Danny Willett, thanks to his brother’s anti-American rant leading up to the Ryder Cup, knew he could be in for a rough Friday at Hazeltine.
The pro-USA spectators, as Pete Willett predicted in his humorous but crude blog, proved themselves to be, if not "fat, stupid, greedy," then certainly "classless," as they mercilessly booed and heckled the reigning Masters champ during the afternoon fourball matches.
A sampling of calls to D Willett at 3rd: "You're brother's an idiot!...I'm hungry, can you get me a hot dog? Hit it in the bunker, Danny!"— Randall Mell (@RandallMellGC) September 30, 2016
The hooting began during introductions on the first tee and got so vociferous later on that vice captain Bubba Watson (no stranger to the occasional catcall) attempted to intervene, only to be rudely rebuffed by one fan.
Getting ugly out here. Fan yells "your brother could hit it for you" at Willett— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) September 30, 2016
Bubba asks him to stop
"F*cking grow a pair Bubba"
It’s been a tough week for the 28-year-old Ryder Cup rookie, who’s bearing the brunt of his sibling’s outburst. Before being left off the morning foursome roster by captain Darren Clarke and then going 4-down through eight holes with partner Martin Kaymer to Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka in the second session, Willett’s final practice round did not go so well.
Following that round, Willett acknowledged that his brother had made it difficult for him to concentrate on the course.
"I was disappointed in what he wrote and obviously, you know, it put a bit of a downer on my first Ryder Cup for the last couple of days," Willett said on Thursday. "It's been pretty tricky for me to get back on and fully focus these last few hours, especially this morning."
On Thursday, Willett got a taste of what to expect when the shots count, especially after hitting a fan in the head with a wayward drive.
"There's some pretty rowdy American fans every Ryder Cup. That's the nature of the beast, that's what happens. Same when the guys come to Europe," he said. "You don't mind the odd bit of heckling but hope it doesn't go to far."
Some will argue that needling opposing players is all in good fun.
American fans need to step up the pressure on Danny Willett. Don't let him breathe out there. Full Happy Gilmore heckling.— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) September 30, 2016
Still, it would have been refreshing if the boors in the gallery had not lived down to Pete Willett’s expectations.
Maybe the best way for American fans to handle the Danny Willett situation would be to NOT act like the imbeciles his brother referenced?— Bob Harig (@BobHarig) September 30, 2016
Stay classy, Hazeltine.