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Shane Lowry Criticises Minority of Fans at Ryder Cup

By: | Thu 30 Sep 2021 | Comments

COLIN MONTGOMERIE was so badly verbally abused by American golf fans at the 1999 Ryder Cup at Brookline that his father walked off the course. And Payne Stewart, his opponent in the singles, was so horrified by some of the things that were said to Monty that he admonished spectators and eventually conceded his game to the Scot, albeit after the Americans had already clinched the trophy.

And in 2016 Danny Willett and his family were also subjected to abuse after Willett’s brother had criticised American galleries on the eve of the Ryder Cup. It wasn’t the smartest thing that Pete Willett ever did. He described the fans as a “baying mob of imbeciles” filled with “pudgy, basement-dwelling irritants, stuffed on cookie dough and pissy beer.”

So it should come as no surprise whatsoever that Shane Lowry became the latest target. He did, after all, have the temerity to celebrate after holing a 12-foot putt on the final green to win his Saturday fourball match with Tyrrell Hatton against Tony Finau and Harris English.

Lowry hit out at the "idiots" in the crowd at Whistling Straits that soured the experience of his Ryder Cup debut. He stressed that most of the home spectators in Wisconsin were well behaved and courteous as they cheered Steve Stricker's Team USA to a record victory, but there were many who aimed abuse at the Irishman and his wife, Wendy.

Shane Lowry

It should surprise nobody that things got worse as the day went on and alcohol consumption increased.

"I didn't think it was that bad until I asked my wife what it was like for her, and she told me that she had been verbally abused,” said Lowry. “It's not very nice is it? And it was not very nice for Wendy to have to listen to it. But it was a small percentage of the crowd.

“When I finished my singles match on the 16th and I was walking back down to follow the other groups I got a huge ovation off the crowd and in the grandstand. That was pretty cool. And I thought I got on well with the crowd  as best I could.

"But they are obviously a home crowd and they are going to be partisan. Some of the stuff is not very nice, but that's just the way it is. Some people are idiots, especially when they drink. Nobody turns into a genius drinking, and that's what they were doing. Especially if you were out in the afternoon matches, it was loud.

"It was hard for us, and as a team it was hard for us to perform our best because you stand up and you hit a three iron to 10 feet from 250 yards and don't even get a ripple of applause. You almost get booed for it. It's hard, but I tried to take it as best I could. 

"I don't think it's going to be like that in Rome [in 2023]. We will obviously have the home support, but we'll be hopefully winning a bit of a different way."

Lowry still described his first appearance in the Ryder Cup as one of the best experiences of his life. He said: “Obviously the result was very disappointing but I couldn't have envisaged what it would be like for me. It was amazing. It was one of the best experiences of my life, and it's the only thing I want to do for the next two years.

"I don't care what I do for the next two years now as long as I'm back in Rome to try to take the trophy back off them."

Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography

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