Ryder Cup 2016: Fan Heckles Rory McIlroy, Sinks $100 putt
(CNN)- When US golf fan David Johnson turned up to watch the Ryder Cup warm-up rounds at Hazeltine Thursday, little did he expect that he’d end up having his own chance of golfing glory.
In the final practice day before the biannual competition between Europe and the US tees off Friday, Team Europe’s Andy Sullivan and Rory McIlroy — who has struggled with his short game in competitions this year — were repeatedly missing a tricky putt on the 6th green.
Fellow European player Henrik Stenson overheard the American fan talking up his own game from the side of the putting surface, and decided to give the heckler the chance to back-up his bragging with a go at the same putt.
Justin Rose played along with Stenson, placing a $100 bill on Johnson sinking the shot.
So up steps the baggy-jeaned, loafer-wearing American. The crowd suddenly fall silent. After a few practice swings and a quip about the size of the putter, Johnson takes a swing… And nails it! Cue violent fist pumping from the heckler and wild applause from the crowd.
It’s not the first time fans have made the headlines in the build-up to this year’s Ryder Cup. Peter Willett, brother of Team Europe’s Danny Willett, published an article ranting about the behavior of American fans — for which his brother apologized.
“We played a match against Andy and Rory,” Stenson later told the official Ryder Cup website, “and they had a putt and Andy didn’t make it, and they tried again to get the right line.
“Someone in the crowd yelled I could have made that, so we let him have a go. All credit to him — Rosie put $100 down and the guy drilled it in the center. He would have been chipping if it didn’t go in, but all credit to him for making it.”
So first blood to Team USA. Was this bizarre moment of drama a sign of things to come? Team Europe will certainly hope not.