Thomas Pieters, the 26-year old Belgian known for his prodigious drives and fiery temper, isn’t ingratiating himself to United States fans in the lead up to this year’s Ryder Cup.
Although Pieters was not able to play his way onto the team in 2018, he was on the European squad for the festivities in 2016 at Hazeltine in Chaska, Minnesota, going 4-1-0. Despite going to college in the States at the University of Illinois, Pieters did not hold back when laying into U.S. fans as well as the course setup during the biennial matches.
“Maybe that’s because they sell beer at 7 am and Americans can’t drink"
— GOLF.com (@GOLF_com) September 11, 2018
Speaking with bunkered.co.uk for their Ryder Cup preview, Pieters slammed fans for their crude and insensitive taunting and even levied some jabs against the course setup.
“For me, it wasn’t that bad because they didn’t know who I was,” he said. “They didn’t have any dirt on me or anything like that. But for Rory (McIlroy), yeah, it was pretty hostile. They shouted stuff at him that you shouldn’t shout at anybody anywhere. Maybe that’s because they sell beer at 7 a.m. and Americans can’t drink.”
The taunting resulted in McIlroy having fans removed from the premises and launched a two-year-long conversation about alcohol sales at PGA Tour events.
Pieters turned his ire to the golf course, calling it “ridiculous.”
“It just came down to putting,” he added. “That was the single biggest difference between us and them that week. The setup of the course was ridiculous. You could hit it anywhere.
“(Phil Mickelson) was sometimes hitting it, like, six fairways left or right but was still able to get it on the green and then make a 40-footer. I didn’t think it was a great Ryder Cup setup, to be honest.”
At only 26 and a force on the European Tour, Pieters appears to be setting himself up to be a marked man should he manage to get himself back onto the Ryder Cup team in 2020 at Whistling Straits.