it should be a little more of a generous set-up.”