Regardless of where the Ryder Cup takes place, you can rest assured that the spectator gallery will range from a lively group of folks to an absolutely insane crowd of maniacs throughout the week. This year’s contest at Gleneagles is sure to follow that trend as the European Team plays host to the underdog squad from the United States.
There have been many memorable crowd reactions at the Ryder Cup over the years — so much that the crowd has become as much a part of the legend as the golf itself. Here is a quick rundown of our favorite crowd moments from past Ryder Cup events.
The ‘Green Invasion’ After Justin Leonard’s Putt at Brookline
Every so often, a Ryder Cup match will take place amid heightened tensions between the Euros and Americans, and the 1999 Battle at Brookline is no exception. Everything stemmed from Jeff Maggert’s declaration that the Americans “had the best 12 players in the world,” prompting American-biased crowds to heckle their opponents mercilessly throughout the week.
When Justin Leonard sank his famous 40-foot putt on the final hole to win his match against Jose Maria Olazabal, his teammates stormed the green while the crowd went absolutely crazy. Olazabal still had to putt despite this reaction, which didn’t sit very well with the Europeans.
Darren Clarke’s Warm Welcome at The K Club
While tensions are high and emotions run rampant at every Ryder Cup, there is still an unspoken level of respect for every player regardless of team. This was never more evident than at The K Club in Ireland for the 2006 matches.
Darren Clarke made his return to competitive golf that week following the loss of his beloved wife Heather to cancer just weeks before. While standing on the first tee of his match paired with Lee Westwood, European and American fans welcomed Clarke with what was later described as a “tsunami of noise.” With tears in his eyes, Clarke promptly birdied the first hole ultimately leading to a Euro match victory.
Keegan Bradley’s Match-Winning Putt at Medinah
Paired with Phil Mickelson in a foursomes match against Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald, Keegan Bradley had a 40-foot putt on hole No. 15 at Medinah to secure a point for the Americans. You could feel the crowd’s reaction begin to boil as Bradley’s putt rolled toward the hole, and when it finally dropped for birdie, everybody lost their damn minds. That includes Bradley’s caddie, whose “helicopter flagstick” reaction might be the best of the bunch.
Bubba Watson and Ian Poulter on the First Tee at Medinah
While the 2012 Ryder Cup will forever be remembered as “The Miracle at Medinah” (or “Meltdown at Medinah” if you’re from the U.S.), you will be hard-pressed to find a more exciting crowd moment than what happened during a Saturday morning foursomes match featuring Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose.
In a clear act of gamesmanship in response to Watson’s similar behavior the day prior, Ian Poulter egged on his Euro supporters to cheer throughout his tee shot. Watson – smiling from ear-to-ear – played next amid an earth-rumbling wave of cheers from the United States fans.
Complete Ryder Cup Coverage:
– The Fringe: Get Fired Up For The Ryder Cup
– 16 European Ryder Cup Songs That Will Make You Cry
– Team USA: 5 Players That Need To Play Well
– Team Europe: 5 Players That Need To Play Well
– Fans Now Encouraged To Use Social Media At Ryder Cup
– Team USA Ryder Cup Posters Will Get You Pumped
– Rory McIlroy on Keegan Bradley & Ian Poulter: ‘They’re Both Nuts’
– ‘Screw You’: Ian Poulter Trash Talks Michael Jordan… In His Head
– One American’s Tribute to Ryder Cup Legend/Nightmare Ian Poulter
– TaylorMade Inks European Ryder Cup Player Jamie Donaldson
– Harrington, Jimenez, Olazabal Named Ryder Cup Vice Captains
– Sergio Garcia Disappointed Luke Donald Not on Ryder Cup Team
– Ralph Lauren Unveils U.S. Ryder Cup Team Uniforms
– Bradley, Mahan, Simpson Named U.S. Ryder Cup Captain’s Picks
– Gallacher, Poulter, Westwood Complete European Ryder Cup Team