US fans jeer Willett for his brother's comments

CHASKA • American fans made Danny Willett pay for his brother's midweek rant when they booed the Masters champion on to the first tee on his Ryder Cup debut on Friday, paving the way for a stream of taunts later on.

The Englishman and his fourballs partner Martin Kaymer also had to contend with an inspired performance from their opponents as big-hitting rookie Brooks Koepka and hot-putting Brandt Snedeker charged to a 5-and-4 victory.

Willett was forced to apologise after his journalist sibling Pete hit out at the Hazeltine National crowd, saying Europe needed "to silence the pudgy, basement-dwelling, irritants, stuffed on cookie dough and pissy beer".

The player was greeted by a jeering gallery when he stepped on the tee with Kaymer but the opening hole was halved when Willett stroked home a curling left-to-right birdie putt from 25 feet.

The verbal abuse was not too bad early on but as the players made their way round the course, especially when they were close to the refreshment tents, it grew in volume.

"Need more cookie dough?", was one of the regular refrains, as was "hot dog" and "mashed potato".

When Willett missed a putt on the fourth green, one fan shouted at the top of his voice: "Why don't you get your brother to play it for you?"

The crowd were also vocal when the 28-year-old saw a birdie effort lip out at the fifth hole.

When the match eventually ended on the 14th green, Willett told reporters: "It was anticipated... coming to America is a tough one.

"They gave me a little bit more and I think it was exactly what we thought it was going to be."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 02, 2016, with the headline 'US fans jeer Willett for his brother's comments'. Print Edition | Subscribe