CHASKA, Minnesota (Reuters) - This week’s Ryder Cup has been marred by hecklers shouting while European players are executing shots but England’s Justin Rose says the offenders are a minority and he wants the focus to remain on the competition.
The former U.S. Open champion and his Swedish playing partner Henrik Stenson were on the receiving end of boisterous and, at times, rude fans during Saturday’s fourballs at Hazeltine, a distraction that Rose described as “inevitable”.
“It’s whatever,” Rose told Reuters about the heckling after he and Stenson had lost a match of high quality 2 and 1 to American young guns Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth.
“I‘m not even bothered about it. It’s a minority and that’s inevitable. That’s the way it is and let’s not focus on them. That’s what they want.”
As the Saturday fourballs session wore on, the hecklers seemed to grow more bold and perhaps more alcohol-fuelled, as Stenson and Rose found to their cost on the 11th green.
Just as the Swede was preparing to putt for a par-five, a noisy spectator shouted: ‘Rose, get out of the way’.
All four players showed their evident disgust, Stenson backed away from his putt while Rose walked towards the crowd with a face like thunder.
“He (Reed) has a lot of energy and they’ve obviously been on the losing end quite a few times so they’re definitely fanning the fire with the fans and 90 percent of that is a lot of fun,” said Rose, referring to the U.S. team’s three straight Ryder Cup defeats.
”That’s fine,“ the Englishman added when asked about the incident. ”That’s tame compared to what’s being said out here.
“It was basically while Henrik took the putter back. The fan shouted at the top of his voice and then Henrik missed his putt. And there were two or three other expletives directed at Henrik.”
Making matters worse for Rose and Stenson is that they ran into a human buzz saw in the shape of Reed in the fourballs, as the fired-up American played inspired golf to raise the decibel level at Hazeltine where around 50,000 fans were in attendance.
Editing by Tony Jimenez